How to end a bad date – without faked excuses

In a perfect world every date you went on would be full of interesting conversation and fascinating insights into the other person’s life. Even if your date doesn’t set your world on fire, the evening would be fun, satisfying and a good use of your precious spare time.

However, unfortunately not all dates end up like this. First meetings don’t always go well, leaving people desperate to pull any excuse out of the bag to be able to leave what might be an excruciatingly dull evening. According to recent research from Britannia Rescue, daters will only tolerate 51 minutes of a bad date before making an excuse to leave. More than a fifth of those surveyed say they’ve left a bad date halfway through, with daters taking an average of 25 minutes to decide if they and their date have a spark.

Why bad dates happen

It’s not unusual to end up on a bad date. You can only glean so much from an online dating profile so meeting in real life is really the first opportunity to suss out what somebody is really like. Some daters find several pre-screening phone calls are helpful to judge whether somebody is on the same page as them and worth getting to know better. Sometimes though, whatever vetting process you’ve tried out, a face-to-face meet-up is what it takes to reveal there is zero chemistry between you both and you just don’t click. Things can also go awry when your date’s behaviour is off-putting, or they don’t match up to what they’ve told you about in their profile. The conversation may be falling flat, and the long pauses aren’t romantic ones. Sometimes, unfortunately, there’s something about this person that leaves you feeling unsafe, which means it is certainly the right thing to do to call immediate time on the date.

So, things aren’t going as expected and you’re keen not to dedicate anymore time to something which you see has zero potential. How do you make an exit that won’t offend your date and risk hurting their feelings?

Make it short

A micro-date can be a good idea for a first meeting, to see if there is enough between you to warrant a proper first date. It’s a good idea to meet for coffee or a casual drink, which gives you an easy out if things aren’t going well. There’s nothing worse than being committed to a set menu or an activity you can’t get out of with somebody you really aren’t gelling with. You can also have something else lined up to add a time constraint to your meeting, and they won’t feel blown off if they knew in advance that you were meeting friends later on that night.

Be honest

It’s natural to not enjoy confrontation and want to protect somebody’s feelings, but it can be the kindest way to be upfront about the fact you’re not feeling it. It is worth being honest that you did not feel a romantic connection, while expressing gratitude for them coming out to meet you. It’s about letting them know it’s not working out the way you hoped without giving false hope that you’ll see them again in the future. Try not to fall back on lines like “I’ll text you” or “let’s do this again” when you have absolutely no intention of doing so.

If you are not feeling safe

It’s best to meet in public, where you can seek out the help of bar or restaurant staff to help call you a taxi if you are concerned about how a date is behaving, a recently Cosmopolitan article highlights. It also suggests calling a friend to come and collect you.

Don’t put up with bad behaviour

If somebody is being rude or offensive, don’t feel bad about paying your share of the bill and leaving – you don’t owe them an excuse.

When to give somebody the benefit of the doubt

It can pay to be open-minded, as sometimes nerves can easily sabotage the first part of your date. If you see romance potential in this person, and it does appear they are trying, it can be worth sticking around to see how things progress. Every date is a learning experience so by trying to establish a connection with this person, you’ll not be completely wasting your time.

And remember, lying is never a great idea in the dating world, as it can spiral and lead to all sorts of complicated stories being fabricated. Sometimes it pays to have in mind a reason you might need to bail early, such as your early meeting in the morning, or wanting to ensure you don’t miss the last train. Having a pre-prepared excuse which is true means you don’t have to resort to faked emergency calls from friends, or even worse, going to the bathroom and never returning!  

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