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What to Do After a First Date If You Want a Second

A man and a woman on their first date, having a picnic on the beach and wondering what comes after the first date.

Is there anything better than a great first date? Even if you came in with the jitters, that can all be forgotten if you felt that certain, special spark. After a great first date, there’s the excitement and anticipation—that feeling that you could be at the beginning of something great. But wait, before you get too excited, slow down for a second. 

You need to get to that second date first. To help you get there, here are a few tactics that’ll let your date know you’re open for more.

Step 1: Follow up.
There are no rules about who calls who. If you’re a woman and feel like a guy needs to call you first, just know that you’re following some outdated dating standards. If you like someone, don’t waste your time constantly checking your cell phone. Text them and let them know you’d like to see them again. 

Step 2: Reference something they said on that first date.
If she said she was really into ramen, see if there’s a great ramen place you could take her to for the second date. If he mentioned that he likes foreign films, see if there’s anything playing you could go to. Show them you were listening, and suggest a place that fits in with their personality. Knowing someone pays attention to what you’re saying and remembers the little things can be extremely flattering. 

Step 3: Fulfill any promises you made on the first date.
Did they give you any recommendations? Since first dates are all about getting to know what their favorite books, movies, and music groups are, a recommendation may have come your way. If they said they loved, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus and you said you’d check it out, it’s really impressive if you actually do. And, it’s also a good excuse to start a new conversation with them. From there, you can ask whether or not you can take them out again.

Step 4: Leave the ball in their court.
It’s wonderful to make the first move, but if they say they’re a little busy, believe them. The ball is in their court. Sometimes, that’s their nice way of saying they weren’t that into you. Other times, they’re legitimately busy and have too much going on to schedule something right away. In that case, it doesn’t mean they’re not interested—they just met you at a particularly bad time. Make sure you read the cues and make them feel comfortable. It’s okay to follow up, but just once. Bombarding them with messages is the best way to get your number blocked. In the meantime, that doesn’t mean you can’t go on dates with other people.

Step 5: Have fun with it!
As mentioned, dating can be scary. But really, it shouldn’t be. If you have a healthy level of confidence, dating should be a lot of fun. People are attracted to those with a positive outlook, so if your first date wasn’t filled with smiles and humor, perhaps your follow-up can be. Spreading a bit of light-hearted humor can make someone’s day. 

With a little bit of confidence, a second date can be yours. Just remember, the person you’re dating is just as nervous—if not more so—than you are. Learning how to communicate with them and tell them you’re interested may be a hurdle right now, but it’ll be a lot easier as the relationship progresses.

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