There’s some advice about dating that knows no boundaries. This isn’t a race thing. Sometimes, good dating advice is just good dating advice, and this is one of those times. Below, I’m going to show you a method of getting around that awkward “when do I call?” conundrum that so many people face right after a successful first date. It’s actually easier than you might think, and honestly, it comes down to the fact that most people overthink it. Here’s what you do:

After the first date, whether or not there’s a goodnight kiss involved, and before you part company for the evening, make a definitive plan to call. There are a couple of different scenarios here. If you’ve driven separately (not really recommended), ask her to call you when she gets home, so you know she made it home safely. Then, when you’re on the phone, set up another definitive time you’ll be calling again before you hang up. If you’ve picked her up and are taking her home, tell her you’ll call her when you get home so that she knows you made it home safely, and again, set a definitive time for the call after that.

Ladies, I know that in this modern age, you’re free to do the calling and set the dates, and that’s fine. The same advice will work for you, but in my experience, women generally want to be the women in a relationship, and they’d prefer that men be the men. The advice above is in that spirit. If you want to be the one to do the calling in the above scenarios, that’s fine. If you’d like to gently guide your man to BE the man in your relationship, then the advice above can still work, simply add the twist that when the date ends, you make the recommendation to him that he call you when he gets home so that you know he got home safely. Just make it clear to him that you enjoyed the date, and are looking forward to your next outing together.

Of course, if you don’t hear from your date at the appointed time, you should absolutely make one or perhaps two additional attempts to follow up, but if you still don’t hear anything, then that’s sending you a pretty clear message too, right? In any case, the plan outlined above takes all the guesswork out of the equation, and simplifies everything, which is as it should be.

For the guys reading this, just bear in mind that in keeping with the overall spirit of this advice, most women want you to be the man in your relationship, so be the one to do this without being asked or prompted. Let her know right up-front that you’ve got a plan, then stick to it.