Nerds In Love Column: Texting Etiquette

I just went on my first date in years, so long I have no idea anymore what to do and when. I asked out a barista at a local coffee shop, ends up she’s into me as well. We went out on a date and it went well. We went for dinner at a nice place and I guess she was feeling it because she suggested we go for drinks after dinner was over. Then she walked me all the way home to see my area.
This was my first dating experience in a while. I really like her and I’m wondering how the etiquette works for talking to one another now? I’m really interested but should I be texting every day, 2 days? Let her take the initiative here and there? I don’t want to come off as like desperate or too attached already to push her away, so I’m worried about how to approach this. I’m confident as of now that we will probably go on a second date, hopefully, and then that’s another area I need help with haha. Any tips?

Congratulations on what sounds like a lovely first date! It sounds like you feel like it went well and you’re pretty excited about the woman you went out with, and I can see why you might feel some pressure to keep the good vibes going. It would be nice if I could give you a handbook on exactly how to make that happen, but unfortunately I can’t, because there are no objective rules on how to communicate in between dates (other than be kind, but that’s a given). Everyone has a different level of communication they’re comfortable with, and when two people get together, it’s up to them to decide what amount and style of communication works best for them.

That doesn’t mean I can’t give you some things to keep in mind, though. Is she typically responding right away to your texts, and does she seem enthusiastic about carrying on your topic of discussion? If so, awesome, carry on as long as you are both interested in talking. Are you able to say something like “I’m in meetings for the rest of the day, I’ll text you tonight,” and then text when you’ll say you text? Is she? That can be a good way to set up some parameters around your level of conversation and make clear when you are available to talk.

Moreover, this sounds like something that you can talk about on your second date. What would you like to tell her about how you want to communicate? What would it be like to say something like “I enjoyed talking with your this week, your text made my day” to indicate you like the way you communicate? Or “I tend to be really busy and need to wind down after work, I may not respond right away but always appreciate your messages” if you want to text a bit less?

The subjects that people are comfortable talking about are also very individual, and I can’t dictate to you what will and won’t come off as overly attached or desperate. I would say that if you’re communicating in a way that assumes or seems entitled to more of a relationship or commitment than you have, that usually does not feel good (you’ve been on one date, would you feel weird if she started talking about your future three kids and Great Pyrenees, for example?).

For setting up that second date, you asked her out for a first date with great success- how do you feel about trying what you did then again with a different plan and seeing what happens? What other stuff are you interested in doing with her? Did she mention anything on your date that she’s interested in doing or trying? A favorite restaurant or venue of hers? Would you be open to collaborating with her on the next date location and activities?

Lastly, I understand if you are feeling the pressure to make sure that everything is Perfect and Right and Excellent- you had a lovely date and it sounds like you would really like to make sure you have more. Remember that it’s okay if you are still figuring things out, and you’re not being held to one single standard of Good Dateability. Keep being honest and kind and respectful to her and know that you deserve the same treatment, and if you both like each other and want to commit to figure out your personal rules together, then you’ll make happen. The early stages of a relationship can be really exciting and fun, so I hope you enjoy yourself.


Kim Hall, BA, QPPMH is a clinical intern and graduate student in mental health counseling.

Be sure to listen to the Nerds in Love podcast for more dating advice!

Remember, this advice doesn’t substitute for actual professional mental health assistance. If you’re in crisis and need help, please contact:

1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Lifeline)

You can find a therapist over at

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