Posted by Pascal on November 14, 2019 at 10:55
Much like exploring a new destination, a first date is about discovery. You’re getting to know someone in real life for the first time. There is a part of unknown. And with every unknown comes uncertainty. Sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised. Your date can be great fun and you’ll be looking forward to seeing them again. Other times, not so much. You could be stuck on a bad date, only looking forward to catching the next bus home.
If you’ve been dating for any length of time, you’ll know that’s par for the course. Bad dates just happen from time to time. They are nothing to get discouraged about, though you might want to make them short and move on to more interesting activities. But how should you go about that? Should you actually have a friend call you during your date?
There are, it turns out, several other ways to cut a disappointing first date short.
Some of them are rather honorable.
Others are less respectable. But if you’re desperate to get out of an uncomfortable situation, you might accept the hit to your reputation. So, let’s have a look at them too.
The simplest, most respectful, and perhaps honorable way to end a bad date is also the hardest: being straightforward.
Sure, white lies, half-truths, or straight up invented excuses might feel helpful in a bind. They are less stressful and require little bravery on your part. But they might also backfire. These strategies can lead to misunderstandings and end up hurting the other person more than just pure, direct honesty.
Admittedly, honesty is harder to do.
It doesn’t let you conveniently skip out on your date. Nor does it allow you to make up an excuse to leave and then ghost them once you get home.
You also run the risk of hurting someone and having to deal with their reaction face to face. That could be uncomfortable for both you and your date.
But in the long run, it might be the best option. The one they’ll appreciate the most.
If you are thinking of leaving in the middle of a date, you probably have a good reason for doing it. Maybe they misrepresented themselves in their online profile or used very outdated pictures of themselves. Or they were being a gigantic jerk to you or the people around you. In that case, you are justified in leaving and letting them know why. No need to use gloves or sugar-coat anything.
In other cases, you’ll want to be more diplomatic. Perhaps the first minutes of the conversation revealed too big of a gap between your values and theirs. Or you realize you are just not attracted at all and would rather not spend hours of your time on a date that you know will go nowhere.
In that case a variation of: “Look, I’m going to head out. It was fun getting to know you but we’re probably not a good match for dating. I hope you can meet someone who’s a better fit, though,” should suffice.
The best part is that it will remove all misunderstandings. You also won’t have to deal with following up or having to decline further dates. You can move on and spend time with people better suited to you. So can your date. Everybody wins.
You could argue that white lies are harmless and completely fine. After all, you tell those to protect someone’s feelings.
Heck, the phrase “It was fun getting to know you,” in the previous example, is a white lie after all.
But you still should use judgement when telling these non-truths.
Too many “I had such a good time with you,” or “I really liked hanging out with you,” and your date might think you mean it.
Going for “I have to get up early,” or “I have a meeting in an hour that I should not miss,” could get you out of a bad date, but won’t prevent you from being invited to a second date.
Excuses like “I’m not feeling too well,” or “my friend just had an accident and needs my help,” seem creative, but your date might still check on you, insist on giving you a ride, or try to bring you chicken soup at home.
The point is, in all these situations, you just delayed the issue. While you might indeed put an end to a disappointing first date, you’ll still have to tell the truth at some point. You are not interested. Only this time, over text or email, which are only too easy to misinterpret.
And in the days between your bad first date and you rejecting a second date? They might have gotten their hopes up for nothing, and you might have dreaded receiving their phone call or having to deal with rejecting them.
Of course, you could still ghost them or decline their invitations until they get the hint. But would you like to be treated this way yourself? Unless the other party wronged you in some awful way, these methods are not a good reflection on your character, or lack thereof.
First dates are tricky business. You are interacting with someone face to face for the first time. There is no guarantee you will like each other. Or that the vibe will be there.
Sometimes you go on bad dates.
Some first dates are just not worth the time and energy you put into them. Under these circumstances, wanting to cut them short is normal. Your date might be feeling the same way you do, in which case, it will be easy. But after weeks of chatting online, they might be really into you and keep pursuing you if you leave things vague. The last thing you want is to lead them on.
With any approach you choose though, make sure the message is clear: the date ends here. Try to do this by being candid and respectful. Or opt for a white lie that lets you escape, followed by a text that leaves no room for misunderstandings. Maybe you are more comfortable communicating in writing than face to face. That’s okay too.
Whatever you do, send a clear, impossible-to-misconstrue message.
In short, leave no unfinished business.