How to Turn a Great First Date into a Second One

second date

You’re on a first date, having a great time. You want to see her again. Here are a few ways to help you ensure your first date will lead to a second one.

During the First Date

Anticipate a second.

If you want the date to lead to another one, behave as though it will. Don’t spew every detail of your life in his direction. (Verbal diarrhea is never attractive.) Assume you’ll have another opportunity to share more. Instead, focus your attention on your date, showing a real interest in what makes him tick, and taking a few mental notes for follow-up questions and future date ideas. Ask questions, listen carefully, and respond to his questions honestly and thoughtfully.

Read the room.

If your date seems uncomfortable with the conversation topic, change it. If she makes a motion to leave, don’t hold her hostage by ordering another round of drinks. Try to gauge your date’s interest level as the night progresses. (You can’t force a second date if your date isn’t into you.) And if your date appears to be having a great time, be sure to indicate that you are, too. Don’t send mixed signals and act coy — read: confusing — when you really are excited to be there with her. Tell her that you think she’s great. Offer to split dessert when she says she’s full but doesn’t want to pass up on the tiramisu.

Bring up the future.

No, not your future wedding, but the possibility of spending more time together. If your date laughs at your awful Christopher Walken impression, mention a comedy club in the area that you’d like to check out. If he mentions his favourite food, tell him you’d love to take him to your favourite hole-in-the-wall diner that serves it. And if you both want to see that cool band play at that hip bar next weekend, go ahead and make plans to see it together. There’s no rule that states that you must wait until the end of the date to plan the next one, just don’t force it if it doesn’t happen organically. You don’t want your date to feel trapped or manipulated into seeing you again.

At the End of the First Date

End it.

If you treat the first date as though a second one is inevitable, you’ll be less likely to drag it on too long. It’s better to leave your dinner date wanting more than to drag out the night too long until she can’t wait to escape. End on a high note by going your separate ways while you still have plenty you want to talk about. It’s better to eagerly anticipate the next meeting than to wish your date would stop talking and let you go home.

Show interest.

The end of the date can be awkward. Do you hug? Kiss? Shake hands? Laugh off any awkwardness, and, if you hope to see him again, let him know. If you’re nervous, there’s a good chance your date is, too. If your date suggests dinner next Friday — and you like the idea — don’t hesitate to show enthusiasm for the idea. Apathy is a confidence-killer.

After the First Date

Don’t wait too long to follow up.

The three-day rule is an old, arbitrary one. If you like her, follow up with a quick phone call or text, saying that you had a great time. If you met online, send her a quick email that evening, thanking her for the great conversation and company. And if the two of you made tentative plans to see each other next week, let her know you’re looking forward to it — and will follow up soon to figure out the details.

Remember the details.

An easy way to convey interest is to recall details from the first date. In follow-up conversations, be sure to let your date know that you were listening by asking follow-up questions about his life — Did he figure out what to buy his grandmother for her birthday? — and by suggesting doing something together you know he’s interested in. (If he mentioned he hates seafood, don’t suggest a sushi date. It tells him that you either didn’t pay attention, or don’t care.)

Make concrete plans.

Wishy-washiness is a sure-fire way to kill a relationship before it even begins. If you want to ask her on a second date, do so. Be sure that date has a calendar date, a specific beginning time, and a place where you’ll meet. Vague suggestions are confusing and rarely go anywhere. So instead of suggesting that you “meet up for coffee sometime next week,” suggest meeting for coffee at “that new cafe near the river next Saturday morning.” Make concrete plans. (It’s better to have to reschedule a second date — try not to, but sometimes life happens and it’s unavoidable — than never plan one in the first place.)