Three Day Rule: Should I Have Answered His Text?

three day rule, dating coach, understanding menThe three day rule still exists for many men. After a first or second date, they might wait three days before calling you. This is because they don’t want to appear over eager. Here’s what happened for one woman who took this typical timing as an insult.

“Hi Ronnie The Dating Coach!

What do you think of guys who follow the 3-day rule after a great first date? I went on a great first date with a guy who approached me, got my number, asked me out, etc. BTW he asked me out FOUR times before I was available so he definitely pursued. On the date, he mentioned making future plans, going to sports games together w/ his tickets, etc.

At the end of the date he suggested doing it again sometime. He didn’t text me for EXACTLY 3 days (I’m talking 72 hours to the dot) after the first date. I was really turned off by this. It was an annoyingly casual text, too – “Are you watching the XYZ Basketball game? We’re doing really good….” that’s it.

No phone call? No “had a great time let’s make plans again?” I didn’t respond. I haven’t reached out to him at all. Should I have responded? This was 4 days ago and he hasn’t texted or called me. I think he may be playing a game or just be a wimp. I don’t know.

BTW, I am quite a bit out of this guy’s league both in looks and personality. I think he is trying to turn the tables a little bit.

Please tell me what you think and if I should have responded. Thanks!”
Still waiting in Indiana

Dear Still Waiting,

You might be surprised by this, but I think you were a little hard on him.

What Is the Three Day Rule?

When a man waits three days to connect after a first date – that is the “Three Day Rule” which has been the male standard for when to call after a first date. Three days is still a good response time in my book. Some men wait a week or two – those are guys who aren’t always that interested. On the other hand, for the first few weeks I dated my husband he only called me once a week and we only saw each other once a week. He did make a second date at the end of the first, but waited 4-5 days to call.

Date More Than One Man at a Time
Lucky for me, I didn’t care that much about the timing. Not because he wasn’t cute or a real possibility, but I was dating another guy at the same time. This is the exact reason I recommend dating more than one man a at time. It keeps you from over analyzing any one man before he’s proven himself or driving yourself crazy when they follow the three day rule. Doing this made a huge difference for me and kept me calm.

Truth is, if I hadn’t been dating that other guy, I probably wouldn’t have found Paul’s timing acceptable and would have sabotaged things by prematurely kicking him to the curb.

Men Need Positive Feedback Too
Another point about this situation is sometimes men look for positive feedback from the woman. You chose not to respond to his casual text which was your choice of course. But, by not answering, what were you hoping to convey? Did you want him to think you didn’t want to see him again? That’s the message he probably got even if that’s not what you intended.

While I agree with women when they complain about men who text too much or never call, you were just getting started. He might have called had you answered him. As a dating coach,  I hear this from male clients – women won’t give them an inch or any positive feedback. Yes, some guys hang back using the three day rule and do need a little encouragement from the woman. Responding to them is how to provide it.

A Little Encouragement Can Make a Difference
Sadly, I will say many women are demanding and don’t give most men a chance. As a result, lots of men, good guys who would make great mates, have been beat up and feel dejected. They are tired of taking ALL the risk. So a little positive feedback that lets a man know you are happy to hear from him is a smart move.

You don’t need to say much; just keep it light and simple. Respond to his comment on the game and then you can say you had a good time. What’s the harm? That doesn’t make you over eager, too enthusiastic or desperate. It makes you seem warm, positive and willing to share a small degree of vulnerability which is very sexy and feminine to be honest with you.

It’s Not Too Late to Text Him Back
You may be out of his league, but now that’s true for different reason. It might not be too late though. You can still text him back and say how you somehow missed seeing it. Then tell him you had fun and mention something you are doing. Keep it light and short. You never know, a little encouragement could bring him back.

I am a big believer in letting the man lead and not chasing men. This dating advice does not go against either of those principles. He reached out to you, so the ball is still in your court. Toss it back to see what happens. It might not work, but then you won’t wonder what would have happened if you had.

Give Men a Chance
You may be used to men calling you the next day which feels great versus following the traditional three day rule. But to me, waiting three days to start a conversation with a casual text is completely acceptable. I’m all in favor of having high standards so long as you are realistic with your expectations.

It’s easy to say no to men. Instead, I’m going to encourage you to open up a little and give men a chance. Offer a little positive encouragement and give them a chance to win you over. Thank goodness I followed this advice and ended up with my husband whose timing was slower than mine. I’m just saying it worked out great for me and could for you too.

Want more insightful dating advice like this? Download my free book 7 Dire Dating Mistakes Women Make that Keep You Single and you’ll get my newsletter too.

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony,,, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

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