Should I Send a Second Message? Online Dating

No one likes feeling awkward, feeling like they’re being pushy, or feeling like they look desperate. And these concerns couldn’t be more relevant than when it comes to sending messages to a new match or a crush when dating online.

More specifically, here are the two situations we’re talking about.

Situation One: You find someone online you like. Yay! You send them a message. Crickets. No response. Should you send a second follow-up message or just let it go?

Situation Two: You had an amazing first date with someone you recently met. Yay! You send them a text following up after the date. Crickets. No response. Should you send a follow-up text or cut your losses?

Both of these situations, well, suck. There really isn’t a better word. But what sucks even more is the mental Jiu Jitsu going on inside your head right now! Your brain and your heart are wrestling with whether or not you should send a second message.

We get it, and we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of sending a second message, discuss when it may or may not be appropriate, and help you figure out once and for all the right next step forward.

Woman in a white sweater sending a text message

Questions to Ask Yourself First

We want to start the discussion by asking some questions that may help you arrive at an answer. After each question, we’ll share which answers we think mean what. Keep in mind that you should answer all of the questions and come to a collective decision based on the outcomes. The questions are designed to work in tandem, not independently. In other words, if one question says to message them and the rest say not to—you probably shouldn’t send that second message.

Have you had any conversations or interactions with them before?

This question really just separates situation one from situation two. If it’s situation one and they didn’t respond to your first message, a second message is probably not the best idea. They’re most likely not interested or they would have followed up. A second message here is going to look desperate and potentially pushy.

If it’s situation two, in most cases, a second text is going to be warranted. You went on a date with this person. You spent time with them. Most people will have the decency to at least respond in those situations.

How much effort did you put into the message?

This question is specifically for situation one. If you just sent “hey” or something like that and they didn’t respond, that’s a mistake on your part. Low effort messages shouldn’t expect responses. In the future, we’d recommend not sending low effort first messages because it tends to put people in situations like this. For this situation, though, we would recommend following up with a much higher quality second message.

Did your message warrant a response?

This question is mainly for situation two but can be applicable situation one as well. Did you send a message that warrants a response or not? For example, if you just sent that you “found something you thought you had lost”…To us, we would respond and say something like, “Great! That’s awesome!” However, some people might just see that as an update and not respond.

In situations like this, you’re not wrong sending a second message. However, keep in mind that people who are really excited about someone new generally respond to most texts, even if they don’t explicitly warrant a response.

Without ego, how did the date really go?

Here’s another one specifically for situation two. How did the date really go? Did something awkward happen that made the other person uncomfortable? Were they not as excited about things as you? These questions can be hard to answer honestly, but it’s important here.

If they were equally as excited and had an amazing time, sending a second text is probably worth it. If things didn’t go great and it feels like they’re ghosting you, it may be best to just cut your losses.

The more honest you can be with yourself here, the better off your results are going to be.

Pros and Cons of Sending a Second Message

Before we give our bottom line answers on whether you should send a second message or text or not, we want to look at some general pros and cons to finish framing the discussion.

Pros of Sending a Second Message

  • You’ll know for sure if they’re interested or not
  • You do increase the likelihood of getting a response
  • You can rule out that they just got busy or forgot

Cons of Sending a Second Message

  • You risk seeming desperate
  • You risk getting a rude response
  • It can drag out the inevitable

Keep in mind that some of the pros aren’t really that positive, and some of the cons aren’t really that negative. For example, just because you get a response doesn’t mean you’re anymore likely to have success with that person. Maybe they end up just responding to get you to stop messaging them or out of a feeling of obligation. And on the other side, sometimes risking feeling uncomfortable is important for good things to happen.

Reasons They Might Not Be Responding

The last thing we want to look at before giving our final answer is important. Everyone knows that one reason they might not be responding is that they’re not interested. However, there are other reasons they might not be responding that are worth looking at. Keep in mind that many of these are much less likely, so don’t latch onto them just because it might make you feel better or give you hope.

  • They might be busy. Remember, people have things going on and a new match might not be top priority just yet. Make sure you’re giving them adequate time to respond (at least 48 hours after a first date and at least a week or two with a first message online).
  • Something may have happened. We never like to even think about tragic situations, but life does happen from time to time. If someone in their family passed away, they got hurt, they lost their job, or any of a million different things happened, you might not be on the top of the priority list just yet.  

The Final Answer – Should You Send That Second Message?

While every situation is unique, we want to do our best to give you an overall answer or guideline that you can follow.

Here’s the bottom line summed up in a question. If you’re interested in someone and they send you a message, how often do you respond? The answer is probably most or all the time, right? If that’s the case for you, it’s safe to assume it’s probably the case for everyone else.

So, if they’re really interested in you, the chances are that they’re going to make the time to respond to you. So when it comes to first messages in online dating, if they don’t respond to your first message (and you sent a quality first message), we’d recommend not wasting your time sending a second message.

For situation two, f it’s someone you went on a date with and things went well (or at least average), we’d say sending a second message after a few days is completely fine. But if you don’t get a response then, it’s probably best to drop it and move on.