It’s an all-too-common situation. You really hit it off with a date, but according to the rules, you’re now supposed to wait. And wait. And wait.

Forget all that.

It’s 2019, and the rules of the game we all (frankly) loathe need not apply anymore. In fact, it’s time for all of us to embrace the fact that it truly doesn’t matter if it’s the guy or the girl who sends the next text between the first and second date, or even the 11th and 12th date. Instead of compulsively checking your phone, mentally running through every second of your outing, and stalking him on social media, why not slide in with a flirty-yet-engaging line that keeps his interest on high alert? Really, truly, the worst thing that can happen is you learn he’s just not that into you — and wouldn’t you rather know that now than a week from now?

As two single people who are putting ourselves out there every damn day, we know how hard it can be to craft the ideal follow-up without crossing over into boring platitudes or accidental desperation. But thanks to our own personal hits and misses, we’re also the perfect male-female duo to tell you exactly how to show off your flirty side and get the next date with that would-be significant other (or significant tomorrow night) on the Google Cal.

While these texts are great inspo when you’re trying to figure out what to text a guy (and Google data tells us this is something inquiring minds want to know), they work well no matter how the person you’re texting identifies.

1. Cut straight to the chase.

Why she thinks it works: Why beat around the bush? If you had a good time last night, tell him. If he came away with the same feelings, give him the option to say it back. Plus, think of all the time and mental energy you’ll save without the back-and-forth monotony of waiting for casual chat to turn to next steps. We could all do with a little less “hey, how are you?” and a little more “how about Thursday night?”

Why he thinks it works: I appreciate (and am maybe even a little intimidated by, but in a good way) the confidence, efficiency, and forwardness. This approach says, “why two-step, when we could tango?”

2. Bring on the GIFs.

Why she thinks it works: GIFs are an easy way to spice things up and get your message across. As long as you remember the ground rules — it’s pronounced with a hard G, you should always know where the GIF came from, and don’t use more than one or two per conversation — you’re sure to catch his eye.

Why he thinks it works: The GIF is a fail-safe way to say it all without saying anything at all. A bear waving at me? Yeah, I’ll bite. GIF selection is an important art. Is it Michael Scott or Beyonce? Is it a yas queen or a treat yo’ self? I’m not gonna split hairs as long as it makes me crack a smile and shows me that she’s as witty as I like to think I am (I’m not).

3. Play an altogether different kind of game.

Why she thinks it works: There never seems to be a middle ground between too much and too little information on a first date; a rousing game of two truths and a lie when trying to get a second can solve that problem. Not only can you prompt activities (“I can always beat anyone at Mario Kart”) and challenges (“I will eat any kind of food, no matter how exotic”) by strategically choosing what you reveal, you’re also sharing something about yourself — and ultimately that makes things move along more quickly.

Why he thinks it works: This is a classic and one of my favorites. It opens the door to a world of possibilities, from revealing an interesting fact or experience to throwing down the gauntlet on a challenge of skill (I can definitely beat her in Mario Kart). It says, “Hey, I’m fun, a little mysterious, definitely surprising, and a competitor. Can you keep up?” The only thing I can say is, “I certainly hope so!”

4. Ask him for his own personal hot take.

Why she thinks it works: This is my go-to move. Asking him to choose between two incredibly amazing (or terrible) options is a surefire way to keep a good convo going. Plus, a little witty banter lets you show off your flirty side while ensuring he knows that you’re interested in his opinions and want to keep chatting.

Why he thinks it works: Lining yourself up for a hot take, whether to test compatibility or set up some playful combativeness, is a surefire way to get eyes on the screen and fingers on the keyboard. Look to the timeless debates of our era: “The Office” or “Seinfeld?” Is a hot dog a sandwich? Beyonce or T-Swift? Regardless of the choices and her take on it, I’m on board for a dialogue. Maybe over dinner?

5. Embrace your inner wordplay lover.

Why she thinks it works: A good pun will get you anything you want in life, including a second date. So turnip the wordplay a bit and tell that cute-cumber the goofiest, most adorable thing you can come up with.

Why he thinks it works: Wordplay can be simple, but the savvy speaker is able to set the stage for a whole back and forth. Establish the theme and stick to it for as long as possible — it’s a game of attrition. At the very least, I’m curious if I can beet her at her own game.

6. Fish for a superlative.

Why she thinks it works: You matched, you met, you dig him. Now, it’s time to figure out exactly what makes him tick. Asking what his favorite type of food is or what the best show he’s watched recently might seem obvious, but it works to break the ice between hangouts. Plus, finding the common ground of a shared love or a mutual hatred might prompt one of you to suggest you experience that shared feeling IRL. More importantly though, at the end of the day, it’s a question — and questions get responses.

Why he thinks it works: It’s a high-school yearbook trope for sure, but being put on the spot to pick the “best,” “funniest,” “scariest,” or “most delicious,” puts me on my toes every time. When I see this come in, I know she’s already got something in mind. Now, the question is, do I play into it in and attempt to find common ground, or do I set myself apart as the confident and unique guy that I am?

7. If he has a pet, talk about it. Seriously.

Why she thinks it works: If there is an animal involved in any aspect of someone’s life, they want to talk about it. Why would you know they have an animal in their life otherwise? Ask for a photo. It’s a freebie.

Why he thinks it works: Definitely a great move. I love talking about my four-legged friend, and it tells me that she wants to get to know him too. He’s my partner in crime and always doing something worth snapping a pic of. Now I know she can be that person I share it with. But this also sets me up to send over a selfie of the two of us. Good boy!     

8. Ask him about something he said when you saw him.

Why she thinks it works: Building on existing conversation is a fundamental part of most human interactions. We just always tend to forget something so simple in the search for the perfect mate. If you’re not comfortable being straightforward about feeling the spark, use what caught your interest in the first place to see if he felt it too. Pro tip: Start thinking about this when you’re together. It makes the process a whole lot easier if you’re composing the text as you sit across from each other at a bar.

Why he thinks it works: This shows me that she was listening — and I was genuinely afraid I was boring her the whole time. I’m happy to tell her more about my interests, hobbies, and how I like to spend the weekend in a quest to figure out how much we could possibly have in common. A little? A lot? It’s not as much talking about myself as finding the common things we’ll laugh about next time I see her.

9. Deliver the insanely corny one-liner you’ve been sitting on all these years.

Why she thinks it works: There is no better feeling than landing a joke, and it’s twice as satisfying when you get a second date out of it as well. But seriously, who doesn’t have a couple cheesy one-liners lying around just waiting to have their moment? Make sure to use something that’s so incredibly cringeworthy that he can’t help but laugh (and not run screaming for the hills).

Why he thinks it works: Who doesn’t love a crisp, semi-clean one-liner? It lets me know that she’s got a sense of humor and isn’t afraid to lay it all on the line to get my attention quickly. There are literally thousands of these out there on the world wide web, so choose carefully.