Asked someone out for a first date, how long do I wait for an answer?
July 5, 2013 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm totally rusty on this sort of thing, and so have no idea myself. I asked a woman out, and I haven't received a response yet. Should I keep expecting a response? When does her non-answer become my answer? (Snowflake details within.)

The particulars which may or may not be relevant:
-- we are both 30s, professionals in different fields
-- we live about an hour apart
-- my information that she is single is quite reliable
-- we met under circumstances which are unlikely to be repeated
-- we are not likely to run into each other in our day-to-day lives
-- there was something of a connection (though no fireworks or anything), and green lights throughout our time together
-- during our time togther, I was a good boy, and played it fun but somewhat reserved, given the company we found ourselves in
-- her name is common enough to be google-proof and facebook-proof
-- I do not have any of her personal contact information other than her work email address (which she supplied prior to our first meeting on an unrelated, not-work matter)
-- when we each got back from our first meeting, there was an exchange of emails regarding some minor work arrangements
-- at the end of that exchange, I asked her out by email, explicitly using the word "date"
-- I acknowledged in that email that me asking her out was a bit direct and a bit early, but that we were unlikely to meet each other again otherwise
-- I asked her out 24 hours ago, and have not heard anything since.

Now, I'm totally out of practice with dating, and don't really know what I'm doing. Granted, it wasn't the best way to ask her out, but I was left with very limited options, and I really like this woman, the little of her that I know. I genuinely thought there was something there, but I'm so rusty with this stuff, my Spideysense could be totally off. Who knows? It is possible that work commitments have kept her either from receiving my email or from responding to it, but I would think that unlikely.

So my question is this: what is a reasonable response time for being asked out by email these days? How much longer should I expect an answer, before switching over to the answer that her non-answer is my answer?

Thank you in advance, hivemind. I'm going batty refreshing my email every five minutes.
posted by Capt. Renault to Human Relations (24 answers total)
 
I do not have any of her personal contact information other than her work email address (which she supplied prior to our first meeting on an unrelated, not-work matter)

Hmmm... you're both in Canada? I'd wait until Monday before giving up. She could be on vacation this week.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:32 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is she by any chance in the US? Because it's a holiday weekend here, and she most likely won't be checking her work email till Monday.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:34 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


We are both in Canada.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:35 AM on July 5, 2013


Maybe I'm at the end of the bell curve, but I'd give the person a week to respond just in case they are really really busy. I'd also follow up once during that week but that's it.
posted by Hawk V at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2013


24 hours is too short of a turnaround time.

On the other hand, you said it was at the tail end of a flurry of work emails, and she basically stopped responding once you mentioned "date".
posted by KokuRyu at 8:41 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thank you for being clear and saying "date" when you asked her out - that clears out so many misunderstandings and misinterpretations! 24 hours isn't enough time to panic. Consider that she not only has to go to work and read your email, she's got to decide what she wants, if she's okay with dating a professional contact, if she's interested in an hour-commute relationship, and possibly what kind of activity/place/time to suggest if she wants to say yes. Or if she wants to say "maybe", that's a complicated email to write. If I got such an email I'd forward it to my home account and worry about it over the weekend, not try to reply during work hours. So give her some time, and try not to worry too much in the meantime.
posted by aimedwander at 8:45 AM on July 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Capt. Renault: How much longer should I expect an answer, before switching over to the answer that her non-answer is my answer?

Honest question: Why do you need to "switch over"? I'd suggest going about my business assuming that the answer is no, that way a positive response next week is a happy surprise.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:46 AM on July 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Consider this a no. Stop checking your email obsessively, and get on with your life. My general rule is that if I suggest getting together with someone (a date, hanging out with a friend, a party, whatever) and they don't immediately respond with an enthusiastic yes and an effort to pick a specific time and place, I consider that a no. Because anything else would drive me crazy trying to figure out what they're thinking.

If she gets back to you at some point down the line, that'll be a nice surprise. But you have to live your life now as though she's not going to get back to you so that you don't drive yourself completely nuts.
posted by decathecting at 8:48 AM on July 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


Maybe she just sees you as a friend and is just trying to find a way to tactfully say that. Or maybe she's giddy with glee that you asked her out and has spent the last day thinking about how she can give just the right response.

Maybe she saw your email and is avoiding it. Or maybe she just got contacted by her boss/client/whatever for an urgent project when she got that last email and thus never got around to reading it.

Maybe she's worried things are moving too fast. Or maybe she doesn't mind things moving fast, but buys into the idea that she has to look unavailable to impress you.

Maybe she's into the wild type and your reserved attitude doesn't quite get the sparks going. Or maybe she's into you but doesn't know enough about you to feel safe one-on-one, so she's spending some time googling you and digging up dirt on you.

Point is, you don't know what her reason could possibly be for waiting 24 hours. The ball is in her court, and there is literally nothing you can do about it right now without seeming too needy or like a total creep. Isn't the best policy just to relax, don't necessarily expect an answer, and take the news as it comes in?
posted by Conspire at 8:57 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you did great in your email and it's too soon to know for sure what the 24-hour lack of reply means. Give it at least until Monday. If she doesn't reply by the end of the day on Tuesday, I'd consider it a polite way to decline your invitation.
posted by shortyJBot at 8:59 AM on July 5, 2013


Being cool and a lot more easygoing about whether she wants to go out with you is healthier. I know a lot of guys are anxious about women, but guys who are laidback about that kind of stuff prevail.
posted by discopolo at 9:01 AM on July 5, 2013


I asked her out 24 hours ago, and have not heard anything since.

If there is no reply after 72 hours, the reply is "No thank you."
posted by DarlingBri at 9:24 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd hold out some hope until Monday evening, at which point I would completely give up.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:26 AM on July 5, 2013


If I read this correctly, you asked her out via her work email?

That may be part of the problem -asking people out via an email account that is essentially public may be something to avoid in the future. Even if I wanted to accept a date from someone, it would give me pause if they did so via a work account.

If you've not heard back by Tuesday morning, it's a no. I would go on with things and not think about it.
posted by winna at 9:29 AM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Trying to draw any conclusions from a 24-hour silence is wild speculation. And now that you've passed the 24 hour mark, it's best to step away from the computer (and smart phone) just so you don't obsess. Do other things that limit you to checking your mail only sporadically.

By Monday evening I would be setting my expectations on 'no'. (And even then, sometimes life surprises you, but only if you're not expecting it.)
posted by fikri at 9:35 AM on July 5, 2013


OP not only did you ask her out via email -- which for a first-date request is going to strike many 30-something women as unattractively timid or tentative -- but you apologized for asking her out.

While you shouldn't be a jerk about it, you owe yourself and her one more shot to try it properly. If you have her work email you can get her work phone. Call her Monday and repeat your invitation without any ambivalence!. If she says, "no and you should have gotten the hint" then you do owe her an apology, which of course you should give.
posted by MattD at 9:36 AM on July 5, 2013


Good for you for taking the bull by the horns and asking her out on a date!!! Phase one complete!

Were there any mild flirtations during the work related email exchange you had prior to you asking her on a date? If not, then she may have been surprised by your proposition and she's taking some time to assess her options.

Be a little more patient and I agree with others that if you haven't heard anything by Monday night, it's probably a no....

However, there could be many, many reasons she hasn't replied yet - so please keep hope!

If is is a no, then don't be discouraged. Keep asking women you like on dates and you'll be golden in no time!
posted by JenThePro at 9:53 AM on July 5, 2013


Ball's in her court. Please don't call her at work, or follow up using her work email. I know I wouldn't welcome being asked out using my work email, and I definitely wouldn't welcome a call at work.

I agree with others who say to give it the weekend, and then put it out of your mind.
posted by nacho fries at 9:54 AM on July 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Nevermind, she responded and declined. Thanks, everybody.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:09 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Assume it's a "no". Get on with doing whatever you would have been doing this weekend had this not occurred. If you get a "yes" next week, it's a pleasant surprise.

Above all, do not contact her again over this in the next few days. Being clingy or persistent or unconfident or impatient is deeply unattractive, and it may turn a future "maybe let's give it a go, see what happens" response into an "ugh, this is not relaxed, I'll avoid".

Work on that confident, positive and relaxed thing. It'll pay off big time in the long game - and the long game is the one to play. Not just in relationships, but accumulating friends, in the workplace, and other environments and situations.

And good luck!
posted by Wordshore at 10:10 AM on July 5, 2013


Sorry, Cap'n. Better luck next time.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:19 AM on July 5, 2013 [26 favorites]


Consider this a no. Stop checking your email obsessively, and get on with your life. My general rule is that if I suggest getting together with someone (a date, hanging out with a friend, a party, whatever) and they don't immediately respond with an enthusiastic yes and an effort to pick a specific time and place, I consider that a no.

This is the best advice. People are often unreliable and flaky. Don't let that stop you from getting on with life, including asking the very next person who you fancy. Don't wait.

http://refinedself.com/blog/post/missed-opportunities-and-your-internal-dialogue
posted by 4midori at 10:41 AM on July 5, 2013


Bummer that she declined. But don't take it personally, and remember- there are many other fish in the sea.
posted by Asparagus at 10:58 AM on July 5, 2013


Dont get disheartened. You sound like a nice guy. Better luck next time!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:25 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


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