How do I approach a second date?
October 16, 2011 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Never dated someone I didn't already know. Some advice on dating protocol?

So I've posted here before, normally about unhappier subjects of lost love and healing. But today I have more of an upbeat question.

So, I'm very new to dating. All my previous relationships started with an implied level of romance and the "dating" phase was had always been more of a formality for me.

However, I've been single for about a year now, and I've met this wonderful girl. We've been chatting via text/facebook, and been on one coffee date. (Which I can only assume went well since she "lost" track of time and missed her class) and was rather eager to go out with me again.

Here is where my level of dating experience falls short. Since I've already asked her out again (we decided on this scary Halloween hike at a local farm), and she was very excited to go, we will be going next Saturday night. What I'm not sure about is what I should be doing in the meantime? Should I be talking to her every day? I mean we're only going on a second date, so I don't want to come on too strong. After our first, she started texting me not less than 10 minutes after we parted. We didn't talk yesterday, which I think is fine, because I don't think we NEED to be talking every day at this point. If she were to contact me I, that would be great and I would respond, but I'm just very confused as to what the level of communication should be and how normal dating protocol works. I also don’t want to seem like a jerk or too aloof…

Obviously, I'm aware that all situations are different and there are no written rules, I'm more so looking for some experiences and what you guys think is acceptable. I’m trying to find a good balance because like I said, all my long term relationships have started with people I already knew and It felt more natural.

Also, what’s acceptable for a second date in terms of physical contact? I’m talking like, holding hands/kiss at the door ect. Please consider that we’re going on a “Halloween hike” which I’ve been told is very scary haha.
This whole, dating a girl I’ve just met, is very much a departure from what I’m used to and I could use some guidance.

posted by Atlantic to Human Relations (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm terrible at figuring out between date communication, also. My rule of thumb is that as long as both people are initiating contact roughly equal amounts of the time, then everything's kosher and you don't have to worry about being overbearing or distant. The exact level of communication that's ok really depends on the two people. Not speaking for a day is definitely cool.

She seems really into you. I think going for a kiss on date #2 is totally appropriate.
posted by auto-correct at 3:05 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not likely to talk to someone every day after just meeting and one first date. You guys texted after to confirm that you both had a great time, which is pretty normal. You're doing fine here.

Second date, a kiss goodnight is certainly normal but not obligatory. Go for it, assuming you're enjoying yourself and feeling it. A scary Halloween hike certainly adds an opportunity for holding hands or something along those lines at various points.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:08 PM on October 16, 2011

Response by poster: No one else?
posted by Atlantic at 3:40 PM on October 16, 2011

I would say that as nervous as you may be about pestering her, forgo the texting and call her occasionally. For example, if you didn't talk yesterday, then why not tonight? Just call her to say hi and see how her weekend went.

If she likes you, it's almost guaranteed that she'll light right up, because you are one of the guys who actually calls. As opposed to her just waiting and wondering and then ultimately texting you herself just to assertively (but not needily!) remind you that both your phones are working.
posted by hermitosis at 4:05 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would send a text or email every 2 or 3 days until the date, usually with a link to some funny or awesome thing on the web that wasn't controversial. Keep it light and short. The day or night before, send message confirming the date and saying you're looking forward to seeing here.

Think about bringing a single, brightly colored flower to the date. Not a rose, but something silly and fun looking.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Definitely call, I second that, it's wayyy better than texting from a girl's point of view. But don't overthink the whole thing. Planning to text on this day and calling on that, and we're going to have our first kiss on this day... just means you have too much invested too early. Play it cool. Call her so she knows you're interested. If she likes you it's going to work out, you're not going to be able to mess it up even if you try.
posted by banished at 4:10 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ohh and definitely a call the day before the date, to nail down the plans, talk about how excited you are to see her, all the fun stuff you're going to do, get her excited about seeing you too.
posted by banished at 4:11 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Text or call depending on what you think she is comfortable with. For example, some Mefites here have suggested calling her, as opposed to texting.

Personally, after only one date, even if I really liked you, I would hate that you called me out of the blue. For confirming plans yes, for general chit chat NO. Calls are usually reserved for either urgent matters or very very close friends. Please do not presume that calling is automatically better than texting. I know a fair few people who much prefer texting than calling.

Basically, follow her lead and you can't go too wrong. If she texts often, then do the same.
posted by moiraine at 4:26 PM on October 16, 2011 [10 favorites]

I would call her the day before to confirm date and time. I think your plans for second date are cool, I would definitely hold her hand through the hike. A kiss goodnight is appropriate too, just ask her if you may kiss her (girls like that).
posted by sandyp at 4:29 PM on October 16, 2011

Also, you might mention to her that it's new for you to date someone you don't already know, and that you hope you can be direct with each other about expectations in terms of contact, etc. She might appreciate the heads up.
posted by judith at 4:39 PM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Okay, so I kind of agree with those who said texting may be a better idea than a call. I think she would be uncomfortable with a call and I'm not really sure we are there yet.

However, those who said that letting her know I'm excited to see her and excited for the date I like.

Any ideas for something thats really charming haha that I could say? This is all so weird for me. I'm so good at this in relationships, but obviously in relationships there is no line I shouldn't cross.
posted by Atlantic at 4:45 PM on October 16, 2011

Seconding moiraine on the text vs. call question; I find calls convey urgency, you are demanding that I pay attention to you, interrupting whatever I happen to be doing. That's cool once a relationship is established, once you are in tune with each other's habits and rhythms. Not cool so early on when you can more easily text or email just to say "what's up" or confirm plans. If it takes more than a sentence, sure, call me, but I'll probably let it go to voicemail, it's not personal, and then I have to check my voicemail and BLEGH, just send an email. One or two texts or short emails a day or every other day are fine, more than that veers into creepy stalker territory for me personally. I like to save the actual conversation for in person, and I'm pretty anti-phone in general. I still find those very short little email/text exchanges prior to the date are good because they prime the conversation.

I say this just to demonstrate how much people obviously vary on all these things, so all you can do is put out the most neutral and non-intrusive pings you can, see if she reciprocates, and only slowly ramp once she does. If she calls, obviously she is not like me in her preferred communication modes. Listen and pay attention, you'll figure it out.

I often find my early dates with someone usually include a general conversation about this new fangled world of smartphones and interwebs and blah blah which can be a good source of hints about how someone likes to communicate. That's usually the point where I say something like "omg I hate the phone so much, nothing personal, I'm weird like that."
posted by slow graffiti at 4:47 PM on October 16, 2011

And as far as content of texts/emails: don't try too hard to be charming or whatever. If you have a sense of humor or you can tell a great little one-sentence story, go for it. Random and amusing goes over great with me, and most people I like. If that's not you, don't force it.
posted by slow graffiti at 4:49 PM on October 16, 2011

Just want to pipe up to disagree with those saying that texting is safer and/or better. Let HER tell you that, or set that tone for future contact based on how your real contact with her goes. People get bogged down in texting, it gives you both time to overthink everything. It's basically the lowest, cheapest, and most impersonal kind of communication currently available to us (to me, the fact that you are asking people on the internet for charming things to say only reinforces my opinion) and so putting yourself into a situation where both of you are forced to base nearly all your impressions of each other upon it, right from the start, is pretty unwise IMO.
posted by hermitosis at 4:57 PM on October 16, 2011

Text don't call and don't say anything too boring like 'looking forward to sat'- if you text her you should send her something that reminds you of her like a scary pumpkin contest article or something kind of 'boo! Be ready to be even more scared on sat' or soething off kilter. Or not. I shouldn't give advice. She will prob want you to initiate contact physically on the scary hike-walk closely beside her- see how it goes! She likes you- it will all be fine! Have fun!
posted by bquarters at 5:13 PM on October 16, 2011

Good choice for a date - it is outdoors, semi social, and allows for a few exit points (for both her and you) should the date go south.

Plan slightly ahead. Anticipate a few things - bring an extra layer so that if she gets cold she can borrow one from you. Bring an extra flashlight and spare batteries since this sounds like an outdoor activity. And most importantly, turn off your phone (or mute and screen if absolutely necessary). Bottom line - think of her needs, anticipate minor distractions, and devote the two or three hours to the two of you.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:16 PM on October 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Hmm, good point. I'll definitely remember to bring extra layers.
posted by Atlantic at 5:57 PM on October 16, 2011

If she contacts, reply, in same medium she uses.

If you see something funny/related to things you have talked about, send her an email link or a txt, nice, low impact way to show you're interested, without forcing a conversation.
posted by Elysum at 9:08 PM on October 16, 2011

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