Post Date Etiquette: Minding Your Manners

There’s always that oafish bore who insists on yammering throughout the entire movie. I mean the straight up screaming into the phone like it’s paper cups attached by string or something. Science can’t explain it. Don’t even bother trying to understand it. Then there’s the impolite individual that never responds to evites, invitations, or Facebook events (fine, that one’s a stretch). Sure, it’s possible the invite sunk to the bottom of an overcrowded in-box. Regardless, the lack of common courtesy literally boggles my mind! And let’s not forget the crackberry addicts constantly looking down and fiddling on their cell phones texting aggressively behind the menu. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. Then again, maybe it’s just a sign that they’re just not that into you.

Here’s the thing. There are basic rules of etiquette and the sad truth is that many people still do not follow them. And I can’t lie. I get slightly peeved when people don’t follow simple basic etiquette. Personally, I was always raised to say my pleases and thank yous. (Thanks mom and dad!) Polite behavior should always be what it is regardless of what era it is. Sure, things have changed since Emily Post advised on how to orchestrate your first dinner party as a married lady. Regardless, basic manners have not changed. And in today’s modern dating world, some semblance of proper behavior should at least be observed. Now, I won’t attempt to tackle the entire world of dating. No, I won’t teach you which fork is REALLY the mussels fork, how much to tip the coat check person, or how to address the ever difficult take-gum-out-of-your-mouth dilemma at a date without being rude. What I do want to discuss is post-date follow-up for all you ladies. Yep, this one’s purely for the ladies. I’m here to offer suggestions on what is considered proper etiquette for women following a date.

All right. You just finished a great first date with a GREAT new guy! You hop in the cab, still smiling from ear to ear. You want to call him to say what a fabulous time you had, but that wouldn’t be cool, so you instead call your friend, mom or sister to gush about every mundane detail. When you’re done naming your unborn children, they ask the question. “So, do you think you’ll go out with him again?” You think, well, he didn’t give any of the usual brush off signs. You know what I’m talking about. There was no typical excuse out of the bucket when you suggested another glass of sauvignon blanc. There was no obsessive checking of the Blackberry throughout your grilled salmon. And he didn’t offer up a “let’s do it again sometime” after giving you a generic stiff handshake goodbye. In fact, the date went pretty freakin’ well. He gave you a peck on the cheek and said he’d give you a call.

So, now what? Should you send him an e-mail or text to say thank you? Should you wait for him to contact you? What if you don’t plan to go out with him again? It’s really confusing territory. Ha! And you thought the pre-date jitters were bad. Post date anxiety can be painful, too. As any dater knows, the most infuriating time is the twenty four to forty eight hours following a date. What was once a hazy, shrouded in candlelight night has come to an end. In the meantime, you can take some matters into your own hands. And you really have two options at your disposal.

Option One: Text Him Thank You

When it comes to dating, if the man treats you to dinner, drinks, movies, whatever, then I think it’s important to follow up with a text to simply say thanks for last night—especially if you’re interested in going out again! What if you’re not interested in going out again? That’s where it gets tough. Sending a thank you text might give him the wrong idea and send false hope. So, although it’s always nice to say thanks, you don’t really need to if you definitely, 100%, absolutely do not plan on going out with him again. Say thanks at the end of the date, before you part ways, and that’s all.

Now, I suggest going the route of a text message for two reasons. An e-mail seems slightly professional and formal, like you’re sending a thank you after a job interview. Yes, I know some dates feel like job interviews, but leave the “best regards” and resume books at home. And what about a phone call? Well, I’m usually an avid fan of a phone call over a text message in MOST situations (probably because I give good phone), but this is not one of those times. Here, it really just seems unnecessary. And by the way, you should send it soon, not days later (ideally within 24 hours). Ladies, do not do a drive-by (I know you all know what I’m talking about), don’t friend him on Facebook, and do not write War and Peace. Just send him a quick and brief thank you. You do not need to mention going out again, speaking again, or any inside joke (that you think you have already established). Just a quick text message will do the trick.

So what’s the point? Really, it’s twofold. First, you’re being polite. Manners are always appreciated. And further, being polite and well-mannered will set you apart from the crowd-and dramatically increase the chances that your potential partner will want to share your company again. The best part is that manners don’t cost a penny. And as you very well know, very, very few things in New York City are free. Men don’t usually expect a follow up thank you but almost all will appreciate the gesture. Second, you make it easier for him to reach out. By initiating the first form of contact post-date, you’ve set the tone for potential future correspondence. You’ve made it easier for him to contact you because he now knows that he has a receptive audience and frankly, that you’re an appreciative person. That goes a long way.

Now, does it matter who paid? If he paid, a thank you within 24 hours is not unreasonable and highly appreciated regardless if you plan to go out with him again. If YOU paid and took most of the initiative, he owes you a call me thinks. But, this rarely is the case.

What normally happens? Well, most guys, if they enjoyed spending time with you, will contact you before you even have a chance to follow up with a thank you text. That being said, give them a chance to be the one to contact you. You do not need to text him from the cab. Wait until the next morning and see if he contacts you first. Let him swim in anticipation for a few hours. Because more often than not, you will get a “thanks for an awesome time…hope you got home safe” text message from him. Bottom line is when it’s good, you’ll know, and he won’t be able to wait long to contact you.

Option Two: Wait For Him To Contact You

Some women feel that it’s the guy who should be following up after a date regardless of who pays the bill. And many women follow this approach. These women genuinely tell the guy that they truly enjoyed the date at the end of the date and then wait to be contacted. They leave the calling up to the male. Women who do this, do it mainly, because, they do not want to be too pushy. If this is your way and makes you feel more comfortable, that is fine. As I mentioned before, men do not usually EXPECT a thank you text, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an unexpected delight when they get one in their inbox!

In this fast-paced, technology-loving, frenetic-on-the-go society we live in, there are plenty of opportunities for both accidental and intentional impoliteness. Hey, most of us can’t be bothered to separate our papers from our plastics yet we’ll steal or even kill for a taxi on a rainy day. Heck, we don’t so much as flinch at certain social scenarios that would outrage our parents, let alone our grandparents. But, a thank you? A thank you is just an expression of appreciation. It’s really such a simple concept, yet forgotten and ignored by so many. And when it comes to dating, most of us are still not sure how to navigate and manage manners when dealing with thoroughly modern conundrums such as post dating game analysis.

Here’s my advice: Even in this complex world, the old basics of decorum apply and politeness is still a VERY attractive quality! So, from now on, don’t answer your phone at the dinner table. If you feel it vibrating in your pocket, ignore it. Give up your seat on the subway. Yes, whether it’s for a pregnant lady, someone elderly, or just someone that simply looks completely exhausted. Next time you fly, share the elbow space on the airplane armrest. There’s certainly enough of it to go around. And ladies, my goodness, send a quick thank you after you’re wined and dined! Especially if you want a second date! Brush up on your manners, in life and in the dating world. Yeah, it’s a confusing world out there, but if you want to find a gentleman, you gotta act like a lady!