Should You Go On A Second Date?

Unsure if you should give a so-so first date a second chance? We asked men and women what criteria they use when deciding whether to see someone again — here’s what they told us.

By Laura Schaefer

f you’ve recently been on a pleasant first date that never led to another, you might be curious about what makes other people decide to see someone again. “Studies show that it takes someone about 20 minutes to decide if he or she wants to see a date again,” explains relationship expert Lori Bizzoco. Is it all about the spark? Shared
Some daters looking for that “click” that connects them to someone.
interests? Landing a few good jokes? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer here. For some, that second date isn’t a big deal; for others, it’s a carefully considered decision. “Agreeing to a second date is not something I take lightly,” says John Powers, a stand-up comedian in New York. “Typically, I know by the end of the first date if there’s any chance of going on a second.”

Some daters looking for that “click” that connects them to someone, while others are pleased with an absence of red flags. Read on for some great insights into what separates one-hit wonders from those who go full speed ahead to date #2…

For most singles, it’s all about the chemistry
Good chemistry includes a heady mix of engaging conversation, shared interests, compatible senses of humor, and physical attraction — you just can’t fake this kind of immediate spark. If it’s there, it almost always leads to a second date. “When deciding if I want to go out again with one of the men I meet online for my blog, 50 Food Truck Dates, it’s all about chemistry, chemistry, chemistry,” says the site’s creator, Jeanna Barrett. “I only want to see someone again who I feel I have good chemistry with — physically and mentally. Immediately when I meet someone for a blind date, I ask myself: Am I attracted?”

Don’t stress over “one and done” dates
Sometimes, it’s just plain obvious that your date isn’t someone you’d like to get to know any better. “I have had several ‘one and done’ dates,” explains Rick Soetebier, a financial advisor and author living in Missouri. “A ‘one and done’ date can happen for a variety of reasons, from discovering your date has lied about something large or small to observing personality traits that make this person a poor match.” The trick is not to sweat it — “one and done” dates are the stuff good stories are made of long after you’ve moved on.

Boring first dates can actually be a good thing
People looking for a lasting relationship are wise enough to give dates more than 20 minutes to knock their socks off before passing judgment. “If I had a decent time and no red flags went off, I always accepted a second date,” says speaker and author Jen Hancock. “You just never know where it will lead. A lot of times, going out with someone who doesn’t immediately ring all our bells is a good experience. In comparison with the passionate men I’d been dating, my husband is positively boring. There is no drama in his life.
On our first date, everything clicked — it just felt right.
He’s also turned out to be the most interesting, handsome, talented and funny man I ever dated, too. He is my rock! So glad I had the intelligence to not write him off early on.”

Look for someone who’s genuine in every way
“On a first date, I want to see it in her face and reaction that when I talk about my life, she’s genuinely interested in what I have to say,” says W. Brandon Howard, an insurance agent and blogger for in Dallas, TX. “Likewise, as long as I’m not prying into sensitive subjects, I want her to be enthusiastic in discussing her life, sharing funny stories, and being able to have a relaxed conversation that allows me to get an idea about what she thinks is humorous and what she enjoys.” In other words, being present and willing to open up a bit without an agenda is very attractive to most people. Howard adds, “I’ve been on first dates where I felt like the woman wanted to find out if I was missing any components from her ‘secret list’ — and it turned into a job interview for her prospective spouse. I don’t want to think about marriage or a relationship in those first couple of hours,” Howard explains. “I just simply want to discover what brings her joy and what she’s passionate about.”

Embrace the charm of spontaneity
Sometimes, you just want to have fun and be surprised on a first date. When that happens, a follow-up date often becomes a foregone conclusion. “When I wanted to see her again, it was because she was funny, honest and ready to be spontaneous,” says New York City-based author and financial sales professional Jack Dalton.

Polite behavior’s a great way to win over your date
Market researchers Christopher Brya and Miguel Almaraz (co-authors of WTF Are Men Thinking: 250,000 Men Reveal What Women Really Want to Know) conducted a poll of over 250,000 men for their book, which revealed that guys are much more likely to decide to see someone again if a date’s behavior is polite. “An incredible majority of the men polled (95%) said that the biggest turn-off on a first date is someone who is rude or arrogant,” explain Brya and Almaraz, adding that “a date that’s rude to a waiter or is constantly checking her phone will not get a second date.” Ronald Kaufman, a consultant and author based in Los Angeles, agrees: “One of the things that I use to decide if I’ll see someone again is how my date treats and talks about other people. In a restaurant, is this person pleasant and respectful of the staff? Does my date talk about family, friends, coworkers, customers and past husbands/boyfriends in a positive way?” So, being nice usually pays off, ladies — in second-date dividends.

Sometimes, it just feels right
“On our first date, everything clicked — it just felt right,” says Nick Brennan, a sales professional in Chicago. “The conversation flowed effortlessly, and by the end of the evening, we were walking down the street holding hands. I just knew that I wanted to see her again.”

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love. Follow her on Twitter: @teashopgirl.
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