Yesterday, I talked about how not to end a date. Today, I want to talk about how you'll know whether or not you'll actually hear from a guy again — because as I noted yesterday, when he simply says, "Let's do this again sometime!" he doesn't always mean it.
In my experience, if a guy is serious, he'll ask if you'd like to hang out again and, if you agree in a way that falls somewhere on the genuine-enthusiastic spectrum, he will follow up in at least one of the following ways:
He will talk in concrete terms about a future plan. Perhaps he'll mention an activity that the two of you can do together, like: "Would you be up for seeing the new Banksy movie?" Or: "Do you want to check out that new Italian place?" Or he may talk about his schedule, like: "This week is going to be crazy ... but maybe we can think about Saturday?" He may even say something like, "My week is so crazy that I'll need to touch base with you in a few days, but hopefully we can find a time this weekend." As long as he goes to the trouble of talking about specifics in any way, that's a good sign.
He may kiss you. In my experience, this is only a good sign if he asks you about a future date, most likely before the kiss, but possibly after. If, on the other hand, he kisses you and then more or less says, "Sayonara, baby — see you around," he may just be the type of guy — and I do think they exist — who figures, "Hey, I paid for dinner, so I may as well get a kiss out of it."
I went on a date this winter with a very cute guy — a shorter version of Joaquin Phoenix (before he grew that crazy Hasid beard) — where, about 30 minutes into it, he leaned over and said, "You're so cute that I'm going to try to kiss you right now." I said, "But I have a terrible cold!" Joaquin didn't care. And I was hopped up on meds and in a daze and we'd just been talking at a giddy pace, a mile a minute, so I was like, "All right — what the hell!" We ended up laughing and smooching all night, and when we talked outside it was magically snowing, so we laughed and smooched some more with snow tiaras in our hair.
Now, I didn't think this dude was THE ONE for me — he liked musical theater, for one thing, and he seemed kinda cheap, for another — but I did have a silly, fun time and I was looking forward to hanging out with him again. As we parted, he mentioned that he was going away the following morning on an eight-day business trip ... and ... I'll tell you more about him in a second. For now, allow me to say that the third good sign is:
He will follow up promptly. I think this is the single best indicator — even if he didn't talk about a future outing or try to kiss you at the end of a date — that a guy is serious. It involves some premeditation; it's a completely voluntary, chosen action, not influenced by context or drunkenness or a desire to avoid awkwardness. If he's interested, he's probably not going to let more than 48 hours pass before getting in touch. If more time than that passes, his intentions are harder to read. It could be that he's into you but has been really busy — particularly if he offers some kind of explanation about what took him so long. It could be that he's not sure how he feels but wants to hang out again to get a better read on the dynamic. It could also be that he's just looking to hook up — particularly if he suggests the two of you grab a late, last-minute drink.
In the case of Joaquin: Long story short, there was some ambiguous, halfhearted following up and one rather last-minute invitation to go to a bluegrass concert the following night that I couldn't accept because, as I told him, I already had plans. Maybe some other time? I texted. Yes, we'll figure it out, he wrote back. But I'm about to go on vacation for two weeks. I never heard from that snow-kissing bandit again.
One caveat: These, as always, are just generalized observations based on my experience. But I think they are pretty good rules of thumb. What do you guys think?