Great Date! What Next

It's an awkward moment: You've just wound up a fun first date with someone who you really like. You talked nonstop for hours, you have tons in common, there was a definite spark, maybe even a kiss. You're about to say good-bye, but you don't want to let him get away without knowing you'd like to see him again. So the question looms: How do you let him know that without seeming needy? We have the one strategy that will work in any situation.

Step 1: Be honest about being interested
Telling your date you've had a great time is an ego boost, not a sign of desperation, so get over your fears and communicate (sounds radical, we know). "It's completely OK to be up front about wanting to hang out again," says Keith Wagner, a hotel manager in Philadelphia, PA who just goes for it when faced with the end-of-date dilemma. "At the end of an evening with someone I like and want to see again," says Wagner, "I just ask, -So, want to do this again?' while walking down the street after dinner."

Step 2: Make plans to make plans
After stating that you'd like to get together again, there's the phone problem-who calls whom? Since gay couples don't have the gender pressure of waiting for the guy to call (after all, then no one would ever have second dates), you can take control of the situation. According to Jeffrey Chernin, Ph.D., a Los Angeles psychotherapist who specializes in gay and lesbian relationships, taking responsibility for calling helps to avoid confusion.

"Don't just say you've had a good time on a date and you'd like to see the person again," says Chernin. "If you've had a good time, name a day when you'll call. Be specific." He recommends something simple like, "I'd love to do this again. I'll call you next weekend and hope we can set something up then." Committing to calling on a certain day shows that you're proactive and, says Chernin, "It calms your nerves and all the wondering, -When should I call? When will he call?'"

If you're not a phone kind of guy, following up with e-mail is just as viable an option. "If I like a guy and want to see him again, I'll tell him on the first date," says Alex Nhancale, a fashion marketing manager in New York, NY. "But I'll e-mail him the next day instead of calling." E-mailing spares you the anxiety of a phone call, and your date can answer it on his own time-not when his boss is standing over him or his ex is buzzing at the front door.

Step 3: Know when you're coming on too strong
But how much assertiveness about getting together again is too much? Well, if your date doesn't seem interested, it's safe to say that announcing you'll call him will seem pushy and unattractive-better in that case to give him space to decide if he wants to get in touch. Another no-no is scheduling another date for a few days later right on the spot-trying to book, say, a Monday happy hour at the end of a Saturday together. "That's not appropriate," says Chernin. "It takes time to get to know someone, and you have to be willing to give things time in the early stages of dating." If your relationship is meant to be, you can just as easily hang out on Tuesday or Wednesday-hey, think of the extra time in between as your opportunity to pick out what to wear!

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