Beth Cook is a dating coach and throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.
There are lots of things people can do to mess up a date. Some of these mistakes happen during the planning of the date (too many back and forth emails about the activity/location/time), some of them happen on the date (staring at your phone; being negative). A lot of them, though, actually happen post-date—that very night just after you’ve parted ways, and in the days that follow.
Here are some post-date communication dos and don'ts that will save you both from wondering what to do next and from making the most common mistakes that ruin a good date’s potential for the next one.
DON'T ask your date, "Can we do this again?" Three things can happen here: your date says "Yes," you get rejected point blank, or your date lies to your face. This is a high-pressure question—so avoid it! What you should say, whether you want to see someone again or not, is, "Thanks for meeting up with me." You are welcome to add anything else on to that, if it's nice (such as, "This was a lot of fun," or, "I really enjoyed our conversation.” In short, no planning the next date while on your current date.
DO text something short and sweet on the way home... if you want to see your date again. "I had a great time,” “Thanks again," or "Hope you got home safe!" are all good, neutral messages that won’t put too much pressure on anyone. Again, no planning the next date.
DO give the date some air (a day or two). That’s when you get in touch to plan another date—that is, if you’re interested. No emailing or texting the day after. It looks desperate. No waiting a week either. It looks like you’re not interested.
DON’T connect via social media. A good first date does not warrant your digital life intersecting with someone else’s. Save Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for when you’re “in a relationship,” or possibly even never (more on this from me here).
DON'T get in touch unless you want to see someone again—that is, if you've only gone on one or two dates. In other words, there is no need to send a "break-up" text or email before you've really gotten together in a relationship. If you’ve spent a handful of dates or more with someone, though, you do owe that person an explanation for why you don't want to continue things.
DO be honest if they want to see you again and you don't feel a romantic connection. These are moments when you can thank the big G-O-D or Apple that digital communication exists! Email or text is just fine: "Thanks for getting in touch. In all honesty, I had a really nice time with you, but I just didn't feel that romantic spark. I wish you the best on your journey." Come up with a polite version of this that feels right to you.
DON'T ever say you're too busy. Make the time if you're interested. If you can't meet them at the time they suggest, make an alternative suggestion. This is crucial. You need to send the message, "I really want to see you. It's just that particular day doesn't work."
DO keep someone off the market if you're interested. The way to do this is by keeping a steady stream of contact with them—phone calls, emails, texts—and by setting up regular dates after the first few good dates. (And steady as in regular, not as in a flood of messages; keep it normal.) This will ensure that only you are on their mind.
Follow this basic post-date communication etiquette and you can be confident that YOU won't be the one inappropriately closing a date or getting in touch at the wrong time. And then, if someone isn't responsive to your excellent post-date efforts, kick 'em to the curb. You want to find someone you're crazy about and who's crazy about you in return—no exceptions.
Photo by John Benson