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Pour One Out For The Three-Day Dating Rule, 'Cuz It's Dead

When it comes to love, millennials are a confounding bunch. We're more interested in buying a house than paying for a wedding, and we're rapidly quitting our jobs to travel and see the world with a partner we'll never marry (and never divorce). We probably met our significant others on a dating app or stalked their social media before ever meeting IRL, and we tag our platonic friends in kooky relationship memes with the words “Soo us!” 

So how do the old-school dating rules apply to a generation that’s dramatically reshaping romance? Say, for example, the three-day rule. Popularized by the romcom, the three-day dating rule insists that a person wait three full days before contacting a potential suitor. A first-day text or call is too eager, a second-day contact seems planned, but three days is, somehow, the perfect amount of time.

Once a tried-and-true strategy for guys to hit the sweet spot between interested but not desperate, does that still apply when we carry around a tiny machine with 6,000 different ways to interact with people? What does the three-day dating rule mean to younger millennials, if anything? I reached out to real-life millennial daters to find out how they approach this possibly archaic rule.

I have no idea what you’re talking about, you old, old maiden.

Millennials Kristina (26) and Emily (26) both answered my question with a question: “Is this a thing?” They also told me they'd never even heard of the three-day texting rule.

Both Kristina and Emily were behind a play-no-games dating methodology. “If you like someone show them, tell them, kiss them,” explains Kristina. “It's silly to do anything otherwise, and while I understand the fun of playing up sexual tension and excitement, who has the time to spend agonizing over what it means when he texts you right away versus an hour later?” This is sound logic. Why not communicate your feelings like an adult? 

“IF YOU LIKE SOMEONE SHOW THEM, TELL THEM, KISS THEM. IT'S SILLY TO DO ANYTHING OTHERWISE.”

Kristina adds that with apps and dating profiles, potential suitors names, ages, hometowns, and occupations are all at your fingertips. With that type of access, it makes sense to accelerate things. Three days can just be too long when you may have found the one (and Google images of their childhood home). And if they are the one, they also probably had a great date and would want to communicate that with their suitor. “I like to know you’re thinking about me,” says Emily.

Yeah, I’ve heard of it but it’s not for me

Three scholarly youths, Alyssa (27), Sarah (23) and Nerisha (24), all confirmed that they had heard of the rule but it was not for them. “Waiting to text just to make them want me more seems like psychological warfare that no healthy relationship needs,” explains Alyssa. Alyssa noted that she would never want to date someone who is interested in the three-day rule and the strategy behind it. Nerisha felt the same. “If you were feeling her enough to ask for her number and the vibes are all there, why wait?” she says. “This could be the woman of your dreams but you playing.” For Sarah, she doesn’t have time to wait when she can literally swipe and find a new “you” in the blink of an eye.

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Nerisha leaves a final word to the rule-following fuccbois potential suitors of her world: “You're sitting on your couch, playing NBA 2K18, and your life is passing you by.”

I’ve done it but no more! 

“I’m Eric (28) and I’ve been a three-day ruler.” Hi, Eric. Eric was the only man who answered our question and the first to admit that waiting three days to text someone was not the “2018” way to go about things. His decision to wait to text potential companions stemmed from his own desire to not come on too strong, too early. “When you meet someone in a casual setting it can sometimes look insane to text right away to set up the next hangout,” says Eric. 

“YOU'RE SITTING ON YOUR COUCH, PLAYING NBA 2K18, AND YOUR LIFE IS PASSING YOU BY.”

“Instead, when you wait a few days you can seem like you have a life and figure out if you can spend more time with a future mans.” Three-day texting can sometimes be just a logistical issue. We’re busy and we’re all moving fast as all the participants could agree, so why not make sure you are ready to add a new element to your world and take, say, three days? Eric admits that if he goes on a date with someone and they have a good time he’ll probably text quickly after because they’ve probably previously texted. “It’s a thing, I’ve both sent and received texts that fall under the three-day rule, but the world is trash so I think I’ll just text a guy before the world ends.” 

In a digital age when we move at lightspeed, we don’t have time to wait around for those three agonizing days. If you’ve found love, the advice from the youths (aka, the future) is to jump on it.

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