By Cassandra Marie Vella
There are so many girls on the internet sharing dating advice and tips based on the mysterious “Rule of 3.”
Whether you’re looking for a recurring hookup or a future boo-thang, the 3-Day Rule may come in handy to save your search from ending in accidental heartbreak.
For starters, the 3-Day Rule is when you take a 3-day break from texting/contacting/messaging your potential new bae to see if he/she will reach out to you first from time to time as well.
When it comes to dating someone new, unofficially, the fact that nobody can read minds really grinds some gears. There’s always the constant downhill of “what-if” but the possibility that this person could be the one also lingers on.
When your hopeful fantasies start to cloud your brain, take a step back and really think about what’s going on. Between the positive and negative “what-ifs,” read into the situation at hand before assuming everything you’re doing and feeling is being reciprocated.
The 3-Day Rule is tough to start, but it can be done with some patience, trust, and hope when it strongly relies on the use of phones or messaging apps.
First, after those good morning/night texts and emojis, take a three-day break from texting first. Yes, three whole days of waiting for your potential lover to send you a message first.
Unfortunately, SnapChats do not count; unless there’s a high stake snap streak on the line, always do it for the streak. Snap streak or not, grab some ice cream, put on some Netflix, and hunker down in a blanket nest for 3 days, or go out with all your besties for three days; do whatever it takes to not creep him/her out and refrain from sending those first messages for 3 days.
If he/she texts you first during that break like everything’s a-okay, you’re in the clear. He/she’s a keeper.
But consider it a possible red flag if he/she is either:
A) Obsessive and seems like he/she wants to control where you’re at after you stopped sending them the first hellos; including aggression or super-clinginess
B) Or, completely silent and doesn’t even realize there was anything going on to begin with; and/or doesn’t even know who you are
It’s not highly recommended to tell them you’re implementing the 3-Day Rule, keep it subtle. Humans, in general, don’t like pop quizzes and tests, so if you want to give this one a shot, you can choose to keep it on the DL, or be honest with your potential bae if honesty is their thing.
Head’s up: Try to keep yourself as busy as you possibly can during this waiting period, because the longer you dwell on it, the more anxious you’re gonna make yourself.
Coming to terms may be the hardest part of testing the 3-Day Rule, but it may save your love life once or twice.
Whether you struggle from finding yourself getting attached too quickly or have a thing for guys who are detached from their phones, this trick might offer you some guidance in figuring out what, or who, you really want to choose.
If your potential relationship survives the three-day rule, keep it. Keep in mind that no message can be a message all in itself.
Cassandra Marie Vella is a writer, blogger, and managing editor for Unwritten. She writes primarily about pop culture, lifestyle, love and relationship topics. Visit her website for more of her work.
This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.
The three-day rule of texting says you should give someone three days after a date to text you back. After that, you can give up on expecting to hear from them and curse their name in perpetuity. Three days, though? It’s unbelievable that there are still people doing this. Three days is enough time to go viral, conceive a baby, exercise once, and watch three Netflix series — it’s a lifetime.
With technological advances and the deterioration of my personal patience, I now expect my dates to text significantly faster. Waiting three days is canceled. The following alternatives to the three-day rule outline what events can occur and how much time can elapse without my date texting me, before I declare the relationship over.
The 7-Minute Rule: If you haven’t texted within seven minutes of my leaving your house, you clearly don’t care whether or not I made it to my Uber Pool quickly enough to evade the cancellation fee, and I’m just not down to be with someone that selfish.
The 4-Subtweet Rule: Look, I’m going to subtweet you on the way out of your apartment (barring exceptional, life-threatening circumstances like my phone being out of battery). And I’m going to subtweet you again when I get home. And probably the next time I pee. But if I make it to a fourth subtweet — “guys who still think the pull-out method works are canceled” — and you haven’t pulled out your phone to ask if it was me who looked at your LinkedIn 17 times, then you’re canceled.
The 6-Minutes-of-Browsing-Self-Help-Books Rule: If I’ve had time to check out self-help books online for more than six minutes before you’ve checked in, don’t even bother. Once I read Why You Don’t Need a Man or Carbs, I’m going to be so over you and your lasagna that I stole from your fridge. So you better ask if I want to get dinner this week and/or if I followed your cousin on Instagram before my browsing is done — you won’t get the chance after. And yeah, I followed a few of them. Sorry.
The 2-Taylor-Swift-Album Rule: Yes, I understand that she puts out albums at a startling pace, so if one comes out before you’ve had a chance to text me, I don’t blame you. I mean, she only gave seventeen hours’ notice for folklore — she could feasibly drop one and then announce it the next day. But if we get to a second album and you haven’t had the decency to ask if it was me who reported your Hinge profile to get you kicked off the site — well, you’re just not communicative enough for me to give you my time.
The 3-IG-Story Rule: If you’ve had time to post three Instagram stories but you haven’t had time to text me, “Hey, how’d you get my sister’s address?” — it’s over.
The 8-Therapist-Voicemails Rule: You’ve given me so much time that I’ve left my therapist eight voicemails about how every time I sleep with someone new, they immediately pull away, I just don’t know what’s wrong with me, they seem unwilling to talk about engagement rings or our future joint checking account even though it’s been three weeks, will anyone ever love me like that teddy bear did, etc. Consider my love withdrawn.
The 5-Nervous-Breakdowns Rule: It’s OK if I have one nervous breakdown (glorified crying, TBH, which is an unglorified orgasm, IMO) before you text me. And then it’s OK if I have three more. I am an adult woman who is overwhelmingly proud of herself if she brews coffee without setting off the fire alarm, so, yeah, sometimes breakdowns happen. But if I get to my fifth nervous breakdown, and you haven’t so much as texted me asking if I told your mom that I’m your girlfriend, then I will never be your girlfriend (unless you, like, ask me to).
The 900-Word-Email-About-the-Futility-of-Dating Rule: When I get home from your apartment, I may have some thoughts about the social custom we call “dating.” And I may begin to put them in an email to a close friend, distant friend, professional acquaintance, college kickball team mailing list, or your paternal grandfather. However, if this email grows so long it includes references to Gloria Steinem, Esther Perel, and Lana Del Rey — we’re through.
The Burning-Your-Name-in-Effigy-Cursing-the-Moment-We-Met-Creating-a-Voodoo-Doll-of-You-That-I-Won’t-Use-But-Will-Keep-Forever 3-Day Rule: Sorry, but if you waited three full days you kinda asked for it?
Excerpted from the book I’m More Dateable Than a Plate of Refried Beans: And Other Romantic Observations by Ginny Hogan. Copyright ©2022 by Ginny Hogan. Printed with permission from Chronicle Books.
Wondering if you should still follow the three day rule? Well, let’s start at the beginning…
Have you ever asked your parents for relationship advice?
If the answer is ‘no’, I’m not surprised. Chances are, the dating norms of your parents’ days were completely different from the dating world you’re part of now.
Your mother would probably never dare to meet a gentleman from the internet, and your father might be appalled at Bumble’s insistence on women making the first move.
Because dating has changed so much in the last ten, and even in the last five years, it can be difficult to know which dating rules still apply.
Of course, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to overthink any rules and we could simply be ourselves and tell someone when we like them. But, that’s easier said than done.
The three day rule is a dating strategy that suggests waiting three days to call your date after you go out. The theory is that waiting three days makes you look less eager and/or desperate, and gives your date time to realize how much they liked you when they think you might not contact them.
Essentially, the three day rule is all about playing hard to get. But, is it still relevant in today’s instantaneous dating landscape?
Is the three day rule still relevant?
In a simple word, no.
The speed of dating has changed
Dating apps, texting, and other technological advances have made dating quicker and easier than ever.
There was once a time where you wouldn’t dream of seeing a new dating partner more than once in a week. Nowadays, some people go out with a Tinder match that they swiped on just hours ago. If things go well, they may spend the whole weekend in bed together.
Will waiting three days ruin your chances?
While waiting three days to call (or more likely, text) your date may not completely ruin your chances, there’s also a good chance that your date may write you off as being wishy-washy.
There’s also a chance that in those three days, your date has matched and/or gone out with someone new that they’re putting their energy into instead.
Your date’s other matches are probably not waiting three days to message them back, so if you’ve already met them in person and liked them, why should you?
Even if your date isn’t chatting with tons of matches on their app of choice, there’s also a chance that they’re simply just busy. Studies have found that today’s teens and millennials are busier than ever.
Many single people not only have an active dating life, but they’re also likely busy with work, side hustles, a bustling social life, and potentially a recreational hobby like an intramural softball league or tantra training class.
Even if your date is still interested in going out after you wait three days, they might be booked for the next two weeks before they can see you again.
Many 20-somethings haven’t even heard of this rule
I’m going to be honest here and tell you that I actually didn’t know what the three day rule was when I first heard it, and I write about dating for a living.
Instead, I thought about the matchmaking service that goes by the same name. Then, I thought maybe the three day rule is similar to the three date rule, an unwritten rule that you should wait until the third date to have sex.
I’m in my late 20s, so the fact that I didn’t even know what this rule was is a pretty good indicator that it’s past its expiration date. In 2018, a writer for Elle asked her peers about the three day rule and two 26-year-olds also claimed they’d never heard of it. The writer, Chloe Hall, went on to officially proclaim the three day rule as “dead.”
What’s the new expectation for texting/calling after a first date?
I think many of my female peers will agree with me when I say that I expect a text from my date immediately after, or the morning after a dinner date. If he doesn’t send me that cliche, “I had a good time,” text, I assume he’s not going to.
And if he waits three days, I assume he’s playing games, which is not really something I’m interested in. Women interviewed by Men’s Health on this subject echoed my feelings: if he waits three days, they assume he’s playing games.
It’s also not uncommon in today’s dating world that you plan the next date while on the first date if things are going really well. Tripp Kramer, host of the podcast How to Talk to Girls, told Men’s Health that he suggests bringing up that you’d like to go out again while on the date, then texting within 2-3 days to officially plan the date.
For example, towards the end of the date you can say, “This was really fun, I would love to do this again sometime if you’re interested. Maybe we can go to that arcade you mentioned always wanting to visit.” If your date says yes, you can text them within a day or two something like, “Hey! Hope you’re having a good week. Wanna hit that arcade Thursday night?”
Just because you’re texting your date sooner doesn’t mean you have to chit-chat. Getting straight to the point makes it clear you’re interested and gives you time to bond IRL on the date rather than over text where things can get misinterpreted more easily.
The bottom line
While there’s no denying that playing hard to get and leaving a little mystery works at times, today’s singles are tired of playing games and can see through silly dating rules more quickly than our parents did. We’re also impatient and we like to get what we want with a click of a button.
Our advice – keep the mystery alive by not texting a new match every detail of your day and instead focus on making concrete plans as evidence that you definitely want to see them again and get to know them better.