Texts to send after a first date

First dates can be equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking, but, for some, navigating post-date communication is even more complicated. "Dating is as much a sales game as anything," David Ezell, the clinical director of Darien Wellness, a Connecticut-based counseling and mental wellness group, told The List. Ezell, who also conducts dating workshops, noted that texting has become increasingly important to daters. Many relish the opportunity to communicate via text because, for one thing, it's easier than a face-to-face chat or telephone call. Of course, that raises the question: What are you even supposed to write in a text — and when?

A date can have any number of outcomes, so the text message you craft really depends on how you feel the date went. Maybe the dinner conversation was just "meh," but you still felt a spark or, perhaps, you had the best date of your life. Either way, there is no set formula when it comes to post-date texting. However, experts have found certain texts to be more effective than others. Here are the near-perfect texts to send after the first date — whether it was good, bad, or downright ugly.

The caring check-in

If you've been in the dating game for a while, you may know of the "three-day rule." This guideline stipulates that a person should wait three days after the first date to make contact. But three days is a long time to spend agonizing over how you think the date went. Thankfully, you can put this "rule" to rest and reach out to your date whenever you see fit — including that very same night.

Justin Lavelle of PeopleLooker.com, a leading online background check platform for digital daters, suggests texting one simple question after you get home from a first date. An immediate post-date check-in shows you are interested and "sends the message that you are a nice person." So, just what question should you be asking? When speaking to The List, Lavelle recommends asking, "Did you get home safely?" He continued, saying, "Who knows? It might lead to a little text flirting that can be fun and a perfect cap to the evening!" Indeed, a lot of meaning is conveyed through this innocuous question.

Express excitement with emojis

When that first date goes so well and you really want to see him or her again  — but, at the same time, don't want to seem too eager — it can be hard to think of what to text.

You want to play it safe and express your excitement without going overboard and coming across as too thirsty. We hear that. Comedian Billy Procida, host of The Manwh*re Podcast, a show that tackles the issues of dating, sexuality, and relationships, admitted to The List, "I hate the 'playing it cool' tactic. If you're excited, then seem excited! You can seem excited and not like a crazypants." He advised keeping the text short. Try something simple and flirty, like, "I think we can both agree that needs to happen again, right?"

Procida also recommended adding a favorite emoji at the end. He continued, saying, "If you can express the entire date in emojis, do it. End with a happy girl or boy emoji followed with some hands in the air."

One text with extra cheese, please

"If that date was a bank heist, we totally made off with millions." How would you react to receiving this tweet after a great first date? Sure, it's super cheesy, but it's also pretty freaking adorable and nearly guaranteed to get a smile. Comedian Billy Procida, host of The Manwh*re Podcast, recommended sending a tweet like this post-date.

Instead of simply relying on a generic text — like "I had a great time last night!" —  Procida's silly text is perfect for showcasing your sense of humor and personality while also letting the date know that you did, indeed, have a great time. And, since you're recognizing that the date went so well, it also implies that you'd be down for round number two. Not bad for a 13-word text, right? Of course, you don't actually have to use the bank heist metaphor if that one doesn't suit your fancy. Just pick something similarly clever — and cheesy.

Make definite plans

While you can certainly hint at making plans for a second date, there's nothing that says you can't reach out and make more concrete arrangements. When speaking with The ListAlison Blackman, a dating, relationships, and sex expert, recommended texting about a specific activity you may have discussed while on your first date. If you had a conversation about the latest horror flick, for example, maybe follow up with a text that says, "Let's find a time to see that new movie."

Bringing up a past discussion allows you to use it as a launch pad for a second date. It's also a subtle way to demonstrate to the other person that you were truly listening when he or she showed interest in something. While it seems like a really simple text, it subtly reveals to the other person that you're not only a good listener, but that you have shared passions and interests, which could end up leading you two to a second, third, or fourth date.

Pace the dates

After a successful first date, you may still want to take things a little slow. Melissa Divaris Thompson, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in New York City, recommends texting something like this: "Have a lot going on, but definitely want to see you again as I had a great time. Can we get together next week?"

This kind of text shows the recipient that you are in demand and have a life outside of your romantic relationships — potential or otherwise. A second date a week later allows just enough time and space. It also gives both of you something to look forward to — since you've clearly set the table for another meet-up.

When speaking with The List, Billy Procida of The Manwh*re Podcast suggested a similar text: "I'd really like to see you again! My schedule is pretty tight the next couple of weeks. Can you do an afternoon this week?" If you're looking to take things slow — but don't want to wait a whole week — an afternoon date is perfect. "They take the pressure off of 'going home together,' but can still be plenty cute and successful," Procida added.

A text with no obligations

When you follow up after a first date, there's nothing that says you have to make arrangements for a second meeting. Even if the date was great and you do want to see the person again, you don't necessarily have to lead it there by spelling it all out. 

April Davis, a relationship expert, certified life coach, and CEO of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, suggested a no-strings-attached text: "I'm going to have trouble sleeping after such a great date." This sexy and subtext-free message is a killer way to put a period on the end of the sentence that was your date. After all, if the time you spent together was wonderful and leaves you with butterflies, why not share that thought with your date? That means sparks flew and you'll never know if he or she felt the same unless you put it out there. This text also leaves the door open for further post-date conversation.

Point out the positive

If saying, "I'm going to have trouble sleeping after such a great date," seems too far out of your comfort zone, fear not. Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, recommends saying something along the lines of, "I am still laughing about that story you told me." This sweet text brings the best part of the date to the forefront of the other person's mind. Plus, you don't have to worry that you're coming on too strong. Like the text suggested by relationship expert April Davis, recalling a fun aspect of your date doesn't have to lead to making plans for date number two — unless, of course, you want it to.

If a second meet-up is your goal, Justin Lavelle of PeopleLooker.com advised, "Recall a fun moment you had on the first date and invite your date to experience it again." He continued, telling The List, "Remember, you will never get a second date if you don't ask for it!" And the best way to ask for the second date is by highlighting the best parts of the first.

To ghost or not to ghost

As you know, some first dates are just awful. But, just as there's no set protocol for good dates, there's not exactly a formula for following up with s*** dates. That said, you shouldn't ever feel obligated to follow up at all. Dating, relationships, and sex expert Alison Blackman said it's completely acceptable to choose not to send a text after a bad date. Instead, Blackman recommends simply ending things with a polite "It was nice to meet you" while still on the date. She continued, saying, "If you have decided you don't want to date them again, just say 'good night' and leave it at that!"

On the other hand, some dates may just leave you feeling meh. Maybe you got along, but there was just no romantic connection. In this situation, you may feel bad ghosting your date. If you're legitimately interested in staying in touch, but don't want to go on another date, you can say as much. Blackman recommends texting, "Not sure I felt the dating spark but would be open to hanging out as friends. Not sure if this would even interest you, but wanted to put it out there."

Address the awkwardness

You might come home from a first date feeling like you blew it. But instead of ruminating, why not send a text? Funnyman host Billy Procida of The Manwh*re Podcast advised sending a text that will help you feel out your date: "Sorry if I seemed a little off. You helped me end a long day on a good note! I'd really like to see you again if you're up for it?"

Procida explained, "If it was awkward for you, it was probably awkward for him/her," adding, "Some acknowledgment that this wasn't a typical date might even alleviate concerns from him/her that you weren't interested."

Alternatively, you could send a text flat-out acknowledging the awkwardness. Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, provided her suggestion to The List, saying, "Now that we got the awkward first date out of the way, let me know when you want to meet the chill, more real me." This text acknowledges that you're well aware of the innately awkward nature of that first date, but are down for a second. It's also incredibly — but not disarmingly — direct.

Don't beat around the bush

Even if your first date was just okay, there's a chance you saw a flicker of potential. If so, you may start weighing the pros and cons of going on a second date. Of course, it can be hard to know how your date feels about giving it another go. Melissa Divaris Thompson, New York-based licensed marriage and family therapist, advises sending a a concise five-word text: "Should we do this again?" There's no reason to add unnecessary fluff to your message. In fact, Thompson says you should avoid being overly complimentary or even overly put off by your last date. Instead, this question allows you to play it down the middle.

"Keeping texts simple is a rule," the expert told The List. "You want to communicate just enough, but not so that people are reading into what you are trying to say. Strive for being as clear, concise, and honest as feels appropriate." Texting this short question is straight-forward and not open to interpretation, making it perfect for this situation.

Turn up the flirtation

If you and your date really hit it off, don't think you have to wait all the way until your next date to amp up the flirting. April Davis, relationship expert, certified life coach, and CEO of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, told The List, "Remember to flirt! If you don't flirt, they might not get the hint that you're interested." But don't worry. It doesn't have to be anything outrageous.

The expert advised typing out something like this: "So, how are we going to top that date?" This text is bound to get the conversation flowing without you having to lay the flirtation on too thick. In addition to encouraging some flirting on the other end, simple, flirty messages like these show that you're not disinterested in going on a second date. Obviously, you don't have to use Davis' exact words when it comes time to flirt-text, just be sure to stick to something that is in the same vein.

Stroke that ego

Everyone loves a compliment here and there, right? When speaking to The List, Jennifer Seiter, a relationship therapist and co-owner of Ex Boyfriend Recovery, suggested sprinkling in a little ego boost when you follow up after your first date. For example, you can say something like, "I really enjoyed the bowling with you yesterday! Great job with all of those strikes. I am going to practice so next time I actually have a chance to beat you." Of course, you can tailor the text to whatever it was you did on the first date. So, you know, don't talk about bowling if you didn't actually go bowling. That would be weird.

This type of follow-up text is also a great way to build in some friendly — and flirty — competition. CEO of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking, life coach, and relationship expert, April Davis said you can even go one step further by offering to pay for the next game you play. 

Gauge the interest

Even if you think your first date went perfectly, you might be struggling to decipher whether or not your date feels the same. In this situation, you might think it best not to risk putting yourself out there by suggesting a second date. However, if there's a chance you would like to go on a second date, you can gauge your date's interest through texting. Jennifer Seiter, a relationship therapist and co-owner of Ex Boyfriend Recovery, suggests writing, "Hey, I have so much going on today, but I wanted to send you a quick note to say you looked very handsome on our date yesterday."

This complimentary text can help you get a better read on your date's feelings, and, at the same time, you don't have to put yourself too out there. "If he/she responds with something positive about you, it's likely they are pretty interested," Seiter explained to The List. "If he or she just says thanks, they are probably not that interested." This text tactic is subtle and could certainly end in a second date.

The setup

After a first date goes well, your brain might start flooding with ideas for a second date. Still, it can be hard to know what to say to lock down that next outing. When speaking with The List, Samantha Daniels, relationship expert and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, said, "If you want to see them again, a compliment plus a suggestion about a related activity will do wonders to solidify a second date" — e.g. "That coffee was so good! I think you would love the lattes at…" That's right — all you need is a good setup.

This sort of text works wonders because while you're the one doling out a compliment about the previous date and suggesting a second date, you don't have the added pressure of making solid plans for date number two. In fact, Daniels actually recommends letting the other person "pursue the second date plans." If all goes well, you'll probably get a text back with a date and time.