When to call after your first date

Should you be reaching for the receiver, or dialling back your enthusiasm?

Hold the phone! Are you telling me that the age-old ‘three-day rule’ might not ring true? That the way to land date number two might not be to keep your phone locked for 72 hours and blank the girl of your dreams? Well, colour us confused. If it’s such bad advice, then why is it so entrenched in etiquette, blindly followed by old-school daters and Tinder operators alike?

The answer: it’s easy. The early days of dating are difficult to navigate – perilous and unpredictably murky waters where even the smallest of wrong moves threaten to sink your chances. And a ‘three-day rule’ is a tried-and-tested map to safety. But, even if counting down the hours until you drop your date a line is the accepted norm, why would you want to play it safe?

"If it’s such bad advice, then why is it so entrenched in etiquette, blindly followed by old-school daters and Tinder operators alike?"

In dating, especially the early days, you should aim for the unpredictable. This way, you’ll keep things exciting, interesting and, most importantly, memorable. You can’t stand out from the crowd if you go with the flow, so use your digits to tap in hers and break the tamest, lamest dating rule there is.

That said, let’s not get carried away. We’ve still got a couple of helpful pointers to ensure you don’t get knocked out as soon as you jump into the ringing ring.

When should you ring after a first date?

The question of the hour. We’d always recommend, in these days when messaging trumps phonecalls, that you WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, or even Tinder Chat your date the same evening of the date – unless, of course, things have gone inordinately well…

This way, you can let her know that you had a good time, ensure she got home safely and leave the door open for a second date. But, whatever you do, do not call the same evening. You’ve likely exhausted any first-date conversation topics during the course of the evening, so ringing her to continue the chat immediately after you’ve parted ways will seem about as cute as following her home. Not very.

Instead, wait to actually call her. There isn’t a magic formula to work out when is the perfect moment, but it should correspond to how successful your date was. If you riffed off one another all night, clicked as a couple immediately and spent more time laughing together than awkwardly making conversation, a brief chat the following day won’t go amiss.

"Ringing her to continue the chat immediately after you’ve parted ways will seem about as cute as following her home..."

But, if the date was a little disastrous – we’re talking accidentally spilling your starter on her, inadvertently insulting her interests or calling her by the wrong name – we’d give it a day or two. In these instances, the ‘three-day rule’ actually applies. It gives enough time for the soup stains to dry and your indiscretions to fade from her mind, but doesn’t wait so long that she forgets your face, or name, or both.

Simply put, gauge it yourself. If you had a good time, and know she did too, don’t hesitate. Tell her you did, and organise a second date. If it was awkward, but you’d still like to see her again, hold off for a couple of days and then test those murky waters once more.

But, whatever you do, don’t wait longer than five days. And god forbid if you wait over a week. The rules may not be hard and fast, but there is a timer on this particular task – so leave it too long and your chances will be well and truly cooked.

How should you approach the first call after a date?

This is slightly trickier. Conversation can be awkward when you’re not actually speaking face-to-face – and even more so when you’ve only met in person once. So, whether you’ve left it 24 hours or the established 72, the key here is to act cool. Don’t put too much pressure on the conversation, don’t get too heavy, and don’t panic if she’s not in stitches or fawning over you a minute into the call.

Ideally, you’ll have managed to strike up a common interest or inside joke on your first date – be it a shared interest in stamp collecting or a mutual hatred of olives – that you can subtly slip into conversation to remind her how much fun your initial meet-up was. If not, still mention how much fun you had earlier in the week, and how you’d love to see her again. Come up with a couple of next date suggestions to drop into conversation casually, or suggest an idea she expressed interest in on your first date.

"Whether you’ve left it 24 hours - or the established 72 - the key here is to act cool..."

Again, no perfect formula, but where would be the fun in that? Do the second date dance and – if you’re proficient enough – you’ll be granted with another attempt. Don’t exceed more than five minutes on the phone, try not to accidentally hang up with your cheek mid-call, and ring her somewhere quiet – sirens or drunk shouting in the background won’t give off the best vibe.

But, over all, ask yourself: Should I be calling? Even the most blindly optimistic dater can tell, if they really think, whether or not the first date went well enough for a second. So take stock and make sure you’re going to get a positive response before you call – because there is nothing worse than being shot down, skirted around or – worst of all – hung up on mid-call. Ouch.

Next, learn when you should give a woman your jacket…

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