You’re halfway through a date and you suddenly realize—you’ve made a terrible mistake. This person is not only not The One, they’re becoming your enemy. How do you get out of there?
There are a number of factors when it comes to deciding how long a date should continue for: your comfort level is a huge one. Redditor u/Fuegoz posted a suggestion for how to get out of a date on r/LifeProTips and received considerable backlash in the comments. Many objected that no one should leave a date halfway through; even if you don’t like a person, you can tolerate them for the duration of a coffee or meal. For the record, this was their suggestion:
If you are going on a blind date or meeting someone for the first time in person, set an alarm on your phone that will go off about 25-30 minutes in and have it set to your phone’s ringtone. You can pretend it is a call and be able to have an excuse to leave if you need to without being rude.
The common response was something like what u/ClassyCassowarry wrote:
Or just let them know that you don’t like them like a normal functioning adult.
Now, I agree that if you’re just having an awkward time with someone, you don’t need to make up some absurd excuse to leave. It will be over soon enough. However, I’ve been a woman on a date with someone who was making me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Having a built-in excuse to leave is a good safety measure, especially when you’re meeting someone new. So here are a few other ways to leave if you really need to.
Have someone actually call
Some commenters insisted that the phone alarm thing would be blatantly obvious. I kept thinking that feigning a conversation would be the give-away, because few people are that good at acting. Have a friend scheduled to call at a certain time. That way you can actually talk back and forth with someone who can prompt you appropriately, so it sounds like a human conversation instead of someone just talking into their silent phone. Better yet, get up and walk away from the table. Try pacing and looking down as you talk—that will make it look much more serious.
Download an app
For true emergencies, you will need a better backup plan than a ring tone. There are apps that are designed to help people notify friends and family if you feel in danger, according to Verily Mag. Two of them are called uSafeUS and Circle of 6; the latter allows you to quickly notify your six most important people that you are in danger, or requests that they call, text, or find you immediately. The former provides you with fake calls and texts as a built in excuse. See? It’s a common solution for a common problem.
After the first drink
Usually, if you’re meeting for a drink, there’s a moment after the first round where you both decide if you want to keep things going and order a second cocktail. This is the perfect exit moment if you’re not feeling it. Saying you have an early morning or you can’t be hungover tomorrow and need to get home is a reasonable way to leave. Don’t get sucked into ordering another drink! That’s an additional hour of your life, at the very least.
Give the excuse ahead of time
Before you meet someone, tell them when your hard out is. You can say you have plans, you only have one hour, you’re really swamped, etc. If the date is going well, they’ll probably be just as happy as you to forget your reason for leaving. If not, there’s no negotiating. They knew you had to leave, so you do. End of story.
Say you’re sick
I actually did get sick once on a date, and I could tell he thought I was lying. Totally didn’t care, and neither should you. If you want to get away badly enough to lie, that’s basically the emotional equivalent of food poisoning IMO. Exiting a date politely doesn’t necessarily mean tricking the person completely with your excuse, it just means letting them save some face in the situation. Saying the wine has gone to your head or you feel nauseous is an acceptable way to do it.
In a perfect world, we would be able to maturely say to someone that we’re not feeling it, and leave. Personally, I’ve done this and it was … fine. I prefer to be honest about my interest and I hate to ghost people. I also don’t like to waste my time, so even if someone isn’t being an absolute monster, I don’t keep hanging out with them if I’m having a bad time! If you want to go, say, “You seem cool, but I’m not feeling the chemistry. Thanks for meeting with me, I appreciate your time.”
If you don’t feel unsafe, this is a good way to practice confidently stating your needs and flexing those communication skills. Of course, you might end up discovering that some people prefer to be lied to.