We like to pretend romance is easy; that if it’s meant to be, things will just click. This belies the reality that we have plenty of opportunities to miscommunicate and get it wrong, even if someone is right for us. With that said, let’s discuss some general tips for how to get that second date.
1. Build Rapport Before You Meet
Nothing is more awkward than sitting across from someone you have a huge crush on, with absolutely nothing to talk about. So, before you meet your date for the first time, get to know each other beyond a few days worth of messages. You could even (gasp) have a few phone or zoom calls. Chatting with your intended date beforehand is a great way to build anticipation, and ensure you’ll have loads to talk about.
2. Put Their Comfort First
A second date will be more likely if your date felt like you took their preferences into account the first time around. This is actually quite easy. Simply avoid pressuring them into doing something they don’t want to do. Check their body language and voice tone throughout the date. If you ever sense something isn’t right, it’s OK to check in. Voice something to the effect of: “I’m having a great time, but if you’re feeling tired I’d be happy to call you a car,” or “I’m getting the sense you’re not digging this, but I’d still love to keep talking. Want to go somewhere else?” These sentiments show your date you care more about their comfort than just having a good time. There is nothing more enticing than that.
3. Put Your Phone Away
In some cultures, slurping soup is considered impolite. In others, the thumbs up gesture is impolite. But one rare thing we have agreed on across the globe is that checking your phone while someone is talking to you is really, really (really) impolite. Some may think constantly checking your phone can make you appear important; a signal that you’re a person relied on by others at all hours. Instead, It usually comes off as inconsiderate (at best), and arrogant (at worst). Put your phone on silent, and commit to the time you’ve given yourself to get to know the human across from you.
4. Ask Them About Themselves and Their Interests
Good conversation doesn’t have to be as complicated as some people make it out to be. Yes, some of us are naturally more reserved. Others are beaming extroverts who could charm a snake into walking on two legs. If you know you tend to be shy when meeting new people face to face, consider having two or three conversation topics at the ready, to get things flowing.
5. And Listen to What They Have to Say
Asking your date questions about themselves isn’t just to show you’re a kind and thoughtful person. You probably want to actually hear what they have to say. They could be giving away red (or green) flags that will help you determine if you even want a second date. Another good conversation rule is that when they ask a question, always ask one back. If you have been accused in the past of being loquacious, do your best to ensure you aren’t talking over your date. Lambasting someone with facts about yourself is actually not the best way for them to get to know you. People can only hear what they are open to listening to.
6. Leave Your Baggage at Home
Nothing — I repeat, nothing — kills a first date faster than someone complaining about their ex (well, OK, if a spaceship falls out of the sky and crashes into your car, that might be worse, but let’s work with reality). A modest confession of nerves can be relatable, but spending an hour outlining everything your ex, your boss, or your last landlord did wrong, is the perfect way to ensure you will not be going on a second date. We all have had wrong done to us, and areas of our lives where things are messy. But don’t turn your date into an unwitting therapist. This is not an experience they will want to repeat.
7. Leave the Flowers at Home, Too
Bringing flowers or gifts to a first date is overkill in 2023. To get that second date, find the line between showing you care, and coming off as desperate. Planning a day trip to the Disney museum based on your date’s Disney interests is a great idea. Bringing them in a carriage is not. If you want to lavish your date, simply pay them some thoughtful compliments.
8. Focus on What You Have in Common
While on the first date, when you both connect over a shared passion (work, politics, the proper way to wax a surfboard, whatever), fan that spark. You’ll both leave with a shared sense that the other person understands you better, and that there’s more joy to discover on that second date.
9. Consider Avoiding Sex
Admittedly, this is a more controversial take. But if you are interested in seeing someone again, it may be worth leaving some things to the imagination. Studies show couples who waited a bit before having sex, tended to have happier relationships. Delaying sex also builds powerful anticipation for future dates, and prevents you from the rapid thrill-and-chill of a one night stand. It also keeps you focused on getting to know each other’s personalities, rather than, ah, other fun parts.
10. If You Want to See Them Again, Say So.
What we say to our date, and when we say it once the date comes to an end, is a topic with a dizzying number of opinions. This is one case where simple is better. If you had a good time, say so. If you want to see them again, say so. There’s absolutely no point in being coy. And if they don’t seem to be repeating those sentiments back to you, then you just saved yourself a whole bunch of time.
11. Don’t Wait Too Long to Send a Follow Up
The three day rule is dead. If you enjoyed your date, there is nothing wrong with texting the next day. Keep it short and sweet. Brevity helps you come off as confident and sincere, without being overeager. Mention a joke or conversation point that came up on the first date and say you’re looking forward to getting together again soon.
12. Plan The Second Date Based on Something They Told You
If during your first meeting, your date mentioned they love the outdoors, consider inviting them out on a hike. If they mentioned a taste for scotch, schedule a tasting. It will show you’ve been paying attention to what your date says about themselves.
13. Ensure the Second Date is Different From Your First Date
People can change a lot based on different environments. Consider planning your second date in a different area, time of day, or activity from your first date. For example, if you first met for coffee, try an evening night at a museum. If your first date was at a festival or concert, consider planning a quiet dinner. It’s important to see how people react in different environments, and no better time like the present to figure it out. This way, you can better know if you want to aim for date number three, and beyond.