How long should I wait to follow up after a date?

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This question comes from one of the readers of a blog I love, and have been feature on, ToiTime. Toi focuses on giving ladies real life advice and received a question from a guy who she thought I could help out.

Toi’s reader asks:

After a date what is the length of time that a person should respond back?


Demetrius says:

This is one of those questions that’s easier to answer on the extreme ends, but once you get to the less extreme ends, there isn’t really a hard and fast rule.

First let’s talk about how long you shouldn’t wait to respond back. If you go on a date with someone and you enjoy said date, if you wait a week to get back to them, congratulations, you played yourself. We all get busy for sure, but there is no way that any person who has dating options (and if you’re dating straight women, trust me, they have WAY MORE OPTIONS THAN YOU THINK) will think that the date went well if you wait 7 whole days to get back to them. Anything after 7 days gets to the point where all the goodwill you may have built up on that great date has been inverted to a negative. What could have been a positive momentum building opportunity will turn into a very serious negative that may be hard to overcome. If you go on a mediocre date and take 5 days to get back to them, eh, whatever, they’ll probably brush that off as you being very busy. But if you go on a good date, so good that they tell their friends about how excited they are about where things could go, and then they don’t hear back from you until after 7 days or more, that becomes your identity. You’re the guy who waits a week to get back to them, which is generally not a good position to be in.

Dating is a momentum game, not a linear sequence of events. Having 5 great dates is generally a good thing, but if those dates are spread out over 5 months, you’ll never build the same goodwill as the guy who has 5 good dates over 5 weeks with them. The longer you wait to follow-up on a good date, the longer it will take to plan another date, and the longer it will take for you to connect on anything other than a surface level. If I’m being honest here, I’ve never EVER been a fan of the 3 day rule. I don’t think it’s even really a thing anymore, but I’m old enough to remember when it was *THE* go to dating reference in pop culture so it’s worth mentioning. I’ve always been a big believer in the day/night of a date follow-up, then circling back to them the next day to see when they’ll be free. If I’m spacing out my dates, I try to suggest a second date that’s around 5 to 7 days after our last date, or sooner if her schedule is a bit crazy. If I can either see her 2 or 3 days after a first date or wait two weeks for a second date, you better believe I’ll jump at a date in 2 days.

Maybe you aren’t like me, and want to play it a bit cooler. In that case, here’s a simple way to figure out which response time works best for you by what the time delay conveys:

  • within 1 day – You’re very enthusiastic about seeing them again
  • 2 days – You’d like to see them again, but don’t want to rush things
  • 3 days – You want another date, but want to come off as “cool”
  • 4 days – You are aloof
  • 5 days – You are busy, but still interested
  • 6 days – You’re kind of interested but they’re low on your priority list
  • 7 days or more – You weren’t that interested and you’re circling back as a last-ditch effort

How long you take to reply depends on what you want to convey. I find that for women in NYC, when you’re a guy who shows that he’s enthusiastic about seeing them again, you come off as the opposite of a “fuckboy”. If a girl is interested in another date, it usually earns me a ton of points. That might have a lot to do with my age, or the type of women I date, but it works for me. There’s nothing inherently wrong with taking a longer time to respond, you don’t have to date exactly like me,  just be aware that the longer you wait, the lower your odds of getting a response become. You didn’t ask but I’ll extend the question to not just post date, but responding in general. Those response times and their implications translate pretty well to responding to texts, or messages on dating apps. So just bear in mind what your action, inaction, and how long you take for each will imply each step of the way.

Whatever you decide, remember, it’s “Fortune favors the bold” and not “Fortune favors the guy who pussyfooted”.

Good Luck Out There.

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