If Your Date Hasn't Texted You, Is That A Red Flag? A Dating Expert Weighs In

Picture this: You're on a date. If Nicholas Sparks had been casually observing, he would have been inspired to write a new bestseller about your budding romance. We’re talking about a magical evening, brimming with witty banter that flows without a moment of awkward silence. It all ends with a goodnight kiss that leaves a stupid smile plastered on your face all the way back to your fifth-floor apartment. And yet, your date hasn’t texted you since. What gives? Are they playing hard to get? Did something catastrophic happen that’s prevented them from reaching out? Honestly, you’re crossing your fingers it’s the latter because you truly can’t think of any other valid excuse for why they wouldn’t send you a flirty message. They need to follow up, if they want to get that next date in the books!

If you’ve seen the flick He's Just Not That Into You, you probably remember that cringe-worthy scene where Gigi calls Conor after her first date and leaves an epic, rambling voicemail that oozes desperation. “I just thought that I hadn't heard from you, and I mean, how stupid is it that a girl has to wait for a guy's call anyway, right? Cause we're all equal, right?” she stammers while her two girlfriends grimace in the background. No one wants to be that girl. Still, there’s a fine line between playing games and playing it cool. How long is reasonable to wait for a text? When should you just grow a pair and reach out yourself? And when should you give up on the person, and move on?

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You’ve probably heard of the three-day rule (made popular by the movie Swingers), but not everyone agrees that that’s how long you should wait before texting a date. On average, millennials reach out to their dates within just two days, according to a 2017 Groupon survey. And a whopping 89 percent of single women want to be contacted within 48 hours of a date, Pickupmetrics.com reports. That same survey found that only 6 percent of ladies were on board with the three-day rule.

It’s definitely difficult to know when to worry if a date hasn’t texted you, especially when you have friends weighing in with such conflicting experiences and advice. The fact is, there is no exact science when it comes to knowing when is reasonable to expect a text — it depends on the person’s schedule, obligations, habits, and intentions. However, there are still ways to identify when someone is sending you red flags. I talked to Pricilla Martinez, online life coach at Blush, about how to establish some post-date texting expectations.

According to Martinez, it’s reasonable to expect your date to text within a week, maximum.

“Someone who is really into you will not keep you waiting too long,” she explains. “If they are interested, they will take the necessary steps to see you again. If there were extenuating circumstances, they will eventually reach out and explain what those were. It’s then up to you to decide if you not only believe them but consider their reasons good enough to warrant not taking 10 seconds to send a text.”

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However, there are certain factors to keep in mind if your date has been radio silent. For example, you might want to evaluate your texting habits with this person up until this point. If you two have been chatting back and forth on a daily basis and you haven’t heard from them a few days after your date, that could potentially be a red flag. On the other hand, if your date wasn’t texting you on a daily basis before you met up, then it’s a little more understandable if they haven’t reached out yet. Martinez also advises thinking back to your behavior on the date to assess what kind of vibes you were giving off.

“Think about the cues you gave him or her during your date,” she says. “Was it clear that you were interested? Did you flirt? How did the date end? Usually, when you’re interested in someone these things come effortlessly with little thought. But if you were purposefully aloof in order to play it cool, then you may have sent the message that you weren’t feeling the chemistry.”

If you come to the conclusion that you didn’t make your interest known and you still haven’t heard from your date a few days later, Martinez recommends sending a message to make it more obvious that you’d like to see them again. She also suggests thinking about what you deem to be a valid excuse for not touching base sooner.

“If they can give you an explanation that you find reasonable, then go with your gut feeling,” she adds. “You have to decide for yourself because there really aren’t strict rules when it comes to this. If you aren’t comfortable or interested in taking the lead in this way, then don’t. You have to think about what you want and align your actions accordingly. If you want a person who takes initiative, then you can’t jump that gun. After you’ve made your interest clear, you have to let them do it.”

At a certain point, though, it might be time to move on from a date who left you hanging.

“Don’t feel badly that it didn’t work out, be grateful that they didn’t waste your time,” says Martinez.

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The bottom line? There’s no right or wrong when it comes to the texting time frame after a date. Furthermore, there’s no right or wrong regarding when you should reach out yourself. Don’t be afraid to try and reconnect with a date that you felt a spark with — that way, you can better evaluate whether your crush is into you but super busy or shy, or simply misread your level of interest. It's important to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Who knows? They could be "the one" — and if that's the case, then they're definitely worth a little extra patience.

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