How Long Should You Wait To Text Back After A First Date? An Expert Explains

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I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no idea how long to wait to text after a first date until a few months ago. Before then, I'd only ever been on dates with people I was already on friendly terms with so it felt natural to keep the text conversation going soon after the date. It wasn't something I even thought about.

But about 30 minutes after getting home from my first date with a practical stranger — we matched on Tinder a few days before our date — I wondered what came next. Admittedly, I had a really great time. He was funny and interesting (although noticeably shy, which explains how little we texted leading up to the date) so I wasn't opposed to seeing him again.

"Should I text him to say I had fun?" I thought. "Is it too soon? Is that weird? OMG, how do people this?" I could feel myself self-destructing as my mind raced through 100 different ways I would inevitably make a fool of myself. Turns out, this is way more effective than counting sheep to will yourself to sleep.

To my surprise, I woke up the next day to a simple but sweet text from my date that really made me question, well... everything. I mean, if I couldn't come up with a quick, "Hey, last night was fun. We should check out that coffee place you mentioned next week if you're not busy," (like he did), then what was I doing in my day job as a dating writer?

The truth is, it's OK to have post-date jitters, even if you write about dating for a living. I spoke with relationship expert and life coach Diana Dorell about the best ways to follow up via text after a date and here's what she had to say.

It's not too soon to text them a few hours after the date, but only if you say this.

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Fortunately, Dorell confirms that it wouldn't have been too forward to send my date a quick text that night thanking him for his company. She says, "A simple, 'I had a great time! Thank you for dinner,' can be really effective the same night or the next morning," because it shows that you appreciate the time you spent together. It's more about being courteous than it is about flirting at that point. She adds, though, "Beyond that, wait until at least the morning after. You want to leave a little mystery and allow someone time to miss you!"

Don't let a week go by without saying anything if you want to see them again.

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Still think the night of or day after is too eager? That's OK. Maybe you're not one to talk much via text (text neck is a real thing) or maybe you're just crazy busy with classes right now. Either way, you could stand to wait a few days but, Dorell says, no longer than a week. She explains, "If you want to see someone again, text within a week otherwise they could misconstrue your silence as disinterest." I'd definitely think someone who did this to me was ghosting me. Instead, after thanking them for a great date a few days later, mention that you'd love to see them again so they know exactly where your mind's at.

You shouldn't panic if you don't hear back from them right away.

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Now that you've mustered up the courage to text them after your date, do you... just wait? Ugh, this is truly the worst part. I know from experience that it's hard not to freak out when someone you like doesn't text you back. From ghosting to zombieing and now orbiting, I'm constantly paranoid of falling victim to some horrible dating trend aptly named after my nightmares. But an unanswered text doesn't always mean bad news. Dorell says, "Would you be concerned that a friend didn't text you after one day if you knew your message wasn't serious? Relax! Focus on you. If you're meant to connect, you will."

So far, you've done everything right. You went on the date, you thanked them for the fun you had, and you followed up with them about a second encounter. If they go radio silent on you now, it's time to line up another first date — with someone else.