By Ali Drucker
Hopefully, your second date with a Bumble match feels less stressful than the first: you’ve already met in person, and you’ve established a certain comfort level. There’s no longer any pressure to make a good first impression. Still, you want to build on the momentum of date number one—and, of course, have fun while seeing if there’s really a connection there! Here, experts share their tips on making sure date number two goes smoothly.
Keep your second date active, but don’t lose the structure
Meeting up for coffee or a drink is a good go-to first date idea because it’s structured: there’s the designated start (ordering your latte) and end (finishing it). These sorts of dates also provide an easy out if you’re not hitting it off. However, the trick to a second date, explains therapist Rachel Wright, is to break free from the interview-like atmosphere sometimes created when we’re sitting across a table from someone new.
It’s great to get a chance to see how your date interacts with people besides your barista, Wright says, and recommends a more active second date like going to a botanical garden, museum, winery, trivia night, or on a hike. Don’t be afraid to give your second date some parameters by saying something like, “I’m free from 1 to 3pm for a walk in the park, how about you?”
Tap into curiosity to drive the conversation
By the time you’ve made it to date number two, you’ve probably exhausted a lot of those standard get-to-know-you questions. Instead of trying to wrack your brain for whether or not you already asked your date how many siblings they have, Wright recommends leaning into what you’re genuinely curious about. For instance, if you’re interested in their relationship with their parents, ask them how they celebrate holidays in their family. You can also steer the conversation by jumping in with what you want them to know about you. Don’t wait for them to ask; if you’re really passionate about volunteering with mutual aid groups in your neighborhood, tell them—and then turn it into a question about the causes that they care about.
You can also feel free to go a little deeper with your second date questions, sexologist psychotherapist Dr. Kristie Overstreet explains. Maybe on date one you discussed what type of relationships you’re both looking for. Now, you might consider asking your date if they’ve ever wanted to live somewhere else, or what city they might want to settle down in. Conversations about life goals and plans may feel more natural on a second date, and can help determine if this is somebody you want to continue seeing or not.
Lean in to any awkward silences
By the same token, date number two might include more lulls while you wrack your brain wondering if you talked about your favorite movie the first time you met. While it’s tempting to try and fill every conversational gap, you can cut yourself some slack by just acknowledging them outright, sex therapist Dr. Lexx Brown-James explains. Try making a joke about how much you love awkward silences.
Wright agrees with the laugh-it-off strategy, adding that another way to combat a lull in conversation is to come prepared with one out-of-left-field question you’re positive won’t have come up already, like, “What was your favorite family vacation as a kid?” Just knowing you’ve got that as a backup can help relieve any nerves you might be feeling.
Don’t be afraid to talk about physical intimacy, but ignore expectations
Intimacy might be more likely to come up on a second date because you’re getting more comfortable with each other. But regardless of just how physical you’re hoping to get, Dr. Brown-James recommends opening up a dialogue about consent each step of the way. You can make sure everyone is on board by asking things like if they’re comfortable holding hands before you do so, or if they’re ok squeezing into the same side of a booth. Directly asking for consent in these circumstances might seem a little corny, but it’s “really helpful for easing into trust with one another,” says Dr. Brown-James, and it shows that you care about your date’s comfort.
Wright adds that you should engage in whatever activities you’re both on board with and toss aside timelines about what type of intimacy is supposed to occur on any given date, because it just doesn’t matter in the long run. “I talk to people about this all the time,” she says, “and I’ve never seen a pattern or heard the words out of someone’s mouth, ‘Well, they had sex with me early, so I thought they weren’t serious.’ It just doesn’t happen.”
It’s okay to get a little more vulnerable
Overstreet explains that on a first date, we often present the most polished versions of ourselves. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, by date two, you might want to start showing a bit more of your everyday self. Maybe that’s as simple as wearing a more casual outfit. It can also mean taking your filter off a bit; you can start by not breezing over a difference of opinion that comes up in conversation, and instead sharing your point of view and having a real discussion.
Opening that door can make you feel vulnerable, and if that’s the case for you, Overstreet advises a pep talk: “You have to tell yourself, ‘I’m just going to be me. And I would rather know sooner than later if they can’t handle me being 100 percent myself.’” Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you? “You’re expecting them to be themselves and not try to act like somebody they’re not,” she says. “You owe it to them to do the same thing.”
The most exciting part of a second date is that you both liked each other enough the first time around that you made it to this point. Whatever you’re doing so far is working, so relax and enjoy it!