We recently wrote about why you should swallow your pride and send that follow-up text/email/Snapchat/pigeon/thing. Sure, there’s a chance your date has been incommunicado because they’re not interested in seeing you again. But when you’re genuinely not sure if someone got your message or not, a follow-up is always worthwhile, and can be relatively low-stress. So how do you follow up with someone and keep it lighthearted and casual? Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
If they didn’t give your their email, don’t email them
Also: if they didn’t give you their phone number, don’t text them. Also also: If they didn’t give you their Twitter account, don’t tweet at them. You see where I’m going with this — yes, we’ve all privately Googled a date at some point, but just because you found their personal website or Twitter account does not make it an open invitation to bombard them on a line of communication they didn’t personally give you. In other words, if they only gave you their phone number, you should only be following up via text (or, if you’re feeling bold, an actual phone call.)
Consider whether you’ll have to see this person again
The rules of following up can vary slightly depending on who the other person is. If it’s someone you met online, or who is otherwise a complete stranger, the worst-case scenario is that you follow up and they don’t respond. The upshot is that it’s consequence-free, as you’ll probably never have to see this person again. But if you met this person through a mutual acquaintance, or you’re in the same circle of friends, the worst-case scenario is that you follow up, they don’t respond, and you’ll probably have to hang out with them in the aftermath. This still shouldn’t be a huge barrier, but it is something to be aware of.
Check your gray ratio
If your iMessage gray ratio is low — in other words, if you’re sending significantly more texts to someone than you’re receiving from them — it may mean you’re just wordy, but your date might take it as a sign that you’re too attached or needy. If you’ve already sent a few texts that have gone by unanswered, give the other person the benefit of the doubt and give them a chance to respond. If you’re already stressing about being into someone more than you think they’re into you, sending them a follow-up will only amplify your anxiety, and it won’t get you any closer to finding out how they feel.
If they said they’re not interested, they’re not interested
If at some point this person has told you point-blank they don’t see things working out between you, nothing you text, email, or otherwise communicate to them will change their mind. This is not the time to go Mr. Collins on their ass —no means no.
Don’t be accusatory, threatening, demanding, or otherwise awful
You never want to use a follow-up to guilt or bully someone into responding to you. If they got your original message and deliberately didn’t respond, being awful will not help your cause. If they genuinely missed your message, or got it and didn’t get around to replying yet, being awful will also not help your cause. So instead of something like “Why haven’t you replied to my messages?”, try something more innocuous and unassuming, like “Hey, just seeing how things are” or “How’s your week going?”
If they don’t respond again, accept it and move on
If there’s one time the follow-up isn’t acceptable, it’s to follow up on your original follow-up. “Hey, did you get my last message asking if you got my last message” isn’t an attractive look on anyone. And if they didn’t have the balls to tell you they weren’t interested to your face, they probably weren’t someone you wanted to date anyway.