Ideas, Information & Inspiration

Third date tips to help you make the most out of your new relationship.

10 mins
What You Will Learn
  • Why Third Dates are Important
  • Tips for a Good Third Date
by Marcus Life Learning Team

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, then you have probably had a great first date – and an even better second date. So let’s talk about third dates. When you think about third dates, what comes to mind? Romance, boredom, nervousness? Some people place a lot of importance on the third date, from making your relationship more physical, labeling things “official,” or cutting your losses and walking away if you aren’t feeling a spark. We’re here to tell you to chill. Sure, the third date does have a lot of importance placed on it, but only as much as you’re willing to allow. Our third date tips will help you make things more comfortable, assess where you see things going in the future, and even help show you how to navigate any awkward moments.

Is There Enough Fun In Your Foundation?

Image of a couple on a date on a boat.

Even though you’ve only gone on two dates, you still have a relationship with your new partner, similar to how you have a relationship with friends or coworkers. There aren’t any labels yet, and you probably still call it “casual,” but it’s a relationship nonetheless. Every relationship is different, but the course you’re on now will probably be a representation of how it will continue–if you want it to continue, of course. If you found yourself laughing on dates one and two so hard you thought you’d pee your pants, it’s a safe bet that your partner will continue to crack you up going forward. If the person you’re dating is moody and mysterious, that’s probably not going to change two or three months down the line.

That’s not to say that people don’t change or that your relationship will always stay the same. Dating is a progression. People tend to keep things light on the first date, then open up a bit more on the second. The third date is when we typically lay all (or most) of our cards on the table and show our true selves. Our third date tips will help you know how and when to open up. You’ve been building a foundation for a relationship, and the third date is when you ask yourself if it’s strong enough to construct something on top of it. Things like financial goals, personality traits, looks, and senses of humor play essential parts in relationships, and dating is how we find partners who mesh with us.

The third date isn’t make-or-break when it comes to continuing a relationship or bailing. Still, it’s not a bad time to put your new relationship under a microscope to see if it has the potential for something bigger and better. This isn’t a one-sided decision you can make all on your own. The best way to figure these things out is to talk about them with your new partner. Keep in mind that you’re still on a date during serious conversations, and having fun should come first. You never know what you’ll learn when you’re mini-golfing or go-karting with someone, so don’t spend the whole date checking relationship requirements off of your mental checklist. You’re not going to know whether someone is your soulmate after three dates, but moving beyond your third date means that you’re willing to give him or her a chance. Third date tips will only get you so far. You’re going to have to go with your gut instinct at some point.

Image of an older couple on a date at the beach.

Your Third Date Strategy

  • Take Your Game Plan To The Next Level
    Your first two dates were probably short and casual so that you didn’t burn each other out. It’s a great idea to have an easy option to bail if you aren’t feeling it on the first or second date. Now, though, you know you like your dating partner and want to spend more time with them. As far as third date tips go, you may find this one shocking. Your third date can (and should) take all day! That’s right, we said all day! If that scares you, then maybe a third date isn’t in the cards for you. If you are ready for the challenge, however, then consider taking a drive to a scenic viewpoint and having a picnic.

Go for a nice long hike. Get breakfast and then go window-shopping together at vintage stores. Whatever you do, make sure it gives you enough time to see and talk to your date for an extended period of time. Don’t rush yourself, and make sure you both choose what your activity will be. One of you asked the other person out on your first date. The second date was something inspired by one person’s interests. So, the third date should be neutral grounds that intrigue both parties equally.

Bonus tip: Take some selfies together on the third date! If this is the real beginning of your relationship, it’s fun to have it documented.

Image of a couple holding themselves in each other's arms.
  • It’s Smoochin’ Time…Or Not
    If you already laid a fat smooch on your partner on date number two, then be sure to greet them with some affection. It’s totally normal, and it sets a romantic tone for the rest of the day. You’re well on your way to being an official couple, after all. Holding hands is also a fun way to show your affection while walking somewhere. If you’re sitting, an arm over the shoulder or around the other person’s waist is a sexy, romantic way to show warmth. A little bit of PDA is absolutely fine on the third date, and it’s fun to lose yourself in the silliness and giddiness of a new relationship.

However, some people won’t feel comfortable getting physical on the third date, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you have an attraction but don’t feel comfortable acting on it, express that to your partner and move on. If you want a healthy long-term relationship, sometimes playing it slow is the right move. Remember, even though the third date carries some physicality expectations, nobody is owed anything. This is one of the most-important third date tips to know. Not everybody is on the same timetable when it comes to intimacy. If that’s the case then take it slow, go with the flow and just let it happen naturally. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Image of a couple sharing wine on a date.
  • It’s Time To Go Deep
    Third dates are not the time to hold back in your conversations. It’s time to get personal and discuss your goals. It’s time to flirt openly. And, it’s time for you to get serious about your life ambitions and where you want your relationship to go. When you reveal your true self and put all of your cards on the table, you’re telling the other person that you value honesty and integrity. It’s okay to talk about old relationships, to an extent, but keep in mind that some things are better left unshared. Our third date tips will help you prepare, but many of the nuances to dating come down to instinct. Still, don’t shy away from awkwardness.

Knowing about someone’s past can help you understand where he or she is going in the future.

Asking probing questions and sharing your doubts and concerns can be awkward, but it’s important because it helps people grow. You can initiate these deep conversations by going first. Share stories from your childhood or about your hopes and dreams, and then ask them to reciprocate. Go out on a limb. You only get what you give.

  • Post-Date Rundown
    By now, you should have a better understanding of whether you and your date are compatible with one another. Do you have shared goals and ideals? If there are any potential red flags (problems that might arise in the future), are they deal-breakers, or is your date worth working through those issues if they come up? If you need help analyzing these things, use these third date tips. At the end of the day, or in your case, at the end of the date, it is always helpful to take some time to reflect and think about how you felt, how they felt and how you want to move forward, for example.
Ask yourself the following questions and use your answers to determine whether this relationship is just blossoming or starting to fizzle.
  1. Have your conversations continued to improve?
  2. Are you still smiling the same way you did on your first date?
  3. Is laughter an integral part of your new relationship?
  4. Have you shown your partner empathy? Have they returned it?
  5. Is this person a good person? Someone you would be proud to bring home to mom & dad?
  6. Is there enough chemistry to sustain a long-term relationship?
Image of a couple dancing together in the kitchen.

Bottom Line: Are You Still Having Fun?

With all of the pressures that come with third dates, sometimes it’s hard to remember that dating is supposed to be fun. You can ask yourself a gazillion questions, study conversation topics until your head starts spinning, and spend hours overanalyzing harmless texts, but the primary goal of dating is to spend time with someone you like. As long as you are still having fun, you can put the future on hold. But, if you followed our third date tips, then you’ll have a head start on knowing whether your developing relationship is worth pursuing. Be sure to tell us how it goes.

List of tips for a third date.
List of tips for a third date.
  1. What are some things you currently do on third dates that work?
  2. What tips from above do you think will benefit your next date?
Photo of Marcus Lemonis