Griffin Jackson / Uncategorized

The Relationship Constitution: Dating Protocol (Griffin Jackson)

Everyone who has ever been on a date has to face the eternally-complicated question: how long does one wait before contacting his or her potential significant other again?

Answers to this relationship riddle have been many. Some hold to a firm three-day policy. It is appropriate for the dater to wait three full days before making second contact with the datee. This norm, in theory, provides both parties enough time to think over the experience, consider the future of the relationship, and it avoids the appearance of an over-eager dater.

A second theory holds that a second date should be at least tentatively planned at the end of the first date. This way, there is no awkward waiting game between first and second dates. It does, however, carry the unfortunate potential for a very depressing exchange if one of the pair doesn’t want to continue the relationship.

Thirdly, the time one should wait between the end of the first date and making contact about a second date is entirely a matter of personality and social protocol. Maybe there are good reasons to wait or to speak up at a certain time. Maybe the circumstances force one’s hand at a certain time, or a perfect opportunity presents itself.

For each theory of dating etiquette, there are natural pitfalls. Looking too eager. Looking unconfident. Appearing too dominating or too pitiful. And, of course, there is always the potential for one of the pair to reject the idea of the second date.

With all of this to think about, the dating protocol may have become easier. The dating “experts” at Match.com have carried out a legitimate study measuring the appropriate time-frame for first and second dates. According to the study, the average time between the first date and the second contact is 1.52 days.

The study reports that, after the one-and-a-half day point, if contact has not been made, it becomes significantly less likely that a second date will happen. This, naturally, hurts the three-day theory, and severely limits those with more patient, wait-and-see personalities. However, it may also provide a firmer guideline for successful dating formula.

Of course, relationships, being the fragile, emotional, case-specific things that they are, cannot really be pinned down with any equation or rules. Even so, social norms and empirically-tested hypothesis may be helpful for the unseasoned or unsuccessful seekers among us.

That said, 1.5 days may be a good number to keep in the back of one’s mind. But read each date, each girl, each guy by their own criteria. Veterans will know, even if they follow the 1.5 day strategy, in dating, one size does not fit all.

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