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Polite Ways to End an Awkward Date

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

Walk, don't run towards the exit!

Walk, don't run towards the exit!

When There Just Isn't a Connection

Bad dates can happen to anyone at anytime. You think you are doing well. You've got a date set up with a new person. You are smelling your best and you are wearing your new outfit from Old Navy. Everything seems to be falling into place. Then you show up for the date and it is a disaster. You are sitting across from a person you have absolutely no interest in ever seeing again. My friend, you are on an awkward date, and you need to escape.

These things can happen when we least expect it. An awkward date can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes a friend sets you up on a date, and your friend obviously has no clue about your taste in dates. Sometimes you meet someone online, but you don't talk enough online or over the phone to really see if there is going to be a real interest. Every now and then, a person who was totally appealing on the phone turns out to be a dud in person. Sometimes you just have no connection with the person sitting across from you.

Although bad dates happen to everyone, it can be a pretty scary experience when you are in the middle of one. Unless you are dating a total creep or someone without any social skills, your date probably feels the same way. Don't panic! You won't be on this date for the rest of your life. There are some polite ways to end any awkward date.

First Dates Should Be Simple

The first step to exiting an awkward date with some dignity is planning a simple first date. I know you might think you have real chemistry with a person just by talking on the phone, but you can't know that for sure. My first piece of advice to you is do not plan a really elaborate date for the first date. Dinner and a movie can be nice if you've known someone a while, but if this is a blind date or an online date, that is just too much.

It is much harder to leave the date if you have a lot planned. If you try to be polite and keep the date going, it is just going be hours of misery if you've planned a long date. Keep it simple and meet up for coffee or just a drink at a local restaurant. If everything is going well, then the two of you can decide if you'd both like to get lunch or dinner or go mountain climbing or whatever other crazy activity you can think of.

Come Up With an Excuse to Leave

If you've given your date a chance (about an hour), but there is absolutely no chemisty at all, it might be time to come up with an excuse to leave. If you are dating someone that is a total jerk, you don't even have to wait an hour. For instance, if he has been playing with his cell phone more than he has even talked to you, it is OK to end this one early.

A good excuse is something that sounds logical. For instance, did you just get a sandwich with your coffee? Could you possibly have an upset stomach? Sure, that is an embarrassing excuse, but hey, no one wants to date a person that might start vomiting at any moment. Perhaps there is an appointment you conveniently remember while on the date. Just excuse yourself and say you are sorry to leave. It is as easy as that.

For me, I personally disagree with making up a lie to get out of a date, but that is more polite than just ditching a date. I had a date recently with a guy I absolutely couldn't stand within about 20 minutes. Obviously he felt the same way about me since he pretended to get a call, walked away from the table, and simply never came back. That is not a polite way to end an awkward date. I'd said nothing wrong at all. How rude! I wish online dating sites gave users the option of writing reviews for other users. This guy would totally get a thumbs down.

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In that scenario, an easy and polite way he could have turned that around was to take his fake phone call, walk around the corner for a bit, and then return to say, "I am so sorry. An emergency came up. I need to leave." It would have been fine with both of us and that would have been a polite way to leave our extremely awkward date.

The Honest Approach

Oh wait, are we going to talk about being honest on a date? No way! What a crazy idea. But yeah, there are ways to part on good terms from an awkward date. You can also be totally honest at the same time. Great!

I recently went on a date with a guy and it was obvious there was no real connection between us. He was perfectly nice and I'd like to think I was as charming as always, but we had little in common. After about an hour of drinking coffee together, he told me he had errands to run. I also agreed I had errands to run, too. He then said, "It was nice meeting you. Have a nice day." I told him basically the same thing and then we walked separate ways. What a polite way to end a date!

You see, there was no BS when parting ways at the end of this date. Neither of us gave that fake line, "I will talk to you later," or "I will call you sometime." Both of us knew this was not going to happen. We both ended it on a polite note knowing we would never see each other again. It was a fine ending to a not so fine date.

How to End It When One Party Is Interested

The most awkward dates are the uneven dates. By uneven, I mean one party is genuinely interested in the other party, yet the other party is thinking about how to escape the date. In my opinion, these are the worst dates because being completely honest is going to be difficult.

I will give you an example. I went out on a date with a guy once and I was waiting for the crickets to start chirping because I was so bored. He, on the other hand, ended the date with, "Would you like to go out again?" Well, there was nothing wrong with him, so I said, "Sure," but later on realized that was just not true. He was such a nice guy, but I could not stand the thought of going out with him again.

What I should have said was, "I will get back to you," or even been so bold to say, "You are really nice, but I don't think it would work out with us." Obviously, the last line is mortifying to say to someone's face. As honest as I am in most situations, I would still probably say, "I will let you know... send me a message," when put on the spot like that. In the end, I sent him a message saying I appreciated the date, but did not feel we had enough in common to go out again. I felt bad, but it is better than leading someone on.

Awkward Dates Are a Learning Experience

Even if awkward dates are painful and no one wants to experience them, to some degree, they are a learning experience. Each time I suffer through an awkward date, I learn something new about social etiquette. Furthermore, I learn new strategies to avoid awkward dates in the future. I've learned a lot about online dating and human nature recently. Plus, I've gotten a lot of material for writing articles and blogs—that is a total bonus!

The most important thing to remember is do not walk out just because the date is awkward. Coming up with a lame excuse to leave is better than just being rude. Furthermore, don't just not show up for a date simply because you get cold feet, too. I've sat alone waiting for dates that just never showed up; it is a miserable experience and a waste of my time. Just remember, everyone gets nervous and everyone sits through an awkward experience a time or two. It will end soon enough and then you can get back to the rest of your life.

© 2012 Jeannie Marie

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