They work because they hold the other person accountable while pushing the relationship forward — or make it very clear it’s time to move on.
The line: “Thanks so much for a nice time [the other night]. Unfortunately, I just didn’t feel the connection I’m looking for, but I wish you nothing but the best!”
When to use: After a first date where the other person asks you out again, but you don’t want to go.
No one likes to be ghosted (when someone ignores or drops off from the other person without any explanation), so it’s always best to be straightforward when you didn’t feel a connection and have no intention of seeing someone again.
This template lets the other person know where you stand while still being kind and allows them to feel open to pursue other options.
Be aware that some people don’t always take the news well. Still, it’s better than leaving someone wondering, “Are we going to see each other again?”
The line: “I just wanted to check back in and see if you still wanted to connect.”
When to use: After you’ve had a solid back-and-forth conversation on the app but the other person drops off.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a conversation seemingly going well, only for the other person to disappear into thin air. This template allows you to follow up with the person without appearing overly eager, disappointed or frustrated.
After all, life happens — maybe the person had a busy workweek or personal matters to attend to, meaning dating apps took a temporary backseat. This message can reopen the conversation.
However, if they still don’t respond, you have your signal to move on.
The line: “Hey! I really enjoyed chatting with you, but I can’t tell from our messages if you’re looking to meet (again). Let me know your thoughts.”
When to use: After a first date when you would like to see the other person again, but the other person continues to text as if interested with no indication of meeting again.
It’s a common annoyance for people using dating sites: They want a relationship, not a pen pal. With this line, you’re putting the ball in their court: Would you like to go on another date or not?
The right connection should be excited to see you again — and make time in their schedule to do so.
The line: “It’s been good. I’ve met some interesting people! Just looking for the right connection.”
When to use: When someone asks, “How’s this app treating you?” or “How’s online dating going for you?”
It’s a common question during the early stages of messaging (though I wish it weren’t), but don’t use it as an invitation to complain about the bad first dates or the people who clearly were using pictures from 10 years ago on their profiles.
For now, keep it positive. This message answers the question while looking ahead by clearly stating what you’re hoping to get out of the experience. Hopefully, the other person is looking for the same.
The line: “It’s a date.”
When to use: Once you’ve finalized the date, time and location of your meeting.
It’s short, simple and sweet, and it puts a nice punctuation mark on your conversation about meeting in person.
“It’s a date” also reiterates your goal: a first date where you get to know each other better and see if there’s a connection.
I also recommend messaging or texting the day before/the morning of the date to confirm you’re still on and exchanging phone numbers in case plans suddenly change.
It’s not always easy to communicate in the digital world, and all of us have misunderstood the tone behind a text or read an email without a hint of intended sarcasm by the sender. That’s why these messages are helpful — they’re direct to help you get the answers you need without becoming aggressive or possessive.
Having these lines in your back pocket will come in handy, saving you the stress of composing the perfect message and moving the relationship where it needs to go … even if that place is nowhere. It’s better to know, right?
Erika Ettin is founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. Join her newsletter, eepurl.com/dpHcH for updates and tips.