The Three-Day Rule or the Three-Hour Rule?

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December 11, 2012


You go on a first date Tuesday night, and you think it went pretty well. In fact, you’re sure it went pretty well. I mean, why else would your prospective new lover constantly let his or her knee graze yours all night or share your drink as if you’d known each other for more than, oh, 45 minutes? You go home happy. Wednesday morning comes and goes, and by Wednesday around 3 PM, you think the potential new relationship is doomed. It’s been 17.26 hours, and not even a measly text??

The advent of modern technology – texting, Gchat, and e-mail – has completely changed the “three-day rule” into more like a “three-hour rule.” So many relationships end before they even start because no one knows the answer to the simple question: How soon do you follow up after a date?

A survey performed by the company LoveGeist was commissioned by last year, and it found that after a first date on a Saturday evening, most daters will get in touch by 11:48 AM on Monday with a call or text. Thus, 1.52 days is now the average time spent waiting for a follow-up message. The three-day rule is now cut in half! (I don’t, however, recommend a first date on a Saturday night, especially a first online date. A weeknight or Sunday evening date works well, and then if you want to see each other again, you can plan for the coveted Friday or Saturday night slot when you already know you have some chemistry. Remember, sometimes it’s better to be a PSP than a DO.)

In this day and age, we are all basically surgically attached to our phones. I know someone who texted from the hospital bed just minutes after she had a baby, and we all know someone (and that person likely stares at us in the mirror) who checks his or her e-mail every morning on the iPhone before even getting out of bed. When it comes down to it, if you like someone, it’s so easy to get in touch. If you wait the antiquated three days, it’s already a foregone conclusion that you’re probably just not that into the other person.

In most cases, if he’s interested, the man will contact the woman after the date to ask her out again. But I do encourage the woman to send a “thank you text” the day after the date. Why not remind your date of you the next day? Assuming he also had a great time, it’ll put a smile on his face and give him the “nudge” he needs to know that you want to stay in contact with him.

The rules are simple: If you like someone and want to make plans for date #2, then make the contact in a timely fashion. A short and sweet text, e-mail, or call will work. And ladies, if he has the courtesy to ask you out again and you’re not interested, do the kind thing and thank him, using the honest answer that you didn’t feel a spark. Ignoring it will only make a possible future encounter (remember – it’s a small world) that much more awkward.

And there we have it – the three-day rule debunked. Somehow the “1.52-day rule” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Let’s call it the “36-hour rule” and be on our way.

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Are you a PSP or a DO?

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October 11, 2012

If you know me at all, you know I’m a happy person. Like, sunshine and rainbows happy. Lollipops and daffodils happy. Springtime and gumdrops happy. And I’m an eternal optimist, truly believing that the glass is half full (maybe with a nice cabernet?) and that everything happens for a reason. But sometimes, just sometimes, I know that I can’t have too high expectations of people or situations because I may inevitably be disappointed.

Jeremy taught me a lesson very early on in our relationship: It’s better to be a “PSP” than a “DO.” What the heck does that mean? A PSP is a “pleasantly surprised pessimist,” and a DO is a “disappointed optimist.” My first date with Jeremy was on a Friday night. (I generally don’t recommend weekend evenings for a first online date, but it was the only night we both had available that week.) The next day, he e-mailed me to ask when I was free to go out again (yay!), and I suggested the following Tuesday. In his response, he asked if he was getting demoted, going from a Friday to a Tuesday. My response back was that it was actually a promotion – I was giving him two dates in one week! He explained that he was hoping that was the case, but he’d kept his expectations low so as not to be disappointed. The lesson: It doesn’t hurt to go into new situations with no expectations because things can only go up. If you go in thinking that everything will be rosy, you’re setting yourself up to be let down. As optimistic as I am about life, I know that it was an important lesson to learn.

This lesson carries over to many aspects of dating:

  • Signing up for an online dating site for the first time. Remember, finding the love of your life takes time (and work), and Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Going on a first date. While you always hope that each one may be your last first date, just go in looking for great conversation and some things in common.
  • Going to a social event. It’s ok if your future spouse doesn’t sweep you off your feet at the event. Just go to have a good time and meet some new people.
  • Going to a wedding. I know they say weddings are a great place to meet people, and one of my best friends actually moved cross-country to be with a wonderful man she met at a wedding, but it rarely works out that way. If you’re going to a wedding solo, just enjoy the event, stuff your face with hors d’oeuvres, and partake heavily in the open bar if you so choose (but remember that too much may scare away that stud or studette sitting across from you at the singles table).

I’m a firm believer in looking at the bright side of things. But do so with caution: In new situations, I’d rather be a PSP than a DO.

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November 16, 2011

I have an app on my iPhone that tells me the keywords people use to get to my website. When I checked the list of keywords for the last month, the top 10 results (excluding the name of the business) were:

- Text after first date
- Second date ideas
- After first date text
- What to text after first date
- Good second date ideas
- The reasons for a bad date
- Second date protocol
- When to text after first date
- Texting after second date
- After a date who texts first

Notice any trends? I realized that if so many people are typing the words into the little Google box, it was worth an article discussing the etiquette of texting, or textiquette, as it shall now be named. (I thought I was clever for coining that term, but it appears that Urban Dictionary beat me to the punch. Foiled!)

In general, I love a good text. It’s nice to wake up to a “Good morning” or get a thoughtful “Thinking about you :)” in the middle of the day. But where do you draw the line between cute and inappropriate?

The first, and my favorite, use of the text in the early stages of dating is the “thank you” text. If you had a good time on a first date and want to see this person again, send a text either later that night or the next day saying something to the effect of, “Thanks again for a fun time last night!” What are other variations of this, you may ask? The flirty thanks: “Thanks again for a great time last night. Too bad we had to go to work today. ;)” The suggesting-the-second-date thanks: “Thanks again for a great time last night. Next time the ice cream’s on me. :)” Especially for women, if a guy paid for the date (and on the first date, he should – blog post on this to come later), he’ll appreciate another thank you, either over text or e-mail. The “thank you” text advice goes for both men and women – why not remind your date of you the next day? Assuming your date had a great time too, it’ll put a smile on his or her face.

Some other appropriate ways to use texts:
- Middle of the day flirt
- Good morning/Good night/Can’t wait to see you
- One random, funny thing
- Running late/parking

And the inappropriate ways to use texts:
- Canceling a date (Never do this. If you have the phone number, have the courtesy to call.)
- Having a conversation (It’s too much for a text.)
- Asking someone out (In order of preference, it’s phone, then e-mail, then text.)
- Breaking up with someone (This is such a no-no, I don’t even want to discuss it; although, for Sex and the City fans, I guess it’s better than a Post-it note.)

And that does it. Happy texting!

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