Post-date text feature photo by Teraphim via Getty Images
Hello dating dykes, unbothered babes, or, perhaps, poor unfortunates who are powering through nonetheless. There’s been something on my mind lately, and it’s the art of the post-date text.
We’re usually talking after a first or a second date, here, since, by the time you’ve hung out more often, you’ve probably established a comfortable texting rhythm if things are going well. I’ve both sent and received post-first-date texts and have some opinions of my own, but I also wanted to source thoughts on the post-date-text from the Autostraddle x For Them team. What followed was an incredibly revealing conversation that definitely validated a lot of my instincts — and gave me some ideas too.
I heard from one coworker that their friends actually ASK them to help write these post-date texts, and I know that friends and dates of mine have felt anxious about similar situations. So if that’s you, bud, no worries. We’re going to break it down. So, how do you send your best post-date text? We’ve got some simple go-to’s that should be easy to follow, no matter what your comfort level is with texting sweeties right now.
Games Are Out, Have Been Out, Being Direct With Your Post-Date Texts Is In
As it turns out, being direct and saying how you feel has its perks — and is also preferred to the point where anything else kind of feels disingenuous. We DID have a team member say that she would get into playing games when it came to texting if she sensed the other person was playing games, first, but has since shifted out of that practice toward a more direct communication style. Games someone might play include not being up front when it comes to how much you like someone, which, why? Personally, if someone intentionally makes me feel like they don’t like me that much, I’m going to… show myself the door? Wouldn’t you?
So, what’s being direct without coming on too strong? Telling the person you enjoyed the date, that you think they’re cool, texting them at all, continuing a conversation you were having, complimenting them on their date choice if they suggested something to do, whatever! You can say nice things to someone without it being weird or too much! You can also ask for another date, if you didn’t already establish that in person. You just don’t want to start acting like you’re in a relationship or asking weird intimate questions if the other person hasn’t expressed they’re into that. But, with consent, even sexting/heavy flirting isn’t too much if you’re both into it! It’s really a plan-your-own-party kind of situation.
But what if you weren’t really feeling the date, or weren’t super into the person? Assuming that things didn’t go horrendously off the rails, sending a simple “Thank you for the date. I hope you have a good week/weekend/whatever.” without any further follow-up is appropriate, and hopefully, they also feel the same way and will let things lie. If you want, you can be even more direct, thank them, and if you genuinely do want to be friends, tell them you were feeling more of a friend vibe and cross your fingers that they react maturely. (And if they don’t, it’s okay to ghost.)
And if the date was abhorrent? Ghost. Just ghost. No one wants a breakdown of why they sucked to go on a date with, so please don’t send them that, either, unless the other person did something harmful that you want them to be accountable to you for.
As Drew, Autostraddle Senior Editor said, “If the date was BAD, I will not text. My hope will be that it was a mutual feeling and I never hear from them again. If they do end up texting, I’ll respond, but if they text about meeting up again, I’ll send a gentle thanks but no thanks.”
Text As Soon As You Feel Like It
People might be used to hearing about the old three-day-rule or even just the act of leaving text messages unanswered or on read for long periods of time to create tension. Generally, the team was against this practice and preferred not to think too deeply about when to send a text.
It’s especially appropriate when queer dating to send a text making sure the other person got home safe, but that’s not the only reason to send a text. Honestly, from my perspective, queer people range from socially anxious to people who love validation and attention to anywhere in between. Your chances of upsetting someone by sending them a thoughtful text after a date are pretty low, and the chances that if you like them, that it’ll help you deepen that connection are high.
Motti, For Them’s Social Media and Comms Lead said on timing, “I do not have a single rule for texting, I find them time consuming and manipulative. If I think to text, I send it. I don’t wait a certain amount of time or try to play it cool. If I happen to see a text as soon as it’s sent I’ll respond immediately.”
Kayla, Autostraddle’s Managing Editor has a very similar ethos and was happy to explain that she’s “a shameless triple/quadruple/etc texter and always have been. And yeah I just always thought it was a nice thing to do after a date, even if the date was just okay.”
Carmen, our Editor in Chief, is in agreement: “I don’t do the ‘is it too soon to text’ thing, especially if I genuinely had a fun time, because who wouldn’t want to keep a good thing going? I think the silence/’I’m too cool to text back’ can feel like a power move, and I don’t like to play those games or date people who do.” Carmen recommends a simple “can’t wait to see you again!” as part of the text that isn’t too overbearing but is also really clear about wanting more dates!
So, there you go, if you’re wondering if you should text the cutie you had a good date with, the answer is, why haven’t you already sent that after-the-date text, friend?
Finally, I’ll just add that in the day and age of COVID as well as the world generally being on fire and all of us continuously processing horrific things, if the last text you have from a date is about them testing positive or having an exposure or going through something not too fun, it is 1,000% okay to just shoot them another text if you haven’t heard from them in a minute to check in and see how they’re hanging in there, even if it means you’re double-texting or triple-texting.
Make Your Message Personal
While I feel I may do this somewhat intuitively, I did not realize that many folks were actively fact-finding during the date as a part of a larger strategy to have specific details with which to follow up — but they are doing just that!
Carmen will make the text about the date: “If the date went well, then we’re talking about something that we talked about on the date. I love an easy research moment, because it feels specific to that person and shows ‘I was thinking about you <3’ without having to say it. If we wanted to get some dessert after dinner but the bakery had closed, I’m probably going to send you a quick brownie recipe to keep on hand for next time.”
Motti recommends that you “Fact-find like a salesman. They said they love Nike sneakers and omg… guess who just passed a store having a huge Nike sale? Better send a photo and let them know!”
Kylo, For Them’s CEO, swooped in with a new option. “I’d send a voice note,” they say, “My view is that I like to be direct and say how I feel. I think hearing my voice adds a layer of being more authentic, and it shows that maybe I haven’t got a million dates going on (I don’t like to date lots of people at once it gives me anxiety).” So, voice memos are an option! And actually, a really cute one, in my opinion. More people should be trying this!
Put it all together and you can thank them for the date, mention something specific that you have Very Intentionally Remembered apparently, send a relevant pic, and maybe even eschew texting altogether and send them a voice note!
There Is One Post-Date Texting Practice the Team Universally Despises
Motti brought up the “I should’ve kissed you” text and as the team joined the conversation, we all agreed that this is the WORST thing to say and we hate hearing it! Either ask the person if you can kiss them on the date, or keep quiet about not having gotten up the guts to ask. Not only does it come off as lacking confidence, this move can, especially, read as the sender not having anything unique to say to the person or about the date. Not the move!
There Is One Post-Date Texting Practice I Specifically Loathe
I, and others I’ve spoken to, have had the icky experience of hearing from someone in a poly situation where they’re checking in with other people or getting feedback about the date from their partners. I’d say the rule of them is that if you’re checking in with other people because that’s how your poly situation works, your date does not need the details on that process. If you talked with other partners regarding anything negative about the date, do not send that feedback to your date! That’s gross! But, a little “I can’t stop telling the polycule about you,” is cute and acceptable.
In conclusion? You should be texting your dates if you like them, and even if the date was just kind of meh, a quick thank you and a check in to make sure both you and they made it home okay is great. But again? Were you dazzled by her smile and knowledge of 19th century poetry? Did they give you butterflies and show you a place in your city you’d never have gone to on your own, but now adore? Did you just think the queer you talked to for three hours was easy to get along with and incredibly hot? Send. That. Post. Date. Text. Do it as soon as you feel, make it personal, and if you wanted to kiss them but couldn’t get up the courage? That is something you take to your gay-ass grave. Sorry. You’re gonna have to keep that to yourself until the next date when you should probably ask if you can kiss your highly kissable date!