First Date Rules: Texting After First Date?

Updated December 12, 2022by ReGain Editorial Team

The first date with a new person can be extremely challenging for both parties. Often, neither individual knows much about one another, and there’s a never-ending fear of possible rejection. What if they don’t like me? What if I say the wrong thing? Who pays? Do we kiss on the first date? There’s an endless number of questions racing through your head, and it’s a wonder that anyone ever actually makes it to the actual date! Have you ever said ‘yes to going out with someone and almost back out at the very last moment, just minutes from when you were supposed to meet?

If you do happen to make it through the first date, there’s a chance that both parties do enjoy one another’s company, and they want to learn more about each other. Texting after first date is one of the finest strategies to maintain the spark if it exists during your encounter since you don't want to miss out on the chance to enjoy life with that particular someone. They'll just have to figure out what to do after a first date, then the excitement continues. On the other hand, there’s a chance one person enjoyed the other person’s company, and the other may not have been as interested. Either way, a major point of debate in today’s dating world is texting etiquette after the first date, which should be on top of the list of what to do after first date. Texting plays a major role in the way most people communicate these days…and miscommunicate. A significant weak point of using this as a primary means of communicating is the inability to understand intention or hear inflection. Everyone reads things differently. Where the sender of a text message may have been innocently joking in their tone, the recipient may read it as snarky and harsh.

The first date is when two strangers or almost strangers are attempting to learn about one another. It's the first part that will eventually lead to the 3 date rule. They have likely not learned one another’s nuances, which means the way you text after the first date can be extremely impactful on whether there will be a second. If your inner struggle is whether you should text at all after a first date, it’s often a great idea to let you know that you’re thinking of them and let them know you had a good time.

Before we get into what you should text on the first date, let’s talk about what you should avoid texting.

What Not to Text

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Let’s start with the idea that the first date is a game of chance, that when to text after first date is a difficult issue that most people struggle to answer and that the likelihood of ending up together with your date partner is unpredictable. This means you can either end up with the person of your dreams that you’ve always been waiting for or a narcissist that only cares to talk about himself. You never quite know what you’re going to get.

The immediate instinct may be to send the first text to a girl you like with something especially casual to avoid sounding too clingy/interested/desperate or sending something too personal. However, according to experts, you should not send a message saying, “How are you?” Before you think of what to text after first date, think of what NOT to text to the other person yet. There’s no personality here since this is something almost anyone will ask you, and it does not set you apart from anyone else. If you send a generic message like this, it gives off the idea that your date was not an interesting person with any standalone qualities that deserve being called out. Try to go for something personal that reflects your time together and your date’s personality to show interest.

Try to avoid offering to go out again the next day and texting something like, “Hey, let’s grab breakfast tomorrow morning.” Sure, you may be genuinely interested in the person you went on a date with, and you very much may want to see them again as soon as possible. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, this instant connection and need to be together can be a spark that lights a very unhealthy fire.  

Immediately after the first date with someone, there’s a high chance of viewing it through rose-colored glasses, where every part of the experience was positive and happy. Instead, take some time to separate yourself from the immediate experience. This will give you the time needed to appropriately determine whether your feelings were genuine or influenced by being very spur of the moment.

You also don’t want to appear too desperate or as though you don’t have anything else going on in your life, so leave some time so the desire to see one another again can grow. If you’re too available, this gives off the idea of neediness, which many people will be attracted to in the beginning.

Before deciding what you want to say in the message you’re about to send, here’s a bit of a pro-tip: do not send a message that doesn’t match the tone of the date you just had. This can create a bit of a mismatch online versus in life, which may experience feelings of discomfort for your date. You don’t want to send off mixed signals early into dating, especially if you are truly interested.

What To Text After The First Date

Texting after the first date is a big deal. 

After the first date, send a nice, charming, sweet, and thoughtful message. This simple gesture is what is likely to be most appreciated. Here are a few examples.

Example: “Hey! Thanks so much for earlier. I had such a great time (insert activity here), and your company wasn’t too bad either ;).”

A message like the one above comes off as casual and playful while also encouraging the other person to respond. Here, you took care of the most important point: acknowledging the date and thanking the other person for participating. After this, you added fun and teasing elements that hopefully will make the other person smile and feel good about themselves and the date. The emoji use also helps break the typical texting challenge of understanding intonation. It shows that you’re fun and playful, which will be more likely to get you a response. Consider adding some more details to this message personalized to the date you went on for added points that show you were attentive and caring. People want someone attentive to them and make them feel more than just acknowledged but appreciated.

Example: “Good to see you! Sending you cold hugs.”

Okay, this one may seem weird, but here’s the context: If you and the person you went out with have had previous texting or phone conversation, there may have been some ‘inside’ jokes or other personalized things you guys talked about. Perhaps you and your date joked about you being a “colder” and closed-off type of person during the date because you may have been acting shy or nervous. After your first date, you can send a text message that circles back to that memory. That will spark the other person’s memory, reminding both of you of how attentive you are to your conversations together.

There’s nothing that’s incredibly outstanding in the message, but the personalization is what will be attention-grabbing. Start with some sort of ‘thank you,’ then recap something specific to your time together and the conversation you had on the date.

Overall, when trying to decide what to text on the first date, stick with the most tried and true ideas – starting with a thank you message to show appreciation of the time spent together, and then follow that up with something personal related to either the date itself or something playful and nonchalant that the other person won’t feel intimidated by. These are pressure-free conversation starters, which are incredible for such a vulnerable time.

When Should You Text?

This is a question that’s been up for debate for who knows how long. Classically, before all of our modern technology, the norm used to be to wait about 2-3 days before contacting someone that you’re interested in. Today, there are a few standard options. You can text someone directly after your date, an hour after your date, two to three hours after, four to five hours after, or 6-7 hours after. Which is the best? The “when” is a lot less important than “what,” but as a general rule, waiting for at least two to three hours is going to give them some breathing room after your date to reflect on it. This is a casual interval that both parties can be comfortable with.

You can also opt for giving a little more time by waiting closer to six to seven hours, but that’s more dependent on when your date happened. If it was a later in the afternoon or evening date, you might catch your partner right before bed, in which case, they would be overjoyed. They may have been starting to wonder if you’d ever call and start getting anxious about everything. This would be the sigh of relief that saves the day. However, be sure not to wait too long to text when the other person is asleep.

2-3 hours after the date is a good amount of time so that both of you had a bit of processing the date without having too much time to worry about why the other person hasn’t messaged yet.

How Often to Text

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First and foremost, you do not want to come off as too clingy immediately. This will turn your date off and make them think it’s just too much too soon. It’s extremely important to find the perfect balance between too much and too little. Too little texting will make the other person think you aren’t invested.

Use how often the other person texts you as a gauge for how often you should text. When the other party texts, text back. Give similar time intervals between messages. If you notice the other person isn’t very talkative, try to probe a bit to determine interest but don’t push or force a conversation. Try to keep a healthy balance between how often you text and what the other person does.

Texting after the first date can be like an uncomfortable ping-pong game, where you’re just trying to stay afloat and keep the other person interested. This is to be expected as you start to learn more about each other. Either way, be sure to show your interest without being too clingy. Don’t shy away just because the other person does, but also respect one another’s space. As long as you’re interested in seeing the other person after the first date, feel free to send a casual, no-pressure message, and this could very well be the gateway towards earning your second date.

If you’re having trouble working your way through first dates and need some help understanding how to navigate this space, visit https://www.regain.us/start/ where a professional can help answer any questions you have, issues that you would like to work through and provide as much guidance as possible.

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