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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 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.

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 geniunely 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 mortifiying 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, blogs, and hubs - 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.

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle


Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on November 25, 2012:

Oh wow, that sounds awful for him. I don't agree with him just simply walking out; however, she had obviously not been honest about her size, so she should not have been surprised when he ditched her. As you said, there is nothing wrong with being big, but when a person isn't honest about it, that is an issue. I just don't understand people who are dishonest about weight, age, etc. Eventually it all catches up with you! Thanks for your comment!

Rain Defence from UK on November 25, 2012:

I remember my mate going out to meet a woman at a bar for an online date once, he was back at the house we shared about 15 minutes later. I asked him what had happened and he showed me the photo of the woman he had met for the date, or rather a rear view pic that he had taken when she walked off from their table to the toilet. She was large enough to fill the screen, which is fine if that's your taste, but she hadn't advertised herself as that... When she nipped to the toilet, he took the pic then ran out of the door. We spent the rest of the night playing computer games and chuckling.

As Whitney Houston used to say, it's not right, but it's ok.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 13, 2012:

You are so right. Online dating and first dates can be so awkward. It makes me not want to date at all sometimes!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 13, 2012:

Forgot to add, or any first dates!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 13, 2012:

Great advice, and I guess that's the disadvantage of online dating. Thanks for sharing, Jeannieinabottle!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 02, 2012:

Thanks so much for checking out my hub. There are really so many painful dates that come from online dating. If there was a site where you could review daters, it would be great. It would also be nice if some people could be banned from some sites.

ElleBee on September 02, 2012:

Good advice, and I totally agree with you about wishing there was a way to review other members on an online dating site! That would be such a relief. I've definitely had a few awkward dates from online dating.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 18, 2012:

Thanks so much. I am glad you liked the hub. I know what you mean... I hate the thought of hurting someone's feelings, but I guess other people don't care that much. Dating can certainly stink.

Rfordin from Florida on August 18, 2012:

Me? I would just suffer through. I can't bare to be rude. The sheer thought of hurting the other's persons feelings (regardless of how "nice I'm being") would instill so much guilt in me I'd just stick it out. You did give some good advice here should I ever find myself in that uncomfortable perdicament again.

Thanks for sharing!


Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 12, 2012:

Thanks so much! I couldn't believe it at first, but I have heard of other people having dates walk out on them. At least it gave me something to write about and a hilarious story for years to come. Oh, and I got a really good white chocolate coffee out the deal, so it wasn't all bad. :-) Thanks for the vote up!

Jamie Brock from Texas on August 12, 2012:

Jeannie, this is great stuff! You should have your own reality show :) I have to say, the dude that got up and left and never came back needs a good kick in the you know what. HOW RUDE is that?!! There were LOTS of ways he could have left without just leaving you sitting there. Sounds like you are too good for him anyway. Great hub, voting up!!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 09, 2012:

Thank you so much, Lesley! Thanks for the vote up, too. I am happy you enjoyed the hub. :-)

Movie Master from United Kingdom on August 09, 2012:

Congratulations Jeannie on your much deserved hubbie award, I am delighted for you!

Another fabulous hub and excellent 'Jeannie advice'

Voting up, best wishes Lesley

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 07, 2012:

Thanks so much! Congrats to you, too! It is like winning the online writing version of an Academy Award. :-) I guess everyone has their own horror stories, it is just tough sometimes. And I agree, I think he was just a bad person. I mean, just a simple, "Oh, an emergency came up!" would have been good enough. Oh well... at least I have a good story to tell now.

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on August 07, 2012:

First of all....congrats on your much deserved 2012 Hubbie Award win...I am very glad that you won that. Secondly....I really enjoyed reading your latest hub. I have some horror stories from my single days....thankfully those days have been over for many years....but I would never leave and not come back to the table....that is just a very bad person.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 06, 2012:

SweetiePie - I know exactly what you mean. I always get super needy or completely distant. I just want something in between. :-) Thanks for the comment!

rebeccamealey - Sometimes it is just challenging seeking new relationships. It can be funny at times though. I guess that is why I write about it so much. Thanks for the comment!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 06, 2012:

Awesome advice for the dating person. Lucky are those who have already met the "right one." But then it must be challenging and exciting seeking new relationships.

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on August 06, 2012:

I am sure you will meet someone. As for me I sort of just do not try anymore because even when I do date someone, they always seem lukewarm and distant at best. I do not want someone who is overly attentive or needy, but I tend to attract the other side of the continuum.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 06, 2012:

I couldn't agree with you more, SweetPie. I used to end up with all my old boyfriends because we were friends first. Unfortunately, the well has kind of run dry for me. I am mostly friends with married couples or friends that have no one to introduce me to anymore. When a friend does set me up with someone, I start to question if that person actually likes me at all considering the weirdos people try to hook me up with. I know some happily married couples that have met online, so I am not giving up just yet. Thanks for the comment!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on August 06, 2012:

The best way for me is just not to date at all. I would rather meet someone I was friends with first, and then have it turn into a date before we realized it. Of course my approach is not pro-active dating, but at least I do not go an any more awkward dates.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 06, 2012:

DeborahNeyens - Thanks so much! It is so nice when other hubbers enjoy more work enough to vote for me. I am really happy!

ChristyWrites - Yes, I went to dinner one time with a guy I could tell I had no interest in, but once you've sat down and the food is coming, it is next to impossible to leave. From that point on, I usually don't agree to a dinner date unless I've had some long phone conversations with the guy. Even then, I am taking my chances. Thanks so much! I am super excited about winning the award. :-)

aethelthryth - I am going to give your suggestion some thought. In general, I think you have to tough it out at least 30 minutes before making a lame excuse, unless the person is rude. If they are rude, all bets are off. I am all for saying, "You are rude," and then leaving. I am going to think more on this subject though because I know exactly what you mean. Thanks for the comment!

aethelthryth from American Southwest on August 06, 2012:

Maybe you could do another article on the more advanced subject of when you both know that even giving each other 20 minutes would be a total waste of time for both. I remember 2 different first dates where within 5 minutes (in one case, it was despising at first sight) we both knew this wasn't going anywhere.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on August 06, 2012:

You know your part about not making the date a long one - that is so true! Then you are not pulled into a few hours with someone you're not really interested in.. good hub! Congrats on the Hubby award too :) I am sharing.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on August 06, 2012:

Hi Jeannie. Just stopped by to read your latest and congratulate you on your well-deserved funniest hubber Hubbie Award!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 05, 2012:

Mellonyy - Yes, the "I am suddenly ill" excuse really does help sometimes. It usually works for me anyway because I often don't feel so great in my stomach if a date is going poorly. I don't even have to lie. :-) Thanks for checking out my hub!

Pamela-anne - Yes, you never know what the future brings. I never imagined I would still be single and dating weird guys from online dating sites at this point in my life, but hey, at least I can laugh about it. Thanks for the comment!

Alecia Murphy - Yes, I still can't believe it, but I had heard of that happening to other people. I guess some people just walk out on dates. And at least it was just a coffee date. I would have been really upset if we were sitting at a restaurant and he walked out and left me with the bill. My coffee was delicious, by the way, so that was a plus. :-) Thanks for dropping by my hub and thanks for the comment!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on August 05, 2012:

billybuc - Online dating is no picnic. It starts out fun because everything is so new and new people tend to get lots of positive attention on the sites, but then it turns into a big nuisance. I would quit, but I get so many interesting hubs and blogs from it! But yes, honestly is usually the best policy in most situations. Thanks for the positive feedback!

josh3418 - Thanks, Josh! Online dating certainly isn't for everyone, but it does become a really good option once you hit a certain age. I just can't do the bar scene anymore, and my friends don't have anyone left to set me up with. I've always enjoyed being single though, so I might just go back to embracing being single again. :-) Thanks for the comment!

fpherj48 - You are very lucky with your situation. Dating is no fun in today's age. I've noticed a turn for the worst just within the last 10 years. Guys are not as polite as they used to be and a lot just aren't willing to pay for a date at all. I guess it is the economy. But yes, you are right... you can usually tell right off the bat thumbs up or thumbs down. Thanks for the vote up and thanks for the comment!

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on August 05, 2012:

Honesty is the best policy but then again some people don't know that and try to lie themselves out of things. I can't imagine someone leaving and not coming back without saying anything. That's the height of rudeness but at least you found out during the first date and not the third date. Great advice!

Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on August 05, 2012:

Thanks for the interesting advice for blind dates not on my calender any time soon but who knows what the future holds thanks for the tips! take care.

Mellonyy on August 05, 2012:

Very interesting hub! I liked your idea about ..."For instance, did you just get a sandwich with your coffee?.." Voted up!

Suzie from Carson City on August 05, 2012:

I am so relieved and happy those dating days are long ago and far away.........but as I recall, I had my share of positive and fun times and a few disasters. I never dated anyone I'd met online......that could be because 13 years ago, I didn't have a computer....ya think?

Anyway....Met my hubby Jim, through a good friend (former boyfriend actually) He did a superb job of matching us up and thinking we would hit it off....

Well, we did....and 18 months later, that friend who introduced us was our witness when we married, on a huge patio overlooking Lake Erie at sunset.....It was the perfect romantic weather and setting........

This all sounds like excellent info, Jeannie....you are so right that it doesn't seem necessary to be rude simply because 2 people don't happen to connect! Just smile and say Good Night.

Funny, isn't it, how you can just KNOW immediately whether it's thumbs up or down!! UP+++

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on August 05, 2012:


You have some great advice here! I have never tried those online dating sites, just to weird for me. But, everyone is different. Thanks for sharing some personal experiences Jeannie! Have a good one!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 05, 2012:

It sounds to me like you have some real experience in this matter. I did date about seven years back from an online site and it was difficult. The truth was the only way I could handle it. I'm just not real good at faking attraction or being less-than-honest.

Love the suggestions and hey, good luck in the future.

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