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 planning the perfect first date. Did you pick the right place? Are you prepped with good conversation topics? But even if you get through the night with no trouble, there is something else for you to worry about: the follow-up. You've likely heard all kinds of differing opinions on when you should send the first text after a first date. For instance, some people swear by the three-day rule, while others say you have to wait an entire week. To get down to the bottom of this delicate decision, we reached out to the relationship experts themselves to get their insight on the matter. Read on to find out how long they say you should actually wait to text after a first date.

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Don't stress over texting too soon after the first date.

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If you want to text your date that same night, do it. "Sending a message earlier rather than later actually makes the most sense," says Chelsea Leigh Trescott, a certified life coach and the podcast host of Thank You Heartbreak. "You were just with this person so, obviously, they are on your mind."

Experts especially recommend this route if you know the date when really well for both parties: "Are you confident that you both had a great time and felt a connection?" asks Amber Lee, a 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," says Susan Trombetti, a matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking.

Andrea McGinty, a 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."

You can hold off a little longer if you're being cautious.

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You don't have to text as soon as the same day, however. Despite a wide range of different opinions on the right time to send the follow-up text, Lana Otoya, a professional dating expert and founder of Millennialships Dating, says the "general consensus is 24 to 48 hours" after a first date. As Lee further explains, this is a good basic timeline if you're not absolutely positive on how the date went for both parties.

"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."

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But don't wait too long to follow up.

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While experts say you shouldn't stress over whether you're texting too soon after a first date, the opposite is true for waiting. "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 advises.

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

Experts recommend being authentic over anything else.

Senior Asian woman laughing when using a smartphone.
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Some people say texting too soon can make you seem too eager while others say texting too late can make you see too uninterested. But don't get bogged down about the specific timelines, as 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, a 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 in which you send your message afterwards 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 explains.

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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