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If You Don’t Send a Follow-up Text After Hanging Out With A Friend, You’re Doing It Wrong

The follow-up text. We’ve all been there. Let’s say you just returned home from a date that went “better-than-well.” Now you’re sitting on the couch, munching on some ice cream, debriefing with your roommate and waiting for the text. It’s torture. When are they going to text? Should I send the text? How many days should go by before I send it? Because what if they ghost? What would you do? We’ve all driven ourselves crazy waiting to receive or send a follow-up text at some point. But then there are the times when it seems the relationship deities are looking down on you… because then, the text rolls in.

“Had a great time with you tn”, “it was great meeting you!”, “we should do something again soon — when are you free?” 

Peace. 

It’s an almost indescribable feeling when you receive the awaited follow-up, or a positive response to the risk you took if you sent it yourself. The follow-up text ensures that you’re interested in continuing communication, shows that you would like to see them again, and simply affirms that you enjoyed the time you did spend together. It’s a foolproof way to augment a relationship, new or old.

So why should friendship be any different? Here’s my take: the follow-up text works with dates, and it works in the career world (because you know you have to send a follow-up after everything, from job interviews to rejection letters). So, why should it not be commonplace in our friendships?

The follow-up text works with dates, and it works in the career world. So, why should it not be commonplace in our friendships?

This is your sign to send a follow-up text to the last person you hung out with. I don’t care if it was two days ago; there’s no statute of limitations involved. For example, I got dinner with someone last night, and it was a great time. I felt really connected to this friend and was excited that we rekindled a friendship after meeting over five years ago in a pre-college program. So, I took the two minutes to send a text saying just that. For reference, here’s what I sent: Hi hi!! Can I just say it was so amazing seeing you today I absolutely LOVED the dinner vibes it was awesome. Can’t wait to reconnect in nyc or back at school, whichever comes first!

Now, the text doesn’t have to have that high a level of enthusiasm (I’m a very enthusiastic texter and person), and it certainly doesn’t have to be long. A simple “so great seeing you today! Can’t wait for the next hang :)” should be more than enough. That said, including a detail from the hangout or an anecdote that meant something to you can go a long, long way in cultivating communicative and open friendships. Sending a follow-up text isn’t really a real science… but then again, it kinda is.

Here’s another case study — I also FaceTimed a friend two days ago who I had yet to meet but was excited to, as she was a mutual friend of my good friend. We FaceTimed on Tuesday, and it’s Thursday now. And you know what? As I write this, I realize I didn’t send a follow-up! Oops (we can’t all be perfect). But here’s what I’m going to do to salvage the situation: I am going to stop what I’m doing and send a follow-up before I forget and let a week go by. Because we all know that once a week goes by, I’ll never get to it.

Okay… now that that’s done, let’s get back to it. 

In the same way that a dash of vanilla transforms a batch of cookie dough, a follow-up text improves a friendship. Can’t really explain it — it’s just better for being there.

Trust me, a follow-up text is the easiest way to show a friend that you care. Have you ever received one and been upset? I’d wager it’s hard to think of any specific examples. It usually feels good to be affirmed in relationships, friendships included. It might seem like a hassle at first, sending a follow-up after every time you hangout with a friend, but once you get into the routine, it becomes second nature. I won’t lie, it does take dedication (did you see how I just stopped writing to send one to a friend I saw two days ago?), but the benefits of sending are really tenfold. 

I’m not positing that you need to make a list of everyone you saw at a party and send out 15+ follow-up texts, nor do you need to send one if you had a negative interaction with said friend. And I’m definitely not suggesting you be an inauthentic version of yourself and swallow feelings to please others. I am, however, close to certain that the minimal amount of effort it takes to send a follow-up text after seeing a friend makes for healthier, more open and profound friendships. In the same way that a dash of vanilla transforms a batch of cookie dough, a follow-up text improves a friendship. Can’t really explain it — it’s just better for being there.

So, next time you see a friend, whether it’s the friend you see every week for lunch or the one you see every other year due to distance and time, make sure to take the two minutes and let them know how great it was to see them. You’ll both be glad you did.

Elizabeth Sander is a National Writer for Her Campus and a recent graduate from Tufts University, where she earned a BA in English and French. Elizabeth served as a Her Campus Editorial Intern for the Fall of 2020 and loved every minute. When not writing articles about all things culture and style (or the occasional personal essay), Elizabeth spends time creative writing, reading and working on flying crow pose. Next up on Elizabeth's agenda is Columbia J-School! Find her on insta @elizsander or for meals inspo @confinemnt_kitchn
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