How to Nail That Text After the First Date

There’s nothing quite like nailing the first date. The conversation was electric, all of your jokes were funny, and both of you knew you wanted to see each other naked. Basically, there was going to be another date, and you both knew it.

Until you ruined it with text messages.

There’s nothing like coming home from an epic date and then staring at your phone wondering what the hell you’re supposed to do next. Do you text? Do you not text? What do you say? How long do you wait before you say it? What if she has her read receipts turned on, and she reads it but doesn’t respond immediately, and you spend the next three hours and 45 minutes sending screenshots of your conversation to your friends so they can help you understand exactly how you blew it in only so many words?

Texting is tough. There’s no accounting for tone or timing. It’s a delicate dance, especially when you’re messaging someone you just met, and you actually care whether or not you see them again. You can completely seal the deal with a text, or you can blow things up entirely. So to help you achieve the former, we reached out to Tripp Kramer, host of the podcast How to Talk to Girls. We also asked real-life women what they think about texting after the first date.

Don’t text as soon as you leave the bar—but don’t wait too long, either.

While you may want to text your date immediately and say something like “Get home safe,” Kramer believes it’s better to let a little bit of time pass. “Leave some mystery,” he says. “…It’s good to let you and her both reflect on the date, and then follow up within 2-3 days to meet up again.”

“Within” is the key word here—you might be pushing it if you wait until the end of day three.

A woman’s reaction: “I admit that when I was younger I loved the idea of the chase. If I was really liking a guy and he didn’t text me back immediately after the date, it would absolutely build anticipation and would make me want to see him more. It’s all part of that ‘game.’ But now that I’m in my 30s I pretty much know right away whether or not I want to see you again. If I want to see you again and I don’t hear from you for 2-3 days, I’d think you were playing games with me, and I’m not 24 anymore.” —Elizabeth, 33

“You don’t have to wait the allotted 2-3 days; that feels long especially if it’s clear we both really like each other.” —Sharon, 28

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Pick up the conversation where you left off on your date.

When you’re ready to set up another date, “Text him or her and comment on something you guys talked about on the date, or an inside joke you had from your time together,” Kramer says. “This gets the conversation flowing.”

But remember: You don’t want to fall into the habit of texting this new person too often. You’re not looking to become pen pals—you want to actually date. So the less you leave on the phone, the better.

A woman’s reaction: “The less that is said on text the better. When we know each other better, we can start texting each other throughout the day … The idea of bringing up something that happened on our first date, or trying to make me laugh, or flat-out remembering something I said goes a long way in a text, and will definitely make me smile.” —Sharon, 28

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Plan your next date as soon as possible.

If you’re all text and no action, they’re going to get bored, or think you’re not interested. If you want to actually see this person again, make plans to, well, see them again!

“After 3-4 text messages back and forth, invite her out to do something else,” Kramer says. But he warns: “Make sure it’s different than whatever you did the first time.” If your first date was dinner, then do an activity. If your first date was drinks, then maybe go out to dinner.

“You want variety in the beginning of dating to keep things interesting,” he says.

A woman’s reaction: “Oh my god, yes! I cannot stand when I have a great date with a guy and then he just proceeds to text me his random stream of consciousness. Do you want to see each other again or not? If I’m texting you back, then I’ll likely say yes. And if you don’t want to see me again, then don’t text me at all, because it’s confusing,” —Leah, 27

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Keep your clothes on.

Unless your first date involved sex—and no judgment if so, hope you had fun!—it sets a bad precedent to take it to sexting too quickly.

“Don’t turn a text conversation sexual unless you guys have been having sex,” Kramer says. “You run a huge risk talking sexually to a woman you haven’t been intimate with, because you two haven’t actually crossed that boundary yet.”

If your date starts to take things to a sexual place, Kramer recommends following their lead, but remember to keep it mellow. You want to spend time with this person in real life, not have a sexual pen pal. “It’s not about having a sexting convo—rather, it’s about actually meeting up with her.”

A woman’s reaction: “Listen, women love sex as much as men do. That’s not news. But if we’re just starting to date, we want to get to know you with all of our clothes on first. Not saying that to be a prude, we can totally have sex, and hopefully it will be awesome. But if all you’re talking to me about, in the beginning, is getting me naked, then you likely are having that same conversation with a lot of other women, too. In my opinion,” —Grace, 31

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And finally, no dick pics, please.

“Unless specifically asked.” —Tara, 30

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