Great first dates don’t always come easy. If you’re like me, you’ve watched entirely too much Princess Diaries and 13 Going on 30, and therefore, have become an insatiable hopeless romantic who refuses to take off their rom-com colored glasses. Life isn’t supposed to be a movie, and that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have moments that feel like we’re in one. Finding a partner (whether it be a lifelong hope or a fling for a few nights) should feel natural, organic, and real.
So when you find that and have the first date of a lifetime, what’s next? At this point in the movie, the lovers have already expressed their burning passion for one another and run off into the sunset while the credits are rolling, so they’re no help here. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of asking myself, “What would 20-something Mia Thermopolis do?” So after talking with every realist I know, here are five first date tips to follow AFTER the date ends to make sure the second one is even better.
1. Send a *Casual* Text Afterward
A quick “thanks for a great time” or “hope you have a great night” doesn’t ever hurt. It might actually help. Sometimes starting a conversation after a first date may feel difficult, but it’s important to send the message if you hope to have another date or even a relationship. Pull from previous conversations you had, ask how their pet is doing, congratulate them on an accomplishment they mentioned, etc. If you’re feeling up for it, you can even complement their looks.
You and I both know that people love nothing more than flattery, especially when it’s honest and direct. Let your date know you had a great time and that you’d enjoy another date in the future.
2. Do Not, and I Repeat, Do Not IG Stalk
Ah, the good ol’ IG stalk. When you lay in bed post-date, it seems like the unspoken next step. Of course, there has to be something wrong with this person, right? Possible serial killer? Crazy ex? Wrong. Please put your phone away or limit yourself to a few (or a dozen) funny TikToks before bed.
IG stalking only leads to overthinking, overanalyzing, and lots of ruminating. You’ll be thinking, “Wow, his ex is gorgeous” or “He must be traumatized from this breakup,” rather than focusing on the healed and outgoing person who’s totally into you. Allowing their past to seep into the present is beyond unfair; and dwelling on their past may make you rethink your movie-esque first date and convince you a second one would be a mistake. Let’s be real, though. A little is okay, but a lot is not. If you’re following (or plan to follow) your new beau or babe, you can lurk a bit but not stalk.
3. Be Honest (With Yourself) About Your Feelings & Expectations
Realize what you want and desire from this individual. Are you looking for a friend with benefits, a travel buddy, or a genuine romantic relationship? Make that loud and clear directly after the date or a few days later (whatever works best for you). In a world where we’re constantly feeling like we should be doing this or that, it’s essential to recognize what you want, believe, and hope to have in the future.
Having the introspection to figure out everything you want and need right away will help you set expectations for the next date and beyond. If you’re struggling to figure out what you want from someone after a first date, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I enjoy their company or just their attention?
- Am I only physically attracted to them?
- Do I feel like I should be with them, or do I actually want to be?
- What were my likes and dislikes?
- Can I see a *happy* future with them?
4. Lean On Your Friends for Accountability, Not Advice
Who doesn’t want to speed race into the group chat after sparks were flying? It’s natural to want to tell your friends everything, but recognize where you stand first. In the words of Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge, use your friends as “cheerleaders,” not coaches or advisors.
Because we all have different values, desires, and dreams, it makes no sense to bank our entire perception of a future lover on our friends’ opinion of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to get feedback when moving forward in a relationship and listen for warnings, but it’s also important to realize your own feelings and how they may differ from a close friend’s. You don’t want to ruin a potentially good thing based on the opinions of others—especially considering they weren’t on your first date with you.
5. Let The Next Date Happen Organically
There has to be some element of mystery, am I right? Don’t be so quick to plan a second date itinerary. Basically, don’t rush to get to the next step. Instead, truly bask in the feelings of having a crush.
Time and time again, we place life on a schedule. Who says the second date has to happen a week after the first? Let some time pass and casually text, but keep showing interest. Share your passions, your good and bad days at work, and time out with your loved ones. All of this showcases that your life outside of dating is still filled with happiness and gratitude, with or without them in it. Then, when the time is right and the hots are even hotter, open a slot in your schedule to get things moving forward.