When a first date is great or awful, it’s pretty clear whether there will be a second. But what about when you’re on the fence?

It’s a decision I struggle with sometimes. I know that connection and attraction can grow over time, so if I have a decent time on a first date, I’ll probably go on a second. But do I want to take time out of my busy life for a third date with someone I’m not super-excited about? I often hem and haw over this one.

I chatted with Solo-ish contributor Craig Schattner and Alex Matthews, a female friend of Schattner’s, about how they decide whether or not to keep seeing someone. (Click on the podcast below to listen to our conversation.)

For an expert opinion, I called in online dating coach Erika Ettin, founder of A Little Nudge. Ettin thinks a second or third date isn’t a big decision at all. “People put this pressure on themselves to make a decision on a first or second date, but you don’t actually have to make a decision yet,” Ettin says. “The only criteria you need to use is: Do I want to have one more conversation with this person?”

It’s a philosophy Ettin followed long before she began advising people on their love lives. She recalls a guy she found very boring on the first date. But then he invited her to a baseball game, and she loves baseball, so she went. “He was a completely different person,” she tells me. “He was funny; he opened up.” They ended up dating for a year and a half.

She also recalls a client of hers who wasn’t so sure about a new guy but continued seeing him just for that one more conversation. They’re married now.

“How often do you have that crazy chemistry on a first date?” Ettin asks. “Sometimes I think it’s better not to have that,” because you end up with rose-colored glasses about how great a person is before getting to know him or her.

If you’re undecided about those early dates, Ettin says, “the only thing you have to lose is another hour out of your life.”

Fair enough. But after three dates, if no one leans in for a kiss, I think we’re probably just friends.

This is the first episode of a biweekly Solo-ish podcast. Stay tuned for more! 

READ MORE: