Do you know how to make a third killer date?
There are certain things you should do on a first date to set yourself up for success – clean up a bit, arrive on time, ask questions about your date, offer payment. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a clear sign that everything went well, whether that’s a goodnight kiss, a first date, or a request to go out again.
But what happens when things progress after the first date? There’s clearly chemistry, and you both said, I had a great time. Let’s do that again, but you’re still not one hundred percent sure where things stand.
Often uncertainty is resolved on the second date, but sometimes you’ll still be looking for answers if you’re lucky enough to venture onto the third date.
That’s why a third date can be especially important. People tend to have a sort of built-in rule of threes; the idea of three strikes and you’re out applies to much more in life than just the confines of the baseball diamond.
Many people can tolerate two mediocre pieces of data, but three unconvincing pieces of data? That’s what drives it. If you have two dates to see someone, but it’s not yet clear if this is real or not, the third date may be your last chance to make things work. With that in mind, here’s what you should know about third dates.
1. How is the third date different?
The first date might be high stakes for you, but further dates can actually be more stressful if you don’t yet know exactly how the other person feels about you.
The third date has more at stake because it’s the gateway to a relationship, says dating coach Connell Barrett . Date 1 is about seeing if there’s chemistry and mutual attraction. On the second date, you get a sense of how comfortable the two of you are together. And on the third date, you decide if you’re a good long-term fit. Think of the first dates as a series of job interviews: By the third, you’ll know if you want the “job” in this potential relationship.
Just like a series of job interviews, by the third you will have a clear idea of what the opportunity before you is like, what you can bring to the situation, what potential challenges you might have in the future, and In different areas you find fun, fulfilling, or exciting.
The ability to have interesting and stimulating conversations in a bar or restaurant is one thing, says dating coach Laurel House, host of the Man Whispers podcast. But who are they (and you) really? The third and fourth dates offer an opportunity to do more than just express your drinking and eating sensibilities and really get to know each other.
According to House, by the third date, you’re no longer just testing the waters. You’re actually interested and ready to build confidence, open your heart (a little), let your guard down and engage with other sides of your personality, she adds. You present a more authentic you – the fun, quirky, nerdy, spontaneous sides. You want to make sure they really like you for you and you for them, or why go on?
2. How do I approach the third date?
Regardless of how high the stakes may be on the third date, don’t try to make too big a deal out of it. After all, this person has expressed interest in seeing you three times. Surely they are not doing this just to be polite.
You’ve already had a chance to get to know each other a little and relax, says Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today .
If you’re on the third date, something good must be happening. You’ve learned a little about what your date is interested in. So do not try, to impress – try to please.
At this crucial stage of dating, Tessina suggests opting for an inexpensive, intimate place to eat or even a food truck or picnic.
The message you want to send is not that you are want to buy with expensive things, but that you are want to get to know each other in a simple environment that encourages you to talk and be close, she notes. Intimacy (not sex) is the buzzword.
Barrett agrees with the less-is-more approach to the third date.
I tell my clients: To impress, do less, he says. I don’t want to try. Just don’t try too hard. Many guys feel the need to step up their game on big dates – to plan elaborate activities or spend a bundle at a white tablecloth restaurant. This can backfire, as trying too hard can convey neediness.
Instead, he suggests making the conversation the avenue in which you show off.
Don’t try harder. Go deeper, he explains. On the third date, try to bond over Big Life Stuff: Career, religion, desire for children, politics, your core values. When two people find that their Big Life Stuff matches, it’s easier to become a couple.
3. Dealing with physical or sexual intimacy on the third day.
If the first two dates were relatively tame, don’t necessarily take the existence of a third date as a sign that things are about to get hot and heavy.
When it comes to physical intimacy, escalation doesn’t depend on dates, but on how you feel, House says. If you don’t have that initial hit of hard chemistry, you may not want to get physically intimate right away, and that’s OK. As your attraction grows, you’ll want to get intimate. But at least by date 3 you want to have a real kiss so you can see if there is that spark when you kiss.
Alternatively, you may kiss a little early on, but after that, things go cold. This could be a sign that things aren’t going to work out between you.
Many men get stuck on the same base for multiple dates, Barrett says. If you’ve reached first base on the first date and are still there two dates later, this can lead to friend-zone The other person doesn’t feel like things are moving forward, so they lose interest.
Regardless, since sexual chemistry can be such a big factor in the success of a relationship, it’s not the worst idea to casually discuss sex with your date on the third date so you have an idea of where they stand.
4. What happens if the third date is a flop?
Bad third dates happen. If the first and/or second date are incredibly good, the third time may not even feel like a date to you. Instead, spending time together doesn’t have the formal quality where you need to impress each other.
On the other hand, the third date could be where things go south, and there’s a chance it just won’t work out. But how do you react to a third date flop?
If the third date is a bust but the first two went well, assume it was only one night off, Barrett advises. It happens. Go for date 4. Treat it like a mulligan.
According to Barrett, a big red flag to watch out for is if your first date is great, but dates 2 and 3 are duds. This can mean that that spark on the first date was just the thrill of getting to know someone, and it turns out you’re not compatible as a couple, he adds.
It’s also possible to turn a bad date into a good one by not letting an awkward or disappointing situation catch you off guard. Instead, make it something you can both make fun of.
Maybe it rained on you, the event was bad or canceled, or the movie was terrible, but those things should be sources of shared laughter and good memories, Tessina says. If talking about a disappointing event is better than the event, you’re doing well. Hopefully, you’re not fighting or insulting each other. There’s no excuse for bad behavior on the third date. Don’t let your expectations get the best of you. Relax, calm down, and be in the moment.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you survive the third date.
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