What To Do After: First Date Jitter

Updated March 31, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

First dates can be exciting, overwhelming, and terrifying all at once. Even if you are familiar with the person you are dating, a first date can encourage plenty of jitters and concerns: will you have enough to talk about? Will there be a second date? What if it is a bad first date? The minutes and hours following your first date can be similarly confusing; once the date is over, do you keep your distance and wait for a follow-up? If you do follow up, what should you text after a first date? If it didn't go well, do you let your date know immediately? The time following a first date can be important for a fledgling relationship and can either create more nervousness or set your mind at ease. Consider the tips in this article to help you proceed appropriately after a first date.

First dates can be both exciting and nerve-racking

What to do after a first date

Following a first date, it can be important to evaluate your experience. Although it can be tempting to comb through every single aspect of your conversation during your date and all the cues you think you may have noticed, this can create even more anxiety and might produce an uncomfortable, unfortunate loop. Instead of focusing on the things you cannot know or control, such as how the other person felt, take some time to think about how you felt on the date.

While you were with your date, did you enjoy your time? Did you feel listened to, excited, and at ease? If you answered yes to these questions, these could be signs that a first date went well. Although spending time with a veritable stranger can initially be awkward, uncomfortable, or unsettling, if your date did not make space for you to speak or did not put you at ease with positive body language and a welcoming attitude, these could be indications that the date did not go well.

Your date’s experience matters just as yours does. Still, just because they had a great time does not mean you’re obligated to go on another date, and vice versa. If you were uncomfortable but feel obligated to contact your date or go on another outing, this could be a red flag. If you feel pressured in any way, that could also be a red flag. Conversely, if you feel excited (even if you still have some jitters), and you enjoyed your time, this can be a positive sign. Try to listen to yourself and your needs.

If you decide that you are not comfortable going on a second date, let your date know as soon as possible after taking the time to evaluate how you feel. Just as it can be irresponsible and unkind to intentionally leave someone in the dark about positive emotions, ghosting and similar behaviors are often unreasonable ways to let a date know that you are not interested. Instead, direct and simple communication can be ideal. You can call your date or even send a quick text thanking them for taking the time to go out with you. At the same time, let them know that you will not be going on a second date.

If you felt in any way unsafe or deeply uncomfortable on your date, and you do not feel safe reaching out to your date again, your safety and comfort take precedence. In these cases, simply not reaching out to your date again might be the safest course forward.

If you want another date, the protocol is similar. Reach out to your date with a text or a call, thank them for your date, and express your desire to have a second date. This does not have to be particularly effusive or over-the-top; simply saying "thank you" and "I'd like to see you again" can suffice.

If your date does not respond after you've reached out, that is okay, too. You can wait for another response, try again in a day or two, or chalk up your date to a lovely experience and move on from the idea of a new relationship.

Gauging your date's reactions

How your date behaved during your time together can offer you a small window into how compatible the two of you are. This can be an important component in making your decision, as you do want to take the likelihood of your partnership working well into account. Although quick flings can be fun, they can also be painful for one or both parties if you’re not on the same page. Making sure that you and your date are both happy, comfortable, and emotionally safe can be crucial. 

If your date was happily engaging you in conversation, asked a lot about your life, and was using language that suggested additional meetings, odds are they were having just as a great a time as you. If your date seemed sour, uncomfortable, or unusually quiet, that could indicate that your date may not have been excited at the prospect of another date. Of course, since you may have just met this person, it can be hard to evaluate their behaviors. They could have been quiet because they’re shy, or nice because they feel guilty rejecting you.  

Evaluating your date's behavior— based entirely upon what you observed versus what you imagined— can be pivotal when trying to glean a sense of whether your date is interested in the possibility of seeing you again. The human imagination is a powerful thing, but it can get in the way of happiness and comfort when relationships are involved, as the human imagination can turn the smallest of interactions into a declaration of love or a declaration of hate. Avoid your imagination and focus on observable facts and behaviors. When in doubt, use open communication to get the information you need.

Consider timing

If you are still unsure about your date and whether you want a second, take a few days to figure it out. You don't have to immediately reach out to your date; instead, wait to reach out until you know what you want. If you are uncertain, you may wind up making a decision you'll later regret, and you could hurt the person you're considering. Instead, consider the amount of time it takes you to be yourself in a relationship, and understand that your date might be experiencing a warming-up period, too. People can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to relax and show their colors to the people around them, so if you are unsure (and don't feel a definite "no" regarding your date), try to give it some time.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
First dates can be both exciting and nerve-racking

Be true to yourself

Rather than combing through Cosmopolitan archives to figure out what to do, be honest with yourself and with your date. There are bound to be communication hiccups in any relationship but do your best to be honest and straightforward about who you are and what you want. You can each go into the relationship better equipped if you are both honest about your wants and needs. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, let your date know. If you are hoping for something laid back and low key, without a formal definition, this can be vital information to communicate, too.

Although a first date can feel something like an interview or an audition, treating it this way can mean playing a dangerous game, by creating unrealistic expectations for both of you; your date might anticipate certain behaviors and ideas that you do not actually possess or indulge, and you might expect certain reactions from them that are based on false perceptions. At the end of the day, you may experience the happiest and healthiest outcomes when you stay present, remain true to yourself, and are honest about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. 

Online counseling with Regain

While a certain amount of nervousness can be expected while dating new people, overwhelming fear, terror, feelings of doom, or feeling paralyzed due to anxiety are reactions that might warrant further investigation and additional outside help. If you’re experiencing serious disruptions in your daily life or finding it hard to connect with others in a natural way, you may be able to benefit from a session with an online therapist. Regain can connect you with a licensed, board-certified therapist from the comfort of your home. If you’re chatting with potential love interests all day or going on dates, it’s natural that you may not have the energy to leave your house to see a therapist. With online therapy, you can use your phone, laptop, or tablet to get connected with a therapist whenever your busy schedule allows it. Dating can be tough, but you don’t have to walk through it alone. 

The efficacy of online counseling 

Those experiencing shyness, social anxiety, depression, and more may tend to withdraw from other people, making it more difficult to make connections and enjoy a healthy dating life. In a recent study conducted in Hong Kong, researchers found that internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was effective in treating social anxiety disorder. In fact, 73% of participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for SAD at posttreatment, compared to 9% of those in a waitlist group. 


Most people experience some type of nervousness when going on a first date. It can be especially nerve wracking wondering if there might be a second date with someone you really like. Despite the pressure often associated with first dates, they do not have to be the be-all, end-all of a relationship. More than the date itself, your feelings and opinions about your date and time together matter when pursuing a relationship or choosing to go a different direction. Although dating can be complex, speaking with someone about your experience can help you have more clarity when making important decisions in your love life. Regain can connect you with an online relationship coach to support you through the challenges and encourage you when things seem to be going well. 

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