10 Queers on What’s Made Them Go for the Second Date

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!

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, Former 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!

Erin , Writer

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, Senior Writer + 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.

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  1. my best second date was the one where i realized that on our first date, we had spent so much time making dumb jokes and laughing and having fun and making out that i didn’t actually know anything about her. so i had to go on a second one to find out more! (the second date was even better. we’re married now.)

  2. i don’t remember when i wrote this but it’s worth noting i am no longer single because my person was such a good texter that we planned a first date before our first date, thus making our first date a second date. be a good texter. bye.

  3. ERIN so relatable I don’t wanna die and say “I mean it was good????” but it’s taken so long to accept that and start going on fewer second dates! Also Carrie I 100% agree and am glad you’re sharing your important take on The Kiss.

  4. At the moment my criteria for going on a First date with someone is that they are so amazing I have already fallen in love with them and decided I want to make room in my busy life for them, so if they get to a first date stage a second date is highly likely.

  5. One time I ended a first date by running across the street to my car without any physical contact. I immediately texted her, “And the awkwardness award goes to…”

    Even though I was awkward, she agreed to a second date. Now she’s my wife and we’ve been together for almost eight years.

    I’ve never stopped being awkward. She’s never stopped agreeing to give me a second chance.

  6. Aside from glaring red flags, I think the most important factor for me is if they made me laugh or not.

  7. I usually gain a vibe Within a few minutes of having a conversation with any new people I meet. If they suck as a human being or they hit on any of my hard stops, they’re done.

    But generally for me if they are still breathing at the end of our date they get a second date.

  8. Molly, I was in the middle of eating when I read “I want it more than I want to protect myself” and I just froze mid-chew. It seems like such a simple line but I had never thought about it like that before and boy, do I *feel* it.

  9. Riffing off the first comment, the thing that makes me want to see someone again – in any context, getting to know someone for friendship or possibly more – is if we make each other laugh.

    It means a lot of things. The most obvious being that we have an overlapping sense of humour. But it also generally means we have a similar world-view to a significant degree – I don’t laugh at racist or homophobic or mean-spirited jokes. Depending on the joke, we probably share some cultural touchstones. Intellectually, you’re probably in the same ballpark. And if you know when and when NOT to make jokes, you have developed a compatible degree of social awareness (mine is hard-earned, and an ongoing mission, so I appreciate it in others).

    I don’t want someone to be a laugh-a-minute – I’ve definitely been guilty of the cracking jokes as a defence thing myself. And we don’t all have to like exactly the same stuff – I will generally watch a Leslie Nielsen movie if it comes on and I will never, ever get why Borat is supposed to be funny. (One of my best friends loves Borat, but fortunately we have plenty of other stuff we laugh about.) But if one or the other of us hasn’t genuinely laughed AT ALL when hanging out one-on-one, it’s really never going to work.

    The other part (in common with lots of people) is being really judgey about how you treat strangers, like wait staff and the so on. I am a grumpy arsehole sometimes, but I still manage to say please and thank you and “could you please take the steak to the kitchen and have it cooked a little more; my friend ordered a medium, not a medium-rare” rather than “what the f#*% do you call this raw piece of s%*# – take it back and do it properly” (as I encountered during one memorable meal, which was never repeated).

  10. I’m generally very liberal with second dates, because I have a very high bar for first dates, and if we’ve texted for a month and you’ve charmed me or whatever and I want to meet once, then I probably like you enough to invest some more time. BUT I noticed recently, from a first date that went fine-but-not-great, that what I need in order to be excited about something is to feel like I’m interesting and desirable when I’m with you.

    I want to laugh and be interested in you, definitely, but if I feel like you’re funny and cool and I’m not, I know something didn’t go well there. My best dates have been where I thought, “wow, this person is so cool and funny! And wow, I’m also so cool and funny!”

  11. I’ve been on some bad first dates, and somehow admitting that they were bad to each other made them better. I knew each time that we shouldn’t try for a second, but at least the experience wasn’t totally negative after we recognized that we had the not enjoying it part in common.

    One good date I had was bad in a super awkward way until we were nearly at her bus stop. We were crossing the road, and somehow both said that we liked each other at the same time. After that we spent over an hour sitting and talking at the bus stop, ignoring the buses that kept pulling up, before she eventually forced herself to leave. We ended up dating for over a year. I guess being open about liking someone helps.

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