BETH RIESGRAF, from Ron Howard’s 68 Whiskey. She has written, directed & starred in two award-winning short films, A Standard Story and Mail companion, and will soon reprise her role of Parker on Amazon’s Leverage reboot—for which she also directed several episodes. This summer, she makes her feature film directorial debut with The Slog After the Bow.
What are your thoughts on how to approach somebody after a first date? Is texting the same day to ask if she arrived home safely and tell her I had a great time too soon? – R.K.
To text, or not to text… that is the (very fair) question.
We’ve all been there. Checking-in after a first date can be a tricky thing to navigate. Most of us have our own set of rules and ideas about how the follow-up is supposed to go. What, when, and how we expect to get it—but rarely do we actually communicate about any of it. So unless you’re telepathic, you have to use your best guess and try to be authentically you, without trying too hard.
So, start with the basics. Being a gentleman is never a bad thing. Telling your date that you had a great time, the same day as the date, can show that you’re willing to communicate without playing games and that’s not only charming—it’s mature.
I once had a guy initiate a text convo (same night as first date) by sending me an ironic gif. It was a flirty way of saying, “Hey, that was fun,” and I found it cute… the first couple of times. I quickly realized that this would be his only form of communication on any and all feelings in text.
I knew I wanted someone who was capable of being straightforward and comfortable expressing their feelings in words—not just ironic clips of Alfonso dancing.
A while later, the opposite scenario happened when I met my forever person. Went something like this: had an amazing first date, the chemistry and physical attraction were all there. He sent me a charming message to say he had a great time (same day). He was open and honest in the message—told me he’d love to see me again, and at the end added something like: “…I’m not one of those people who believe in games and waiting three days to text. So, if you want to talk, let’s talk. And if you want to see me again, let’s see each other again.“
This was not only refreshing, it was a sign that he was willing to be honest and open, and knowing how he genuinely felt empowered me to decide what I wanted next.
Putting yourself out there can be a vulnerable thing, and I think it’s safe to say that most people have a fair amount of uncertainty in their lives, especially now—so why complicate the act of being a kind person on top of it all?
If you can authentically tell someone that you enjoyed the time you spent with them, why not do so? A lot of us don’t because of the bullshit one-size-fits-all rule we all agreed to back in 9th grade to “play it cool”.
This fear of seeming desperate, too eager, or God forbid, “too available” can take hold, when in reality, sending a text can—and is—simply a nice thing to do and could be just what someone needs.
That said, people are complicated and there are no absolutes. People do love a little chase, and find some mystery sexy and exciting. The difference, and this is important, between a guy who comes off persistent in a sexy way versus clingy is what’s going on behind the text. Two people can send the same exact text, but the one who is self-assured, engaged in their own life and interests, and passionate about achieving their goals is always naturally attractive and dynamic. Women can smell desperation a mile away. Don’t feel the need to define what your relationship is right off the bat; give it a minute and enjoy the exploration and fun of finding out who this person is.
Be as respectfully persistent as you wish—women often love being pursued. But remember to have your own life too. This goes for all sexes.
In the end, whether you use gifs of James Dean winking or complete sentences, the way you communicate is everything. It sets the tone. Start as you mean to go on, be clear about what you want, enjoy the exploration, have fun and don’t try to be anyone other than who you are.
Good luck & happy adventures in dating!