Things don’t always go according to plan on a date. For whatever reason — be it your date’s conversational skills, behavior, or general existence — you’re uncomfortable and desperately want out. If you’re feeling anxiety over how your date will handle rejection or your gut is telling you something is off, it’s time to go by any means necessary.
When anticipating a date, it’s easy to set your expectations high. And while we want you to go in with a positive attitude, it’s also a good idea to arm yourself with an exit strategy when you’re seeing someone you don’t know. Make sure your friends know where you are, be in control of your commute, and meet up in a public place. And when it comes to your safety, there’s no shame in using a white lie to help you make a swift departure.
We trust your instincts, and so should you. So, here’s how you can leave a date early — whether you can’t listen to another racist tirade or your date is giving you total creep vibes.
1. Be honest.
There are times when it feels good to give a proper farewell. Whether it’s their poor table manners or mansplaining that’s sending you running for the hills, being honest can be an effective way to end the date. Say the following, and move on: “Hey, I don’t think the connection is here for me. Let’s cut our losses and enjoy the rest of the evening… separately.” Case closed.
If you don’t think your date will gracefully accept an honest explanation, head to the bathroom and simply never return. It’s the longest bathroom break of all time, but sometimes you just have to bounce without making a scene. The dip should only be pulled when absolutely necessary: This is an asshole move if you’re just bored or don’t feel any chemistry. But if you feel you need to do it and are worried about bad dating karma (even though that’s not a thing), pay your part of the tab on the way out.
3. Enlist backup help from a friend.
We’re a big fan of oversharing — tell everyone your business before you head to your date, and share their profiles with friends you trust. When you’re not feeling it, let your date know you need to check in with your friend who… OMG, suddenly has an emergency when you call. Exit accordingly.
4. Tell them you’re not feeling well.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not feeling well physically or they’ve offended you to the point where you are emotionally unwell — those are semantics. Tell your date that you’ve suddenly got an explosion in your stomach and you only have five minutes before shit hits the fan, literally. It’s not a graceful exit, but at least you’re off the hook.
5. Plan a coup with the staff.
If you’re ending the date early because you’re feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, you’re doing the right thing. Beeline to the bathroom and let a server, bartender, or host know what’s up. Trust us, they deal with these things all the time and should know how to discreetly help you exit safely. Pro tip: Arrive early and let your server or bartender know ahead of time that you’re meeting someone for the first time.