First dates can be a lot of things.
Some of those things are positive. They can be refreshing, exciting and even a fun adventure. When they are good, you'll wish that date would never end. You'll find yourself lost in deep conversation, and you won't even feel the urge to check your watch or your phone to notice that four hours passed faster than you ever imagined four hours could pass.
But when a date is going awful, you'll wish it would end as soon as possible. You won't pay even a little bit of attention to what the other person is saying, and instead, you'll find yourself twiddling your thumbs, trying to figure out an escape plan that doesn't make you seem like the meanest person in the universe.
Maybe the person is filling your ears with conversation that makes you squirm. Maybe your attraction level to them is at an all-time low. Maybe they said something entirely too forward that you wish it was socially acceptable to toss a drink in their face.
If your date is going terribly and you're looking for an exit strategy, here are five ways to end a date after 30 minutes without feeling like you're being rude:
1. Don't order a second drink.
If you're looking for the exit sign on a date, skip ordering a second drink or a second cup of coffee. Once you've made a dent in your first cup, you can nicely mention that you enjoyed the drink, but you have to take off.
Keep your exit strategy quick and confident. But once you give in to another cup of tea or a pint of beer, you'll be stuck there for another 30 minutes or more.
2. Blame it on someone else.
If you're not feeling the person you're sitting across from on a first date, you can put a end to the conversation by telling them you have to leave because someone else has you scheduled on their social calendar.
That could mean you tell them you have to leave for a birthday party or to help your roommate with a work project.
3. Give them a heads-up.
It may not be love at first sight, but if you arrive on a date and within minutes, you realize this isn't a good match for you, you can give your date a heads-up that you have to run in a half hour or so.
You might have to get back to work or finish answering emails. Giving them your out ahead of time won't make it feel so abrupt later on in the date.
4. Go with the honest approach.
If the date is becoming suffocated with awkward moments of silence, and it's clear neither of you are interested in keeping this going, you can take an honest route and wrap up the date by saying it was very nice to meet that person, but you think it's best to call it a night.
Chances are, they will take a giant sigh of relief when those words come out of your mouth first.
5. Keep the date casual from the start.
When you're making plans for a date, suggest doing something more low-key, whether it's a walk in the park or a meetup at a coffee shop.
That way, you're not stuck at a baseball game, a dinner or an event for hours at a time, when you've never met the person before.