Congrats! You’ve asked her out (Part 1), and gone on a great first date (Part 2). Finally, let’s talk about where to go from here—whether you want to see her tomorrow or never again.
AFTER THE FIRST DATE
Want to see her again? Ask right away. If there is only one shred of knowledge you are going to retain from this guide, let it be this: if you want to see her again, ask her out for the second date at the end of the first. This is an expert-level move, and it’s magic. Here’s how you do it: at the end of the first date, follow up with a text or call and tell her you had a great time. Then, tell her you’d like to see her again and ask when she is available. This is a hot, strong, standout move for a lot of reasons. One, you can gauge her interest in you right away, without putting her on the spot in-person. Two, you are leaving things on a high note and simultaneously creating something new for her to anticipate, which is crazy sexy. And finally, you eliminate the post-date anxiety, so you can both continue to enjoy getting to know each other — without any added pressure.
A note on asking if she got home safe. You might be surprised to hear that this can be touchy territory, so allow me to enlighten you. Some women don’t mind when you ask her to text you when she gets home, because it makes them feel looked after and considered. Others (especially ones who may have been in controlling relationships in the past) might not like this, because it makes them feel like you are trying to keep tabs on them. So ask this one at your own risk. Either way, a good thing to bear in mind is that you are not entitled to information about her whereabouts, ever.
When in doubt, benefit of the doubt. There was a man I dated that when he first approached me to ask me out, was very confident. He made it a point to tell me he was a professional athlete, which I though was cocky and not very attractive. But I went out with him. On our first date, he was a mumbling, bumbling mess and terrible at making conversation. I was so confused, because he had been so sure of himself. I didn’t know how to read him. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, because I sensed he was a good guy. By date 3, he’d relaxed, and I realized his weird behavior could be completely chalked up to nerves. We ended up dating for a year and a half! The moral? Dates are heightened situations. We watch behavior closely and sometimes, jump to conclusions about people over things that are actually meaningless. You could never begin to truly know someone from only one date. So don’t laser-focus on quirks and blips. Zoom out, and if the person overall seems worth it, see how it goes on date two. If your instincts are still telling you to run, then by all means, bow out. But odds are it that weird thing you flagged was probably nothing. You’ll be glad you didn’t miss out on someone great.
Don’t ghost, and don’t breadcrumb. So you’ve decided she’s not your soulmate. No need to make it a thing, but don’t lead her on, either. It’s perfectly fair to kindly tell someone where you’re at. Maybe you realized you like your freedom right now, and you don’t want to be in a relationship. Maybe you just don’t see a romantic future here. Your feelings are valid, just be an adult and communicate them. What’s not fair is to continually maintenance text her as though it’s business as usual, stringing her along with little breadcrumbs, all along having no intention of ever taking her out again. Also important to note that if you guys had been talking for a while, or had a great date, or ended up sleeping together, but you still don’t want to see her again — you’re still accountable! So don’t ghost her. It’s kinder to arm people with the truth than to leave them wondering what happened. End it with class. How you exit a situation says a hell of a lot more about your character than how you enter it.
The back burner is for a-holes. Speaking of breadcrumb texting, don’t keep her on deck on the off-chance you’ll run into her at the bar one night and she’ll feel comfortable enough to go home with you. When I sense a guy is doing this to me, I can him immediately. Nobody wants to be somebody else’s bench warmer. Again, must I tell you that treating people like garbage isn’t cool?
Watch your ego. Just because she had a great time doesn’t mean she’s picking out a ring. After a few good dates, guys often get spooked and flighty because they make the mistake of thinking a woman is looking to dive right in at warp speed. This is arrogant. You might be great, but you’re not that great. Women are often unfairly rendered as people who don’t have a grip on our actions or emotions. You know, “crazy.” Never, ever use that c-word. It’s a lazy insult lame men lob at women who hold them accountable. The truth is, she probably sees the situation for exactly what it is, and is simply enjoying the natural process of getting to know you. Don’t jump in your mental time machine and project all your fears of the future on her. Go breathe into a paper bag. This is supposed to be fun, remember? The second date is just an audition for a third, not a proposal. Jump out of the time machine, live in the present, and let things run their natural course.
See parts 1 (Before the First Date) and part 2 (The First Date) for reference.
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, the comments section is VERY open. Let’s hear it.
Jess Graves is a writer and content studio owner in Atlanta, Georgia. Her work has appeared in Town & Country, Complex, Southern Living, and Vogue, among others. You can follow her on Instagram @jessnellgraves