Welcome back for the third and final of our First Date series as the overall Dating 911! Series continues. When we last left you over a week ago destitute, not sure which way to turn. Just sure your dating life would be a complete wreck. We told you we were going to continue on with our discussion about dating and how one goes about doing it nowadays. We are glad you are back. But if you were coming back for anything other than insane answers to dating, you might have come to the wrong place. Just so long as you are good at failing together, you may be in the right place. It’s Dating 911! The first date dilemma part 3: the post-date execution.
We spent a good deal of time covering the pre-date, which I do not feel the need to get into the details of at this moment. But a good summary of the pre-date is this: communicate what you can to the person you want to date about your expectations and desires beforehand. The more you can communicate those expectations, the easier it will be for the person to fulfill them or make the two of you realize dating might not be such a good idea after all. Just a caution in general, the more you tease a guy before a date, the less likely he will be able to pay attention to your expectations. So as much as I love teasing, you might want to save that for a bit later.
The Dreaded Actual Date
This, of course, brings us to the actual date where you see a person sitting across from you. The part where just the thought makes your hands begin to sweat and consider getting one of those glandular replacements where you don’t have to deal with sweating anymore. It’s looking at a person, eye to eye. Of course, hopefully, you have talked about certain things beforehand . . . like the greeting. Because the easy thing to do is to follow what the other person expressed as expectations prior to coming into the date. But beyond the greeting, anything can follow. Which is why it’s good to be aware of the pitfalls which may come up. And they will come up
I’m sure you have had a date which seemed to be going so well and then all of a sudden it took a left turn. What did you do? Did you say something which scared them off? Did you have a piece of food stuck in your teeth and they were too embarrassed to tell you? Or did you laugh too hard and that little piece of spittle find its way into your date’s drink and they are a germaphobe? It’s possible it’s all the above. But we doubt it. And some things are entirely beyond your control. (Obviously the piece of spittle isn’t making its way back into your mouth. But not laughing at a date is not an option either.) So, we want to focus on the things here you can control.
The Post Date
While you have dealt with so much up to this point, between preparing for the date, and the actual date itself, the keys to success in dating are as much about the post date as they do with the other two. You can have had the most amazing time in the world with someone, and then fail it all in the hours after the first date. There are mines to cross and pitfalls to watch out for. And very little of it has to do with how long it is before you contact the person. It’s subtle and dangerous. At the same time, it makes all the difference if you want to translate a successful date into a successful future.
With that in mind, it’s time to tackle this crazy post-date dating world. Pitfalls. Crazies. And how one handles one’s self in the midst of it all without losing one’s mind or deal with the possibility of “catching feelings” for someone who won’t share them with you. It’s Dating 911! The First Date Dilemma Part 3: The Execution.
Dating 911! The First Date Dilemma Part 3: The Post-Date Execution
When I thought about this section, coming up with a list of seven things to do or respond to wasn’t quite as easy as you would imagine. Because so much depends on what you thought of the person you went out on a date with. Some people you go on dates with are “absolute nos” post-date. You know this; and, if you are confident enough, you might be able to express this to the person post-date. Most people don’t like to do this for a variety of reasons. Whether they are reasonable or not, I am not going to get into on this post. What I am interested in is how you can handle the nos in an effective manner.
Then there are the maybes. Now some people do not have maybes. And for those people, you can skip the maybe part. But for the vast majority of people, maybe comprises most of your list. In fact, one might argue if you have yes people you are looking for something other than a relationship. But for those maybe people, you will handle them different than no. And you will handle them differently than you will a yes person. It’s a fine line one must walk with the maybe people.
Then there are the yes people. You know you want more with this person. You seem to have a spark with them. But even with these people, there are dangers lying in the woods. Not least of all because they might not feel the same way you do. So even for these people there are very specific ways of handling them. So let’s get into the weeds of this post-date ritual which makes one feel like one is walking a plank, and not having the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
What Do You Tell The Post-Date Nos?
The “Scientific” Explanation –
I’m not fond of this one. Mostly it goes like this. Chemistry or Pheromones were not there. And you just didn’t feel it. So as a result, it’s not going to work out for you. Here’s the problem. Everyone knows it’s bogus. Not in the sense you don’t feel more connected to some people than to others. The person you date will know that.
The problem is Chemistry is impacted by everything. I mean everything. Are you feeling a little under the weather? Do you have a headache? Did you get in an argument with the boss that day? Were your kids giving you all kinds of problems? Or possibly did you have an amazing day? Get a raise from your boss? Have an amazing rehearsal with the band you are in? Does the person remind you of your ex? Whether positively or negatively, everything impacts how you feel going into the date you have.
If everything impacts chemistry, including things for which the other person has no control, what does chemistry actually mean? Ultimately, chemistry means nothing if everything can impact it. So you might as well tell them the magic fairies from the land of Neverland came and whispered in your ear they were not the right person for you. Because it will have as much meaning to them as magic fairies.
On the other hand, after a long conversation with someone who I never quite dated, they informed me chemistry was something bland someone could refer to when they didn’t want to say something else. If you are ok with this explanation and hope it gets you out of the situation, this works. But if you prefer the truth to fairy tales, and hope to be told the truth someday, think about it when you talk about Chemistry.
Tell Them Specifically What You Did Not Appreciate –
Don’t get me wrong. As a person who doesn’t like bad news, I know no one will love hearing why you didn’t feel it would work. And some nice guy might try to change for you, which might make you feel uncomfortable. But maybe you telling them what needed to change was just the kick in the pants they needed to find the right person for them. And if they don’t try to change, it may just be the shock they need to realize it wasn’t going to work either. And it’s always possible they knew deep down they weren’t feeling it either.
When Do You Tell The Post-Date Nos?
First, and most obviously, you have to figure out how you are going to handle letting the person know that they are a no post-date. Obviously much will depend on whether you are the man or woman who isn’t interested. But all of you should want to show respect to the person you are telling no. Not least of which because when you are someone else’s no, you will want to receive the same courtesy. So how does one go about telling the person you are not interested?
Ghosting Or The Slow Fade –
Mostly, I would say avoid these methods of telling someone else you aren’t interested. Because many people use Ghosting and they don’t always use it for the same reasons. Some people are cheating. Some are afraid. And some just don’t want to hurt you. I think it’s important to know why it didn’t work. But I do feel like there is a reason to use this method. If the person became too aggressive or physical throughout the date, ghosting might be an appropriate method of dealing with this person. Short of that, Ghosting might cause more problems than you would wish and might turn someone who might have been able to handle it not working out into someone who might become an enemy down the road. And you don’t want to create an unnecessary enemy.
Telling Them At The End Of The Date –
This is probably something easier for guys than girls. But us guys have all seen Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct. We know anything is possible. So we might think twice about any woman who is showing crazy instincts or seems too vested in a relationship too quickly. Either way, it might be difficult. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable enough to tell them no post-date, getting it done more quickly eliminates future conversations and hardship. You may still “ghost” them at that point but it’s really not ghosting when you have told the person there is no interest. Now it’s just protecting yourself.
Regardless, one should think about trying to tell the person by the end of the date if one can do this kind of thing face to face. It really does help end things more quickly. And who knows? Maybe they handle it better than you think they would. Think about what you would want. You really would want the courtesy of being told upfront if things weren’t working. It may hurt when it happens. But you would get over it more quickly. So will they.
Inform Them As Quickly As Possible Afterword –
Phone if you can. Text if you must. But texting an “I’m not interested” note is equivalent to a ghost from my perspective. It says you feel like they are less of a person. Besides, while someone may read positive things into a text before a date when you tell them you are uninterested they read other things you might not mean afterward. Like I said. Best not to make any enemies if you can. Regardless of whether you text or call though, do it quickly. Letting it drag on makes it feel more like a slow fade or a ghost instead of the alternative. And waiting won’t make what you have to say any easier. So rip that bandaid off.
How Do You Handle The Post-Date Person Who Is A Maybe?
Leave The Situation Open-Ended Post-Date –
Obviously, you have to leave the situation with the possibility of having another date. Because you have not decided this person is no. They could turn into a yes. Hence, making sure you leave open the possibility for a second date is extremely important. You should do this on the date itself. Let them know you would be interested in a possible second date.
Contact Them When You Get Home –
There is a reticence to contacting a person as soon as you get home. And I’m sure one or two of the people I dated went crazy when I contacted them right after the date. There is one issue. If you only wait until a few days to call or text the person you dated (with the speed at which dating seems to go now), they will assume you are uninterested. It’s not their fault dating has turned into what it’s turned into. Contacting them when you get home post-date says you had a good time and you should plan for something later will do the trick.
Contact Them Again Soon . . . But Not Too Soon –
Here is the dangerous part. It’s not so much if the other person is a maybe. There, all you are doing is observing to see whether you think it would work. The problem comes when you are maybe. It’s a question of not seeming too eager. Because eager in the dating world comes off as desperate. As you don’t know what you are, better not seem too eager. Let things play slowly. You are playing the long game anyway. The long game doesn’t work if you use up all your energy early on. Because you won’t be able to fake energy forever. The person will have to turn into a yes before you will have the energy to deal with any difficulty. So play it slow. Your next contact should come later.
Don’t Get Specific –
This person was a maybe, not a yes. This was for a reason. You decided it could go somewhere. You just were not sure yet. So this means you need more time. More conversations. More proof of interest via text. If they start to slowly fade, it’s not a big deal. They weren’t a yes anyway. If they act in a way that’s pushy or untoward, you hadn’t decided for sure anyway. So what you are really seeking is time to prove there might be something more. Being specific shortens the time. Hence, don’t get specific.
Contact Them Soon . . . But Not Too Soon –
Here is the dangerous part. It’s not so much if the other person is a maybe. There, all you are doing is observing to see whether you think it would work. The problem comes when you are maybe. It’s a question of not seeming too eager. Because eager in the dating world comes off as desperate. As you don’t know what you are, better not seem too eager. Let things play slowly. You are playing the long game anyway. The long game doesn’t work if you use up all your energy early on. Because you won’t be able to fake energy forever. The person will have to turn into a yes before you will have the energy to deal with any difficulty. So play the post-date slow.
Don’t Take Too Long To Make Up Your Mind –
If you thought maybe but had concerns, don’t take to long to work through them. You don’t want to have your time wasted. Neither do they. Best to make a decision as quickly as you can about everything. They will not be happy if the answer is no. But they will understand better than if you take a long time.
Don’t Wait Too Long For A Second Date –
If you do not move onto a second date fast enough, they will start to think they are getting played. So speak up about a second date within a week or two. Make plans. If you don’t, they might assume a slow fade or something else. Or it’s possible they lose interest. When you are dating online, you talk to many different people. No one will wait forever. There are other people out there. So do what you can to make the wait not that long.
What To Do With The Yes People?
Contact Them When You Get Home –
Listen. If you are a yes, and the other person is a maybe, the relationship probably won’t work out. This isn’t because of the fact you are ill partnered. You could turn into the greatest relationship ever. But! There comes a problem with power dynamics. When one person has too much power as a result of not being as invested in the relationship, things will go poorly. Because of this power imbalance, it appears the yes person is desperate, even if they aren’t. It’s just about investment. And like it or not, both partners need to be equally invested for a relationship to work long term. It’s not a male thing or a female thing. It’s being a human being. When one person wants it more, it almost always dooms the relationship to failure.
Why contact right away then? Here are my two cents, for what it’s worth. If the two of you are meant to be, you will both be equally invested. You will both be yes for each other. No person who believes their dating partner is a yes will be upset they have been contacted. No matter how soon you contact them. It can be on the way out the door or in the car on the way home. They will be excited to hear from you. So just do it. You know you want to.
Make Plans For A New Date Right Away –
While you don’t want to pressure the other person. They have a life. And if they are like me, they have kids they have to plan around. You may already know that about them. But if you are a yes and they are a yes, they will look at their immediate schedule and plan something right away. It gets the train moving and into real dating territory. (Second dates are a whole other post.) If this person is as exciting as they seem, you will want to move along into other phases of dating with them.
Do Not Overly Alter Your Communication –
This is where most promising relationships fail early on. Here’s the tricky part. Assume you are both yes for each other. You both know you like the other person. You cannot now assume you can wait long periods of time between each text or phone call. If you alter how you have been communicating, the other person will think things have changed. Interest may wane. Or, they assume even if you plan a date, the change in your conversation means your feelings have changed. So don’t do it.
I do leave a caveat. If there were a preplanned trip or excursion, you shouldn’t be upset if the other person can’t talk. And they shouldn’t be so desperate that they are upset because you let them know things would be difficult. I get it. Communication early on in a relationship is critical. But when you have communicated to each other the difficulty of conversation because of a pre-planned trip, this shouldn’t matter. Although expect them to be going crazy to talk to you when you get back from your planned trip. So call them right away and let them know you were thinking of them. You won’t be sorry for how that turns out.
Wrapping Up Dating 911! The First Date Dilemma Part 3: The Post-Date Execution
It’s crazy! But so much of the success of a first date comes down to the continued communication after the first date happens. It’s the little bits of conversation one has, or the interest which continues to be expressed or somehow falters. What you really have to remember is this is so early in the dating process. You think the first date means so much. And it does. But the success of this date leading to other good dates and a possible relationship will happen with the days and weeks that follow. You cannot feel happy about a successful first date and then rest on your laurels. Doing the post-date right is essential. You have to remember you are still being judged, albeit a bit differently.
Thank you for finishing up our First Date Series with the Post-Date in our larger Dating 911! Series at the Guide. We will have an addendum post to these three about Second Dates very soon. With our changing dating world, the second date has taken on outsized importance. As such, we at the Guide felt it necessary to have a whole separate post on the second date. We hope you will return for that and for other Dating 911! posts in the near future.
Continue The Post-Date Conversation
Have you ever had a date you thought went well but seemed to fall apart after the first date? What happened? Why do you think it happened? What would you have done differently? What do you think about ghosting? Is it acceptable at all? Under certain circumstances? What circumstances would you think it’s ok to ghost someone?
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If you liked this post and feel like you learned something, I might suggest a therapist. Ok. Maybe not a therapist. I really do hope everyone can learn something from this Dating 911! post. Even myself. As such, if you liked this post, click the like button. And leave us a note in the comments. Share with some of your other dating friends. And finally, follow us here at the guide to get the best dating, single parent, parenting, Southern California, movie review, food history, comedy, and lifestyle posts. Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, The Single Dad’s Guide to Life