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How Long Should You Wait to Text After a First Date? Experts Weigh In

Find out if you're sending your follow-up message too soon or too late.

There's a lot of pressure that goes into having the perfect first date. Did you pick the right place? Did you ask the right questions? But even if the night goes smoothly, the worries don't end there. Now you have to think about how to follow up, and just as crucially, when to do so. You've likely heard all kinds of different opinions on the best time to text after a first date. Some people swear by the three-day rule, while others think waiting that long is impolite. To help you with this delicate decision, we reached out to relationship experts to get their insights on the matter. Read on to find out exactly when you should be texting after a first date.

RELATED: 7 Steps to Take After a Great First Date to Guarantee a Second One.

When Should You Text After a First Date?

woman having glass on wine on first dae

We'll be upfront with you: There's no scientifically-proven answer to how long you should wait to text after a first date. But as Sophie Cress, LMFT, tells Best Life, experts tend to agree that you should send that initial follow-up message within 24 hours. This timeline allows you to "show interest and maintain momentum without seeming too eager," according to Cress.

"Timing plays a crucial role in post-date communication, as it establishes the tone for the developing relationship," she explains.

RELATED: The 25 Questions You Should Never Ask on a First Date.

How Soon Is Too Soon to Text After a First Date?

man texting on phone late at night while sitting on couch

While trying to decide when to text within those first 24 hours, don't stress over texting too soon. If you want to text your date that same night, do it.

"Sending a message earlier rather than later actually makes the most sense," Chelsea Leigh Trescott, certified life coach and podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak, says. "You were just with this person, so obviously they are on your mind."

Experts recommend this route in particular if you know the date went really well for both parties.

"Are you confident that you both had a great time and felt a connection?" asks Amber Lee, dating expert and co-founder of Select Date Society. "If the answer is yes, sending a text immediately after the date is a great way to keep the momentum going and to give your date reassurance that you are interested in seeing them again."

Others advise that it's often the most polite thing to do.

"Most people will text within a few hours of arriving home and thank their date," Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, shares.

Andrea McGinty, digital dating coach and founder of 33 Thousand Dates, adds that "texting a few hours after the date shows you appreciate the person's time, and you enjoy their company."

RELATED: 7 Flirty Emojis to Send When Talking to Your Crush.

When Should You Text After a First Date If You're Being Cautious?

girl lying on sofa with cautious face holding her phone thinking about sending a text

Of course, you don't have to text that soon. Despite a wide range of opinions on the right time to send the follow-up text, Lana Otoya, professional dating expert and founder of Millennialships Dating, says there is "general consensus" that you can wait up to 48 hours to text after a first date if you're being more cautious.

This is also a good timeline if you're not entirely sure of how the other person felt about the date, according to Lee.

"If you are uncertain as to how well the date went, it's best to wait a day before texting. Keep the text simple by saying something like, 'I really enjoyed getting to know you yesterday,' or, 'It was so fun meeting you! Let's get together again soon,'" Lee advises. "Waiting a day or two to send a text after a date allows each of you to reflect on the date and gauge interest before moving forward."

How Long Is Too Long to Text After a First Date?

man holding his phone thinking about sending text

At the same time, you don't want to wait too long to follow up. While experts say you shouldn't stress over whether you're texting too soon after a first date, overly delaying the text can be a real problem.

"When it comes to texting after a first date, you should text no later than the next day to say you had a great time, or to thank them for their time," Trombetti suggests.

If you're planning to send your first follow-up message more than 48 hours after the date, "you've waited too long," Lee cautions.

"We live in a society of instant gratification and people are expecting to get feedback quickly," she explains, adding that this is especially true in the age of dating apps. "If you met online, there are many other singles competing for that person's attention. As the old saying goes, 'You snooze, you lose!'"

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How Important Is Timing When It Comes to Texting After a First Date?

woman hovering her finger over the send button while holding a phone

Some people say texting too soon can make you seem too eager, while others say texting too late reads as disinterest. But don't get needlessly bogged down with the specific timelines—experts stress the importance of authenticity over anything else.

"The good news is that when it comes to timing, there are far more right ways than wrong ways," says Dan Rosenfeld, social psychologist, dating expert, and founder of The Match Lab. "So just relax and go with your authentic style of texting."

In other words, the exact time when you send your follow-up message isn't likely to make or break things.

"Unless someone is truly right on the fence about going on a second date with you, whether you text them an hour after your first date or the day after won't matter that much," Rosenfeld assures.

RELATED: 5 Texting Habits That Prove They're Attracted to You, Dating Coach Says.

What Should You Include in Your Text After a First Date?

man holding phone in his hand with blurred text conversation on screen

Now that you have a better idea of when to send that follow-up text after a first date, what should be sending? There is no set template for these messages, of course, but experts say it's always best to start by expressing your appreciation for the time you spent together.

"Sending a simple message such as 'I had a wonderful time last night, thank you for such a great evening!' not only shows gratitude but also reaffirms your interest in seeing them again," Cress shares.

This can come off a little generic, though, so don't fail to mention something specific from the date, too.

"This could be a topic you discussed, a place you visited, or a joke you shared, demonstrating attentiveness and sincerity," Cress notes.

If you want to keep the conversation going and learn more about each other, you may also want to ask some open-ended questions.

"You could inquire about their interests, hobbies, or aspirations, showing genuine curiosity about their life beyond the date," she adds.

A meaningful back-and-forth can be an important step toward making that first date the first of many.

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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