Four Ways to Finish a Bad Date Gracefully

Young woman making rude gesture on a bad date
Real Bad Date

Most people avoid dating due to the possibility of being trapped on a bad first date. Let’s face it, first dates can be awkward at best. The problem is if you want to be in a relationship you have to take the first step and go on a first date. While there is a high probability it could be a disaster as long as you are equipped with the tools to exit gracefully, the risk can be greatly minimized.

Here are four ways to gracefully get out of a bad date:

#1 Start Small

Set yourself up for success before the date even occurs. When accepting an offer to go out on a date make sure the activity chosen does not come with a lengthy time commitment. Absolutely say no to any full day outings or out of town trips, for obvious reason. Even something like a nice dinner is too much for a first date. If you hit a restaurant on a busy night your meal could last up to four hours. If in fifteen minutes  you realize your date is a completely d-bag, you are screwed. Those four hours could feel like a life time. Meeting for a drink is a perfect first date activity it has an end point, the time in which it takes to have a drink. However, you could extend the date if you are enjoying the company. Going for a walk is another good idea. Walking usually has a time frame of about an hour and because you are walking you do not have that awkward feeling of having to look at each other all the time. Coffee date is another popular option for those looking for a short time date. Although coffee is short and sweet, I hate this idea for a first date. It’s cheap and results in bad breath and is quite boring.

A girl tries to hold a nerdy young man who is tryinng to escape a bad date
Awkward Date

Ending up on an awkward first date is always a possibility

but it should not deter you from dating life.

#2 Outsource the Problem

Fortunately technology is changing our lives for the better and is able to solve almost every problem we have, bad dates included. Recently eHaramony created an app to help people rescue bad dates gracefully by allowing users to schedule SOS calls. The scene goes like this, you are on a first and it is going bad, really bad.  Fortunately you have prepared and scheduled a fake incoming call from you dating app. The call can be any one of the emergency-worthy options provide by the app. One of the most extreme choices maybe a call from your mom screaming, “Your sister is having a baby!” Another option is a roommate complaining about water leakage. The app is pretty fool proof; your iPhone screen will appear as it would if a regular incoming call was happening and it also has a real voice on the other end. Another option the app provides is a voice on the other end feeding you a script so you do not have to improvise on your feet. This is probably the easiest way to exit a bad date.

#3 Fake an Anxiety Attack

Dates can be extremely nerve-wrecking and some of us do not cope well with the stress. Since this is well known to everyone, it is completely understandable that a person may end up in a complete panic attack whilst on a first date. If you fancy yourself an actor and do not mind getting into character and going the extra mile to fake an anxiety attack, this may be the perfect way to exit a date gracefully. You will need to google anxiety attacks prior to the date and make sure to get down all the classic symptoms. Once the date starts to take a turn for the worst get into character and go for it. Explain to your date that you have to leave because of your anxiety and exit quickly.

A girl is bored with a man talking over the phone on a date
Extremely Boring Date

#4 Be Honest

If you are a bold person who can’t stand to beat around the bush the best exit from a bad date is to be honest. Explain to your date that you are really focused on getting into a serious relationship and unfortunately you feel no connection or spark with him or her. You can further explain that you do not want to waste anybody’s time and going forward with this date would be just that, a waste of both of your time. While most people will feel completely mortified by the “ be honest” option, it is probably the most practical, economically and sensible way to negotiate a bad date. While it may seem cruel or cold being honest is defiantly the most gracefully way to exit a bad date.

Ending up on an awkward first date is always a possibility but it should not deter you from dating life. As long as you know to exit a bad date gracefully, the rewards of dating much outweigh the risks.

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  • OMG, this is the best first-date advice EVER! I never know what to do with a creepy first date. I usually try to be nice and gracious about it, but that never lets the guy know that I’m really not interested. The software that will actually call you with a built-in excuse at a pre-arranged time – that is awesome! The idea about faking a panic attack – I would not want to choose that as my first option, but if it were really ugly, I could pull it off.

    The absolute best one is to pre-arrange the date so it’s not going to be long or expensive. I really like that one, because if a guy buys a nice dinner or something, I want to be appreciative, but also don’t want to continue dating if I really don’t enjoy the company. The second best one is the one that is most challenging to me, and there is one date in particular that comes to mind – I should have just told him – “Take me home!” Because it really turned into a sucky experience.

    Thanks for delivering these great ideas with an obvious sense of humor but awareness of how important it is (for both parties) to wrap it up quickly when it just isn’t gonna work.


  • Ha! LOl! I love the new app about the emergency calls. We used to have a system…if we needed out we would text a friend and they would call and use one of the excuses. To a point though, I think going the shorter date route like a coffee shop with an extended night option is good. If it doesn’t feel right you can just excuse your self out…busy tomorrow or something simple like that. Of course I am preaching to the choir here…I havent been on a date in a billion years!

  • This is great dating advice. My first date with my now fiance was smoothies at our local cafe and it was perfect: we drank our smoothies, talked, and then extended the date to walk around town. The rest is history!

  • I’m definitely going to have to try using the SOS app. I’ve been on my fair share of awkward dates. And I’ve used a few of these tactics based on instinct. However I tend to use the honesty card the most, though it may seem cold, it’s better than leading someone on and giving the impression that you’re having a good time.

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