When And What To Text After A First Date (18 Guidelines)

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Your first date is done and dusted. You had a great time last night.

You’ve said your goodbyes and gone your separate ways.

What happens after the first date now?

You know that you need to text them, but you are wondering when and what to text after a first date.

And what should you say in your text message?

Let’s begin with the first of those questions.

Key takeaways:

  • Don’t text straight after the date, unless you feel it is necessary to check that your date got home safely.
  • Text at some point the day after the date, but the evening is probably best, especially if it is a week day.
  • Make it known that you enjoyed the date and would like to see them again—this is vital.

When To Text After A First Date

There is no certain amount of time, no definite rule, as to when to text after a first date.

There are, however, a few factors that can influence how long after a first date you should wait before sending that all important first text.

1. How well did the date go?

Some first dates can be like a polite meeting with a work client or college tutor.

Others can feel like a generic conversation with friends of friends at a party.

They’re not horrible, but they don’t fill you with that energy and excitement of a really great date.

Be honest with yourself – how did this first date go?

Did the conversation flow naturally or feel you were on the same page? ? Were there plenty of laughs? Did you feel the sparks of chemistry? A little sexual tension, even?

If it was plain to see that it was such a great night and the two of you got on like a house on fire, you’ll probably want to text sooner rather than later (even on the same day) in order to keep the energy levels high.

If the first date was so-so, but you think there was potential for things to get better during a more relaxed second date, you won’t want to wait too long before making that clear to them.

If the date was a bit bland and you don’t see it going anywhere, you might not even need to text them at all.

2. How well did you get to know them?

First dates can take many different forms and can last varying lengths of time.

Did you get a chance to really get to know each other?

If your first date started with a Sunday stroll through a local park followed by dinner and then drinks, you probably learned far more than if you could only squeeze in a few drinks on a weeknight.

If you spent a long time together, a short break in communication can allow the anticipation of a potential next meeting to build again.

Leaving a few days before you text can sometimes be a good idea, though the other factors discussed here will come into play.

If, however, time constraints meant you only scratched the surface, it’s probably better to text relatively soon to make it clear that you would like to see them again.

You may not have managed to get inside their head (in a good way!) in such a short space of time, and you don’t want them to forget about you.

After all, they may be on dating apps and websites and have other potential dates lined up.

3. How old are you?

Dating etiquette evolves as people get older and this can have a big influence on when you should text someone after your first date.

Generally speaking, the older people get, the more straight they want communication to be.

If you’re still young, the value of ‘the chase’ and playing it cool may mean that you can wait a few days before texting your date.

But try that with someone in their late 20s or older and you risk putting them off altogether.

At this age, you’ll definitely want to text them the next day to make your interest in them clear.

4. What did you say at the end of your date?

When you ande your date parted ways, what was said?

Did you both express a clear interest in a second date? If so, you can probably afford to leave it a little longer before texting.

They know where they stand in terms of how interested you are and hopefully won’t worry about whether you liked them.

If you told them that you’d text them in the week, make good on this promise.

If you just said goodbye and left it at that, you’ll need to get a text in there fairly early on to make it clear to them how you felt the date went and that you’d (presumably) like to go on another.

Should you text straight after a first date?

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t need to text your date the very same night that you saw them.

Let’s face it, you’ve just spent some time together and you are probably both still processing the date in your head.

If you are a man who is a real traditionalist and you want to check that a girl got home safely, particularly if they travelled on public transport, then it’s totally fine to send a very brief message a few hours after… but don’t start a conversation beyond that.

And in this modern day and age, most girls won’t expect this sort of text, so don’t feel that you ought to do it to look like you care.

Don’t wait too long.

While there is no hard and fast rule about when to text after a first date, it’s better to err on the side of caution and text sooner rather than later.

It’s far better to be seen as keen rather than not interested.

If you’re unsure, a follow-up text the following evening is a fairly safe bet.

Whilst some people may find a text the very next day a bit too much, the most people probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid at this.

Avoid playing games and trying too hard to build anticipation. If a person likes you, it’s not fair to make them wait too long to know that you like them back.

What To Text After A First Date

Now that you know when to text someone after a first date, let’s turn our attention to what you should be saying in your follow up message.

There is no single perfect text but here are some things that you will want to include.

1. Tell them that you enjoyed yourself and their company.

Both men and women want to know when a first date went well.

We want to feel that we were a great date and that the nervous wreck we might have been on the inside didn’t show too much.

So start your text message by telling them how much fun you had and that you had a great time.

Be clear that it wasn’t merely the meal or the drinks or the activity that you enjoyed, but them and the conversations you shared.

To hear this from you will give their self-esteem a bit of a boost and make them breathe a sigh or relief especially if they hope to see you again.

2. Make it clear that you want to see them again.

Don’t beat around the bush and be honest about it – say that you’d like there to be a second date.

Neither men nor women like the ambiguity of a vague message. They want to know if this is leading anywhere like a budding relationship.

You don’t have to finalize the details straight away, but it’s good to put the idea of a second date firmly in their heads.

If their response to this date idea is positive, you can either propose one or two days right there and then or wait a little while longer before getting down to specifics.

These first two points are all you really need to include in your initial text. You want to keep it short and allow the conversation to grow from there.

3. Relate back to the first date.

People like it when someone remembers something they have said. It shows that they were actually paying attention and not just listening in order to respond.

So if your date talked about their love of photography, you could say you’d like to see some of their best shots, or ask in a jokey way when they are going to take your portrait.

Or if something happened on the date that made you both laugh, bring it up again to remind them of the moment you shared.

Did you spill a drink on yourself? Did you get lost when walking through the city together?

Say something that brings the memory of your date back into their mind in the most positive light possible.

Because, while there may have been a few awkward moments, you want them to remember all the fun they had instead.

4. Keep your messages short, or mirror what they do.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to keep your texts quite short in the initial back and forth you have after a date.

But don’t make them too short. “Hey!” or “What’s up?” are not texts anyone wishes to receive from someone they’ve been on a date with.

Truly getting to know each other should be kept for the dates themselves, with text conversations more to do with maintaining that connection between dates and to organize those future dates.

The exception to this rule is when the other person begins to write long responses to your texts.

If it becomes their norm, it’s okay to mirror this with some longer messages of your own.

Especially since you’ll want to address most, if not all, of the things they have talked about in their texts.

5. Don’t text too often.

Much like you don’t want to write really long messages, you also don’t want to be the person who texts incessantly or who responds straight away every time.

Sure, if you are having a conversation over text one evening, it’s okay to respond fairly swiftly, but if they text out of the blue one day, you don’t have to get back to them instantly.

They will totally understand if you are busy and can’t reply at that precise moment in time.

Remember, you don’t want texts to replace actual dating.

6. Flirt if it feels natural, but avoid sexting.

If you’ve only been on one date with this person, it’s too soon to be referencing anything sexual in texts with them.

But flirting is absolutely okay… if it is something you feel comfortable with.

Not everyone can flirt effectively, so never force it or use lines that you’ve found on the internet.

Just be natural. If they felt a connection on your first date, they aren’t going to suddenly be put off if you can’t flirt via text.

But they might be put off if you start throwing lines at them that don’t seem like the real you.

7. Keep things light.

If you really enjoy deep and meaningful conversations about life and the universe, now is NOT the time to start one.

Texting after a first date should be kept light and easy to respond to.

People don’t want to have to answer hundreds of questions over text; they just want to know that you are interested and arrange a second date.

And don’t tell them how bad your day at work has been or how you’ve had an argument with your friend.

Only talk about positive things to maintain their positive impression of you.

8. Don’t overuse emojis.

There are some times when an emoji or two can communicate our thoughts or feelings far better than words ever could.

But, and it’s a big BUT, they should never be your primary form of texting.

Sometimes, a lone emoji text can actually cause confusion more than anything else because they can be interpreted in different ways.

So if you do use them, try to include them within a sentence that clearly expresses what you want to say.

Or if you do send an emoji by itself, make sure it’s fairly clear what you mean. No random unicorns or puking faces if they might be misread as meaning something else.

Other Post-Date Texting FAQs

Besides the when and the what to text after a first date, here are some other common questions and answers.

What if they don’t reply or don’t seem interested?

Ah, the dreaded silence when you text after a first date and you don’t hear from them.

While it is poor etiquette not to reply at all, it does happen now and then.

And with modern messaging that allows you to see when someone has read a text, it’s even harder on the person who’s being ghosted.

If you’ve given them a day or so to respond, you have two choices…

…either you accept that they weren’t interested and give up on them.

…or you try one last text in the hope that they simply forgot about the first one.

The only times you should opt for the second approach is if the date went really well, they expressed an interest in meeting up again, or you know they had a really busy few days coming up.

But how about if you are texting with them, but they don’t seem to be putting in the effort and offer mostly blunt replies?

Well, this is often a bad sign in terms of things going anywhere between you.

The best thing to do is to make a follow up text if they’d like to go on a second date. This gives them the chance to say yes, in which case you can arrange one, or no, in which case you can wish them well and say goodbye.

Some people just hate texting, but they may still be keen to see you again. One way or another, you’ll know where you stand.

Should a girl text a guy first?

Short answer: sure, why not? A girl initiating texting after a first date is no big deal these days especially if the date went well.

This is the 21st century and gone are the days when it was entirely on the man to initiate things.

This is especially true when, as mentioned earlier, people get older and want to get straight to business instead of treading lightly around the situation.

Don’t worry about appearing too keen – there isn’t really such a thing. A guy is probably going to be relieved that he doesn’t have to get the ball rolling.

If someone is interested enough, they will message back, or even better, ask a question to keep the conversation going.

Should you call rather than text?

If you sent that first text and got a reply that led to a back and forth, it is a good sign of interest that there is no awkwardness. At this point it is safe to ask if it is okay to call.

The advantage of texting is it gives a person time to think first of what to say before clicking ‘send.’

Texting, however, unlike a call, is devoid of emotion and can be misinterpreted. You can’t really “laugh” in text, at least not the way you would when you talk over the phone.

So bottom line, if you can sense there is no uneasiness in texting and both are responsive, calling is a good option as you can talk about more ideas, opinions, and get to know each other more.

How long should you wait before a second date?

While you will probably want to give it at least a couple of days between your first and second dates, don’t leave it too long.

Depending on how your two diaries are looking, it’s always good to fix a second date within a week of the first.

If you met up on a weekend, try to do something the following weekend or sooner.

The more time that passes between your first and second dates, the less likely that second date is to ever happen.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.