Question: According to 90’s indie comedy Swingers (and every dude who’s ever seen it or heard of it and their younger brothers, nephews and children), the standard number of days to wait to call a girl after you get her number is…?

Answer: Easy. Everyone knows it’s 3. If you don’t want to seem desperate, but also don’t want to piss her off, wait 3 days to call.

We’ve come a long way since the 90s, however (I mean, I can’t remember the last time I wore more than one flannel shirt at one time or boxer shorts as pants), and might it be time to update our strategy regarding number-acquisition-to-contact-time-lag. Here’s the breakdown.

If You’re Going to Text: Text Carefully.

This low-stress means of communication didn’t exist in the 90’s, but we’ve yet to adjust our expectations based on the new technology. With a phone call, you’ve got to worry about the quaver in your voice betraying your total dweebiness to a girl, not to mention simple having nothing to say. Texts are a lot simpler. Waiting 3 days to text “Hey. Met you at the club. What’s up?” seems like an inappropriate amount of build-up. It’s also a lot easier to ignore a text, so waiting until you’ve drifted to the back of her mind might not work in your favor. So, does the 3 day rule apply to texting?

Verdict: It’s more about what you say than how long you wait. If it’s “Hey. Me and and my friends are at X bar. You should come meet us,” you can send that text mere hours after you meet and still not seem like a clingy, energy-sucking freak. If it’s “It was great meeting you. I feel like we really made a connection. How would you feel about coffee some time?” then it doesn’t matter how long you wait because you’ll be waiting a lot longer for a reply.

If You’re Going to Call, You Should Know: Women Know About The 3 Day Rule

Some women still prefer an actual phone call to a text. If you’re going to go this route, however, you should know that the cat’s out of the bag. Waiting 3 days no longer makes you seem cool and detached. It makes you seem like a guy who knows he’s supposed to wait 3 days.

This gives guys a lot to consider. Waiting 3 days, in a way, is now the equivalent of holding the door. Letting any more (or less) time elapse could be considered disrespectful (i.e. “I’m not worth your A game?”). On the other hand, calling on day 3 breaks the number one rule of courtship — stand out.

Ask Men’s Doc Love insists that you must wait a week to call her, the logic being that if she really likes you, she won’t mind that you made her wait. He claims that a quality woman will be flexible and not so uptight as to get angry or hurt about the obvious game that you’re playing with her. Doc Love’s philosophy overlooks the fact that many quality women have been totally screwed over by guys, and games like this one are a red flag. Not wanting to waste time with a guy who’s likely to mess with her emotions doesn’t mean she’s rigid. It means she’s smart.

Still, most woman will admit to the fact that any time when a guy who they otherwise might like comes on too strong, it’s a turn-off. So what do we do?

Verdict: It’s important to take the temperature of the women in question in your initial interaction. If it seems like she’s got guys lined up out the door? 2 days. This shows that you think the rules are for suckers and you’re not afraid of appearing desperate. Because, whatever, you’re not.

If you can’t get a read on her? 4 days. Making her wait just a day longer than she’s expecting is flirty. It creates just a little anticipation, but it’s not long so long that it’s disrespectful. She hasn’t yet gotten to the point where she assumes you’re not going to call at all, but she’s beginning to wonder, which generates interest.

Either Way: Take Your Own Temperature First

This is probably the most important consideration in determining when to call or text. How nervous are you? How badly do you want a date with this girl? How desperate you appear has more to do with how desperate you actually are than anything else. Knowing yourself is half the battle.


If you’re confident:

Call: 2 days.

Text: Later that night or the next day
You’re a rebel who defies convention and isn’t going to let some men’s magazine tell him how to act.

If you’re a little nervous:

Call: 4 days
It will give you a chance to calm down before you find yourself blabbering into the phone like a jackass.

Text: 4 days
You’re going to need the time to think about what to say and waiting gives you the illusion that you don’t care as much about it as you obviously do.

If you’re super nervous:

Call or Text: 3 days
You’re obviously a little shy, and there’s not much you’re going to be able to do about the between the initial contact and the date you hope to get. The fact that “you’re trying to do this right” can be really attractive to the modern woman who’s gotten used to douchebaggery and disappearing acts. Remember that she liked you enough to give you her number, so show her that you like her enough not to totally screw it up (which you secretly fear you’re going to do).