Previously, the sage Carolyn has defined a first date as “a way to spend about 45 minutes to three hours with a stranger to determine whether you have enough in common to see each other again.” Once you’ve secured that first date, though, how does one tell whether that litmus test has been met? And if you’re really feeling your first date and want a second, what can you do to make that as appealing as possible to the other person? Drawing on experience, here are 10 Auto team members to give you on the ground intel about what’s convinced them to go for a second date.
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
Honestly, I have an easy time getting along with most people, and I’m usually looking for the positives, not the negatives, on a date. I’ll try anything twice, or three times even, and I find that chemistry and flirtations and sexual energy can grow even if it’s not evident right away, so I am usually down to go on a second date no matter what. I think this question is more interesting, for me, if I think about the times I absolutely 100% was not interested at all in going on a second date, because it’s so rare. Actually I’m trying to think about it now and am coming up totally empty? Is that my thing, that I will always go on a second date?! I think the main thing that would make me say no to a second date is if it’s abundantly clear that we’re looking for different things out of dating. I’m very practical when it comes to love and partnerships (until I’m not, insert eye roll at self here) or at least I try to be, so if I can tell that something is doomed – she’s just looking for friends and I’m looking for casual hookups, or I get the feeling I’d want to like, Date them with a capital D and they say they’re emotionally unavailable, etc – I’ll cut it off before it can start. I’m the opposite of those folks who want something they can’t have – if you say I can’t have you, I’d like to say okay before it gets complicated. Anyway I guess the moral of this story is ask me out on one date and I’ll probably go on a second date with you! Why not!
Reneice Charles, Writer
The thing that will make or break the chance for a second date with me is how engaged the person is during the first date. If they’re constantly on the phone, not making attempts to ask questions or keep conversation going, or just depending on me to make the date fun and engaging somehow there won’t be a follow up. It’s not necessarily about people being inattentive jerks cause there are plenty of wonderful people that can’t stay engaged in a one on one situation. Engagement is key.
Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor
If I’m being real with you, I very rarely go on second dates, but I’m very all or nothing – I either know or I emphatically don’t want it. It’s been very rare that a first date raised a red flag high enough that I decided I shouldn’t pursue the terrible situation anyway, which is probably why I’m single now.
Sarah Sarwar, Design & Marketing Director
After the first date I have to be left with that palpable feeling of wanting to know more — like being very intrigued and attracted to the person even after spending the whole evening with them is a v. good sign. Sometimes it’s because we had a really hot makeout and I want to makeout with them some more. Sometimes it’s even about the fact that they’ve suggested another date that sounds fun! Like yes, I’d love to demolish two dozen oysters with you on our next date!
Molly Priddy, Writer
I can usually tell pretty quickly if I want to spend time with someone, because my time is precious to me and I am pretty stingy with how I spend it. The only times I’ve ever been on the fence about a second date was when I have had worries that I could really fall for that person, so maybe I should nip it in the bud while it’s still young and fresh. I AM BAD AT THIS. The influencer for the second date is easy: I want it more than I want to protect myself.
Valerie Anne, Writer
Once I had a really awkward first date and toward the end of it we were so uncomfortable we decided to make out to pass the time and she was a really good kisser so despite being miserable for the first 90% of the date I decided to go on what would then be the worst second date ever. 0/10 stars, do not recommend.
Carrie Wade, Writer
I’ll tell you what didn’t matter a ton: whether we kissed at the end of the first date or not. I wanna talk about that for a second, because I used to use that as the barometer of whether a date was “going well,” and I feel like that’s pretty common. But I’ve since realized that it’s also kind of misguided. I’m a slow burner — in my current relationship and in all others prior — so putting so much pressure on one event (especially any kind of intimate physical contact) doesn’t make sense and isn’t really fair. So if that’s you, too, I just wanna say that you’re fine and there’s nothing weird about that.
Once I stopped building up The Kiss so much, I found that what actually mattered is whether I felt like I had something else to ask them about. If I wanted to keep the conversation going, that meant a second date was worth it. If I had no new questions, I probably wasn’t interested.
Rachel Kincaid, Managing Editor
I had gotten drinks with someone that were totally… fine, and left the bar without strong feelings either way about whether I wanted to see her again. Then on my way home she sent a message saying that she noticed and appreciated “how kind it was” that I had thanked the bartender for letting us close down the bar, and it was such a generous and sincere compliment that I felt renewed enthusiasm for finding out if we were into each other — not just because it made me feel good, although it did, but because it was the kind of compliment that felt revealing of her positive qualities, too. It didn’t end up going anywhere, but we did go on a second date!
I think something as simple as an interested party can really go the distance. This sounds super depressing (for me), but if you’re leaning more yes than no about someone and they’re being very upfront at the end of your first date about wanting to go on another one (in a chill way, not in a threatening way as I’ve just made it sound), that can be very motivating. If it seems like a person can go one way or the other and you’re both like “I mean it was good?” without a lot of follow up then it can be very easy for me to give a T.O.D.
Heather Hogan, Managing Editor
One time at the end of a boring and tedious dinner, the girl left me a haiku on a napkin that said:
A very bad date.
You are so nice, I panicked.
Let’s try one more time?
It didn’t work out, even on that second time, but she was really fun and I thought the haiku was inspired.