Relatively speaking, the “date” part of a first date is the easy stuff. It’s the post-date communication that is so hard to figure out.
David Ezell, the clinical director of Darien Wellness, a counseling and mental wellness group in Connecticut, conducts dating workshops and told me that “the topic of texting has risen sharply over the past five years.” It seems easier for each participant in the date to keep the conversation going from a distance, using a keyboard rather than live, spoken communication. Ezell continued, “Dating is as much a sales game as anything.” His take on post-date texting is that “too much communication from one party can be intimidating.”
Meanwhile, April Davis, relationship expert, certified life coach, and CEO of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, reminded us that “texting causes a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings because it is hard to read or interpret emotion through text.”
Yikes! So, what do you say, and how do you text after the first date? You need to be aware that there is no set formula or exact science, because there is an infinite amount of first date scenarios. And no, you are not the only one with anxiety over what texts to send after an initial date. If the date was great and you want a second, you can carefully craft your communication in cute fashion. If it was awful but you don’t want to be ignorant and not respond, you can still let ’em down easy. You can also get to date two even if date one was “meh” based on calculated post-date transmissions.
Here are the perfect texts to send after the first date, depending on how well things went.
“Did you get home safely?”
Justin Lavelle of PeopleLooker.com, the leading online background check platform for digital daters, proposed this text as the most immediate post-date communique because it shows you are interested and “sends the message that you are a nice person.” Beyond that, it could keep the convo and the good time going. Lavelle told me, “Who knows? It might lead to a little text flirting that can be fun and a perfect cap to the evening!” Indeed, a lot of meaning is conveyed despite being economical with word choices.
” I think we can both agree that needs to happen again, right?”
When the first date is amazing and you want to see him or her again but don’t want to seem too eager, it is essential to play it safe and express your excitement without going overboard and scaring the other person away with your zealousness. Comedian Billy Procida, host of The Manwhore Podcast, which tackles issues of dating, sexuality, and relationships, admitted to me, “I hate the ‘playing it cool’ tactic. If you’re excited, then seem excited! You can seem excited and not like a crazypants. So, to play it safe, keep it short.” He also recommended adding a favorite emoji at the end of the above-referenced text for additional expressiveness. He finished, “If you can express the entire date in emojis, do it. End with a happy girl or boy emoji followed with some hands in the air.”
“If that date was a bank heist, we totally made off with millions.”
Yes, that Procida-penned text is cute and cheesy. But it’s also incredibly effective for scenarios in which the date was totally awesome and you want to express it in a sassy and original way that shows off more of your personality. If someone sent me that text, I’d so be game for date No. 2 because it has a sense of humor and is totally frisky. If the bank metaphor isn’t quite working for you, you can try something with a similar start and finish.
“I’d really like to see you again! My schedule is pretty tight the next couple of weeks. Can you do an afternoon this week?”
When the first date is good but you don’t want to dive right in or appear overly interested because you are easing back into dating, or because you aren’t looking for something too serious yet, Procida recommends suggesting an afternoon meet up for the second date and for very specific reasons. “They take the pressure off of ‘going home together,’ but can still be plenty cute and successful,” he said. “A fun day at the museum still presents itself with opportunities for a ‘Don’t worry, this is going well’ kiss without the anxiety of ‘When do I tell him we’re not going to have sex tonight?'”
He suggested the above text as the “base,” but dress it up a little with an enticing, daytime date recommendation. Procida encouraged adding something that reveals your interests, such as, “I know this cool exhibit/coffee shop/park/antique roadshow that specializes in Honey Boo Boo memorabilia I’ve been wanting to check out and would love for you to come with!”
“Sorry if I seemed a little off. You helped me end a long day on a good note! I’d really like to see you again if you’re up for it?”
If the first date was awkward — which so many are — but not disastrous, it’s fine to remain optimistic. If you want to see the other person again but can’t tell if he or she shares your feelings, Procida thinks honesty is the best policy. “If it was awkward for you, it was probably awkward for him/her,” he explained. “Some acknowledgment that this wasn’t a typical date might even alleviate concerns from him/her that you weren’t interested. I’m all for putting cards on the table.” This text recognizes that things were a little “first date weird,” all the while putting on a fresh spin and leaving the door wide open for a second night out.
“Have a lot going on, but definitely want to see you again as I had a great time. Can we get together next week?”
When the first date was amazing but you want to pace yourself, this short but sweet text is the best way keep the other person interested, according to Melissa Divaris Thompson, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in New York City. The note shows the recipient that you are in-demand and have a life outside of your romantic relationships, potential or otherwise. It also puts some time and space between the first date and gives you both something to look forward to, since you’ve clearly set the table for another meet up.
“Should we do this again?”
Even if it was a good-but-not-great first date, you can still see both potential and value in a second date. If you are willing to give it another go, you can try and mix it up to get a better result and attempt to get to know each other more. Thompson told me you don’t want to be overly complimentary or put off. You can and should play the middle. She noted, “Keeping texts simple is a rule. You want to communicate just enough, but not so that people are reading into what you are trying to say. Strive for being as clear, concise, and honest as feels appropriate.” Texting “Should we do this again?” is blunt and cuts through the ether.
“Let’s find a time to see that new movie.”
Dating and relationships expert Alison Blackman recommends mentioning a specific activity you may have discussed while on the first date as grounds to generate a second if you really dig the other person. If you talked about seeing the latest Marvel movie, bring it up and use it as a launch pad to turn the shared desire to see a film into the reason to see each other again. It’s also a subtle way to demonstrate to the other person that you have been thinking about them and the prior outing. It shows you were paying attention and may have shared passions and interests, which could lead to a third, fourth, or fifth date.
“I’m going to have trouble sleeping after such a great date.”
Davis offered this short, sexy, and subtext-free transmission as a wonderful way to put a period on the end of the sentence that was your date. If the time together was wonderful and leaves you with butterflies, why not share it with the person who is causing you to have that tickle in your tummy? That means sparks flew and you’ll never know if he or she felt the same unless you put it out there. It could also lead to a little sexting, and what’s the harm in that? It’s entirely up to you and your gut feeling whether or not that’s moving way too fast.
“So how are we going to top that date?”
If it was a fab debut date and you are already crushing, it’s time to hit the flirt button. Davis told me, “Remember to flirt! If you don’t flirt, they might not get the hint that you’re interested.” You don’t need to lay it on too thick, because that can erase some of the excitement and the mystique. But you don’t want to come off chilly or disinterested, either. So, be flirtatious with a sexy text like the one suggested above. It’s just the right mix of playful, naughty, and adorable.
“I really enjoyed the bowling with you yesterday! Great job with all of those strikes. I am going to practice so next time I actually have a chance to beat you.”
Jennifer Seiter, co-owner and relationship therapist for Ex Boyfriend Recovery, pointed out that an ego boost, combined with letting him know you want a second date in a lighthearted way, can be doubly packaged into a text like this. Obviously, you can tailor the transmission to whatever you did on the date — bowling, a movie, ice skating, dinner, attending a baseball game, miniature golfing, or dancing — all the while recommending a rematch of sorts!
Davis concurred, “If you do want to go on another date, be flirty and generous and say, ‘Hey we should try that again; this time I’ll buy.'”
“Hey, I have so much going on today but I wanted to send you a quick note to say you looked very handsome on our date yesterday.”
If you can’t tell how he or she felt about the date or about you, this complimentary text can help you get a better read on them, all the while being clear about what you think and felt. “If he/she responds with something positive about you, it’s likely they are pretty interested,” Seiter explained. “If he or she just says thanks, they are probably not that interested.” It’s as though you are pumping for information by pumping with information. It’s a subtle, psychological tactic, but it could and should work in your favor as long as you send it out into the textverse with confidence.
“I am still laughing about that story you told me.”
Dr. Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, recommended pointing out something about the date that was good when you want to see someone again without seeming excessively eager. This brings the best part of the date to the forefront of the other person’s mind.
Lavelle also advocates for this texting tactic. “Recall a fun moment you had on the first date and invite your date to experience it again,” he said. “Remember, you will never get a second date if you don’t ask for it!” And the best way to ask for the second is by spotlighting the best parts of the first.
“Now that we got the awkward first date out of the way, let me know when you want to meet the chill, more real me.”
Whether the date was terrific or just OK, Needle suggested being blunt and cute with a text like this if you are looking for that decidedly less awkward second date with this person. It acknowledges the innately awkward nature of the first date, which Procida also advocates doing, and shows that you are well aware of it. It’s also incredibly, but not disarmingly, direct. It lets your potential mate know exactly where you stand. Why beat around the bush?
“That coffee was so good! I think you would love the lattes at…”
A post-date message of thanks goes a long way and keeps communication going to plan that second outing. “The other person will be happy to hear from you the next day with a thank you note,” according to Samantha Daniels, relationship expert and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app. Daniels also recommended connecting the dots for the other person for the second date by suggesting it, all the while leaving it up to them to lock it down. She told me, “If you want to see them again, a compliment plus a suggestion about a related activity will do wonders to solidify a second date. Let them be the one to pursue the second date plans, though.”
“Not sure I felt the dating spark but would be open to hanging out as friends. Not sure if this would even interest you but wanted to put it out there.”
While you might argue that there is no reason to send a text if the first date was a bomb, you can still be a polite human being. If this crappy, dud of a first date ended on a positive note, with both of you promising to keep in touch because you are both cool people with common interests (even though you don’t want to pursue romance), you can say this to soften the blow. Rejection is awkward, as Thompson pointed out. But if you want to keep in contact, here’s how to convey that without leading the other person on about the dating stuff.
Blackman pointed out that it’s totally acceptable to not text if a date was bad. “I’ve always suggested in my books and on my websites that if you know you’re not going to want to see someone again at the end of the evening, you just say, ‘It was nice to meet you.’ If you have decided you don’t want to date them again, just say ‘Goodnight’ and leave it at that!”
Dr. Needle also recommended a more direct communication method — real, live conversation without relying on a smart phone. “While I know that texting is easier and less pressure than a phone call, I always think saying something face to face or via telephone is better than a text,” she explained. “The type of text and language used is also going to depend on an individual’s personality and style.”
Reaching out early is a good thing, but be sure and read the signs. “Being honest and sincere is important, and chances are that if you had a great time, your date did too. But if you have misread it and you were the only one having a good time, and your enthusiastic texts are met with silence or a cool response, accept that message,” Lavelle told me.
Politeness is also key. Always drop a “Thank you for a great evening!” text. “It shows that you recognize that your date invested their time and energy into spending an evening with you and you are appreciative of that, no matter how things ultimately turn out,” said Lavelle.