end date casually

Exit Strategies: How to End a Date Early

People dread being stuck on a “bad date”. Sure, the horror stories end up making great conversation fodder in the future, but in the actual moment, minutes feel like hours. Anxiety builds as you look for your way out. Sadly, the combination of these elements generally leads to an inability to act. You feel helpless as you begrudgingly sit there waiting for her to finish her tiramisu. So, how do you avoid this situation altogether or just end a bad date early? Gentlemen, I present to you some exit strategies: ways to end a date early without being rude.

Exit Strategies Are Planned Before the Date

Life isn’t a Disney movie, so skip the five star restaurant. First dates should be short, with the entire purpose being a compatibility test. Realistically, you will know within five minutes if there’s mutual attraction. Then, within twenty minutes you will be sure if you have chemistry. As the conversation goes deeper, give yourself an hour to decide if you’re aligned on morality and life goals.

dating exit strategies pre planned

A first date is meant to be a short, casual compatibility test. Do not eat dinner together, or any meal for that matter. Avoid long, set commitments like Broadway shows, sporting events, or concerts, as you won’t want to be trapped with this person if there is no chemistry.

Instead, opt for a:

  • drink (or coffee/juice if you’re sober)
  • walk at the park
  • dessert, ice cream or some other novelty

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to assess the compatibility, while giving yourself a casual way to extend the date if it’s going well. In the event that it’s a match made in heaven, you can venue shift to another location and continue the romance. A drink can turn into a late dinner at a restaurant, while Ice cream can become drinks at a bar. If you’re out for a walk, choose your destination; the world is your oyster,

Classic Exit Strategies: Phone (or Text) a Friend

This is the oldest trick in the book for a reason; it works. Have a friend ready to call you at a certain time, say forty five minutes into the date. When they call, have your friend give you a reason you can’t ignore, and then step away from your date.

If your intoxicated cousin called you and asked you to come pick her up, you would do it, right? Or, it could be that your close friend needs to talk because her boyfriend “just abruptly dumped her.” Whatever it is, use a bullet proof cover story that nobody would feel weird about you having to help with.

Explain the situation to your date, and let them know you’ll have to be cutting things short. This will remove any awkwardness or disrespect, and have you on your way. Carry some cash with you so you can settle up quicky.

exit strategies for boring dates

Add a Cover Story to Your Exit Strategies

If you’re not comfortable having a friend act as a lifeline, be your own lifeline by planting a seed early in the date. This could be an obligation you have later in the evening, like a work call with Asia. Alternatively, it might be an early morning commitment, forcing you to bed early, like a 7AM flight or a meeting downtown.

Reference the obligation once or twice in conversation, and then whip it out when you’re ready to call it quits. This will shift the focus to you instead of on your date. Being that it’s already been stated, it will feel comfortable and expected to both of you; nobody likes surprises, nor does anyone enjoy being rejected.

Of course, if the date is going well you can always “go with the flow” and either cancel or ignore the obligation. Serendipity is a concept understood and appreciated by most women. Nobody is going to fault you for fate taking it’s course.

Pick a Casual Activity

Whether its a local arcade, a game of billiards, or a short walk, there are a variety of short activities that can pass for a first date. Choose a fun activity that won’t lock you down for more than one hour. Consequently, you will have the opportunity to engage in conversation and explore attraction. Once the activity is over, you can again choose to transition to another activity and venue, or call it quits. If you want to let her down easy and soften the blow, let her win the game you’re playing.

Be a Smooth Operator

When I was single and exploring the NYC dating scene, this was my favorite strategy. After she finishes her beverage, casually stand up and say: “alright, this was fun, but I’ve got to go. Ready?”

You must do this before your server comes back to ask about another round. For foolproof execution, excuse yourself to use the restroom during the first round, and tell your server there will be no additional rounds.

Again, cash is king, so make sure you have cash on hand to settle the tab without any delays. The smoother you do it, the more likely she is to go along with it. To her, it doesn’t feel like an outright rejection, but more of a meeting being over; almost as if it ran out of time.

exit strategies for bad dates

You’re a Straight Shooter

Some men are direct and to the point, avoiding games and ambiguity. If you are one of these men, wait for a slight pause in conversation to politely tell her the date isn’t going anywhere. Of course, it’s a best practice to sandwich bad news in between two positive statements, so try something like this:

You’re an attractive and (insert adjective here) woman, but understanding that you’re on this date with the intent of finding someone you’re compatible with, it’s probably best we go our separate ways. I am not feeling the chemistry and don’t want to waste your time.

This move is a gamble, because it does open the conversation up to questions about why you feel this way. She may also tell you off. On the flip side, you are doing her a favor by leaving nothing ambiguous. She is evaluating the date to understand if you’re relationship material, so give her honest feedback… but proceed with caution.

Lessons Learned

Brother, if you take anything from this piece, leave with these two nuggets of advice. First, don’t waste time with people you know will not be part of your long term plan. Don’t worry about hurt feelings. Date to gloriously win, not remain stagnant in mediocrity. The entire purpose of the date is to test compatibility. If it’s not there, you should exit as soon as possible.

Secondly, always have a plan, no matter what you’re doing. If the date is going great, have a few options on hand to extend it. If the date is bombing, prepared to exit as soon as possible using one of these strategies. You can thank me later.

-Your Big Bro