Truth be told, we try to go into every date hoping for the best. But, let's be frank: there are bad dates and there are worst dates. If you've ever been in one of those situations where you know instantly that he's just not for you and you want to minimize the amount of time you have to spend sipping your vodka redbull while politely nodding as your eyes glaze over, you know what we're talking about. Ending a date is tricky business, especially if it turns out your date is everything you NEVER wanted. Luckily, there are ways to extricate yourself from this sticky situation with style and breeding.
Go in with a clearly defined exit plan. The key to a graceful exit begins before the date even commences. Settle on a casual meetup over coffee or agree to a quick meal over your lunch break. These types of activities can be pushed longer if the date is going well, but can also be politely ended when the activity is finished “Trust me, you'll know within minutes if there's any chemistry or if red flags are popping up,” laughs Ina, a 24 year old customer service representative, “If the date is going nowhere fast, I usually bow out early with the claim that my roommate is expecting me home at a certain time.”
Have a very demanding "job." If you work in a shift work or service-type profession, this plan of attack can be a perfect course of action. “I agreed to meet a guy for drinks but there was something obnoxiously off about his behavior,” reveals Mindy, a 37 year old medical resident, “After half an hour, I simply told him that I was asked to fill in for another resident who called in sick and left him at the bar.”
Use a lifeline. It's always good to let someone know where you're going and what your plans are. For safety reasons, plan your date so you're in proximity to a friend who can bail you out if you're not feeling the groove in the first few minutes of your date. “This works exceptionally well if it seems like it was happenstance,” reveals Belinda, a 32 year old Accounts Manager, “That way, we can "run into" each other and I ask my friend to join us. It's great way to diffuse a bad date, if a one-on-one wasn't working out so well.”
Remember that opposites don’t always attract. As soon as you’re positive there’s no future between you and your date, begin steering your conversation in a direction that drives that point home. Once your date realizes the two of you are incompatible, it should be easy to swiftly end the evening. “I was on a date with a vegetarian who literally couldn't stop talking about her ex,” laughs John, a 39 year old Dive Master, “I started gushing about the amazing porterhouse steak that I had for dinner last night. She got the picture after a few minutes.”
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Play matchmaker. If you're not feeling sparks, it helps to mention that you have a friend who specifically dates guys or girls like them. This makes it clear that you're not interested in a relationship but that you still think they're great. And, besides, one person's trash just might be another's treasure. “My blind date was a great guy but it was clear that we were just going to be friends,” relates Jenny, a 36 year old Accountant, “I offered to introduce my friend to him and they hit it off. Now, I'm going to be a bride's maid at their wedding.”
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Be honest. If all else fails, nothing beats the honorable way of opting out of a bad date. Honesty might be the best policy but it's definitely not the easiest. Have the courage to be kind but direct with them: it shows respect and plain old human decency, despite your incompatibility. “There's no sense in prolonging the agony,” shares Trixie, a 28 year old artist, “I try to phrase it in the kindest way possible. Usually, a 'I’m happy to have met you but I don't see us together romantically.' works for me.”
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