Dating Etiquette Confusion
March 5, 2008 8:15 PM   Subscribe

What is the right dating etiquette after a good first date?

Hey everyone,

Sorry to dominate these boards, but I have another question! Say you enjoy a first date with someone, and you're fairly certain you'd like to see them for a second date, what is the proper etiquette?

Do you say, "It was really great to meet you. I had a great time. I'll be in touch," wait two or three days, and then e-mail or call saying you'd like to meet again. Or do you say "I had a really fun time. Would you like to do this again some time soon?" in person after the first date? I realize different people do things differently. I'm just wondering whether there is a standard etiquette in American society for people in their 20s (and 30s).


posted by cscott to Human Relations (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You're thinking too much about it. Call him and say you had fun and if he'd like to meet again sometime.
posted by PowerCat at 8:20 PM on March 5, 2008

The proper thing to do for a second date is to ask them out again.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:22 PM on March 5, 2008

An email the following day is the best case scenario. It can just be "I had a great time last night and it was so nice to spend time with you. I'd like to do it again if you're free sometime soon."

When you know there is an attraction for you, don't waste time and don't play games. Just make that simple gesture, so your date will know you sincerely enjoyed it. It's a great feeling to see that email the next day. And it's on them to respond in the tone they feel is appropriate. Don't worry about blowing it; just keep to a cool simple 2-3 lines.

If you had a little laugh or joke you can refer to, points for putting in a few words about that. If you mentioned a movie or book you thought your date would like, throw in a link to that. They'll be flattered you remembered that detail.

Just don't write four paragraphs of undying love (creepy). A few positive, upbeat, comfortable lines will suffice.
posted by Miko at 8:26 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

At the end of the first date, invite the person on a second date. It helps if you have something in mind, rather than just asking if they want to get together again. Pick something different than you just finished doing, unless you have a good reason to repeat the same activity.
posted by chudmonkey at 8:27 PM on March 5, 2008

If the first date is really that good then you'll probably end up talking about the next time you'll see each other.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 8:48 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree that there is no standard etiquette (that I know of). I think a nice way to end a date is to say, "I had fun. I'd like to see you again sometime soon. What are you doing next week?" It's honest and straightforward, and there is less room for them to give you an excuse over email for why they don't want to see you again.
posted by easy_being_green at 9:28 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can find dating etiquette in Debrett's Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 2:26 AM on March 6, 2008

I called my wife the day after our first date to tell her how amazing I thought she was. Apparently, that worked.

Seriously, though, in my opinion, this is a "do unto others as you'd have done unto you" scenario. If you would like to receive an email the next day from your date, then you should send an email the next day. Know what I mean?
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:32 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

The day after, either call/email/text (depending on your preferred mode of communication) saying something like:

Thanks for yesterday, I had a lovely lunch/day/evening with you. There's a play/movie/exhibition/whatever that I'd really like to go see, would you be interested in going next week?

The reason I like this is:
1) It's the next day. You've both had a chance to sleep on it but it's not dragged out. DON'T wait 3 days
2) You're giving honest, positive feedback to the other person which gives them an idea of how you feel
3) You're giving the other person an easy way to either accept or decline your offer. To accept, they agree to your choice, or propose another one. To decline, they can just say that they're not interested in your event choice
posted by quiet at 5:00 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

who asked who out? Whenever I've asked anyone out if I wanted to see them again that was discussed during the first date. If you were the one asked out and future plans weren't discussed I'd consider that a sign that your date might not be interested in seeing you again. If you did the asking on the first date you should make plans for a second date asap.
posted by any major dude at 6:31 AM on March 6, 2008

At the end of a really great first date, I asked, "So when can I see you again?" He said, "How about tomorrow?" And then he kissed me. And we saw each other the following night, and the night after that. The quality of the time and of the person made this feel incredibly natural, and not at all creepy. And we're still together almost five years later.

So ditto to all the answers that say there is no etiquette-- if you really like someone, there's no reason to hold back and keep them guessing. Say what you feel, when you feel it. The "strategies" we invent to protect ourselves can shut others out unnecessarily.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 6:53 AM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

There was a message on my answering machine when I got home form my last first date. We'd done the "Yeah, that was fun, I'll call you" thing on her front steps, but she wanted to be sure I knew she was serious about seeing me again. Impressed me!
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:54 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Don't play games; call when you say you'll call, respond to texts and emails, but don't flood the person you're interested in's mailbox, answering machine or voice mail. Don't come off creepy or needy or overdo it; you can destroy a good thing by seeming overeager.

Try to strike that happy balance between seeming fascinated and acting like a puppy. Upthread there is a "do unto others" suggestion; this is perfect. However, DO give yourself breathing room between dates and conversations.

You may not realize it until you're older, but anticipation and imagination are just as much a part of new love and dating as actually speaking to and seeing each other.

Don't reveal too much personal information too quickly; a little mystery is also attractive and gives you the motivation to learn more about each other on second, third and fourth dates (I would also recommend not rushing sex for this reason as well).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:38 AM on March 6, 2008 [3 favorites]

Also, if you are worried about misinterpretation of how the first date went, always discuss the possibility of a second date in person at the end of the first date. Many times, Americans in particular will say, "I'll call you" after an initial date just to make leaving at the end amicable when they really have no intention of calling. You might sit by the phone for a few days, excited, then disappointed when you try calling the person yourself and there is no answer. Don't do this; I have no idea why people consider it easier or less rude to leave another person with false expectations.

If the person refuses or doesn't return your calls, don't take it too personally and don't overanalyze the date. You can't go back in time and you can't change other people; just move on to the next date and be yourself! There are plenty of dates out there for people and confidence is far sexier than anything superficial.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:46 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Don't ask him/her out at the end of the first date--or at least, don't insist on making plans right then. It puts the askee on the spot, assumes that s/he is in the same place as you, etc. Instead, call the next day (or at most two days later). That way s/he has time to decide if s/he wants to see you again. It's also much easier (for both parties) to say, "I'm sorry, but no" over the phone.

If you know before the end of the date that you do want there to be a second, it's fine to say "I've had a great time, I'd like to do this again. Can I call you [or I will call you] to make a plan?"
posted by CiaoMela at 10:41 AM on March 6, 2008

It's also much easier (for both parties) to say, "I'm sorry, but no" over the phone.

Just for clarity, I've found that it's rare to get an actual "I'm sorry, but no", because that's just socially uncomfortable for everybody involved. If somebody says "sure, gimme a call" to your face, but then they don't answer your messages, they're not interested. (My personal rule, for new contacts, is that two unanswered messages without a decent reason -- text, voice, e-mail, whatever -- equals deletion from my phone and/or address book.) Don't EVER beg for a literal "yes" or "no" -- a lack of response is a crystal clear message.
posted by LordSludge at 12:49 PM on March 6, 2008 [4 favorites]

The person who I just moved in with called me at 10 a.m. the morning after our first date to say that he'd had a really, really great time, he loved my company, and wanted to see me again that weekend if I had time. It totally wowed me. But, I think after the first date we were both pretty much on the same page about wanting to see each other again. YMMV.
posted by missmobtown at 5:39 PM on March 6, 2008 [5 favorites]

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