How to End a Bad Date – The Nice Way

Let’s all agree that bad dates – no, awful dates – happen and that they sometimes must be interrupted and stopped in the middle of the date. Though you can’t control anyone else’s behavior, you can control your own. If your date acts in a way that you cannot tolerate and you simply can’t make it to the end of the time together, there is a way to end the date without being just as inhumane as this person has been to you. So, how do you do it? How do you end a bad date in the middle without being unnecessarily harsh or rude?

Remember that a person can have a bad day.

Sometimes a date can be rude or off-putting because they are in a bad mood; they had a bad day; or they are dealing with something in their personal life that is causing them stress. Don’t get caught trying to figure out why your date is being rude or acting the way they are; simply start the process of ending the date. If, for some reason, your date is actually a gem and you actually belong together, your date can call you later or try to make it up to you another day. For now, simply exit.

When you exit a date in the middle, do it with grace – even if your date has not been graceful.

On the rare occasion that your date has said or done something that is downright ugly, nasty or abusive, you shouldn’t feel the need to be kind and graceful yourself. In these rare cases, just say that you are sorry but that something has come up and that you need to go. Don’t worry about the other person’s feelings because, well, they clearly haven’t been worried about yours. But if your date is making you uncomfortable or bothering you repeatedly, there is no point in waiting it out. I do believe, however, that it is worth waiting a minute to follow a few steps and make sure that you aren’t being harsher than necessary in saying, “See ya!”

Once you decide you are going to end the date in the middle of it, don’t end it immediately.

You know once you reach that moment, the dreaded point where you realize you don’t want to be near that person a minute longer. As uncomfortable as you may feel, wait ten or fifteen minutes before you actually leave. If you’re in the middle of the meal, wait until your date is finished or almost finished and ask for the check. If you’re having a drink or a cup of coffee, wait until they are almost finished with their drink. Once they get to that point, say, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to rush you but I have to go soon.” Your date will likely do one of two things: give you a puzzled look or ask why. Next, say, “I’m sorry but I’m kind of preoccupied with a million things going on this week, and I want to go home and get a start on some things I have to do [insert “for work” or “at home”]. Obviously, your date will know that you probably are not interested, but by following these steps, you haven’t said anything rude, mean or insensitive.

Unless your date has been downright nasty or grossly out of line, pay for your half of the expenses.

Whether it’s a drink, a meal, whatever – pay for your part, regardless of your gender expectations about who should pay. When you get to the point that you need to end a date in the middle, both of you leave unhappy and frustrated. Do the respectful and gracious thing by paying your part of the expenses.

Accept that the “goodbye” will be awkward and don’t say or do anything you don’t want to do.

At the end of most dates, there is the inevitable moment where the two of you confront a couple of awkward situations. Will you kiss or hug? Will you say that you want to see each other again? Will he or she ask if they can call you again? Once you have ended a date in the middle of it, simply walk out together and say, “It was nice to meet you, and have a good [insert day/night].” By the point that you have ended the date, the writing is on the wall and your date knows that he or she will probably never see you again. Don’t worry about pleasantries; simply take yourself home or to meet a friend, and be thankful that you won’t ever have to see that person again romantically!



About the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve


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