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10 Exit Strategies To Help You Bail When A First Date Goes South

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If I’ve learned anything about the wild world of dating apps, it’s that having an opening line more unique than, "Hi" is super important. The second most important thing I’ve learned from swiping? You should set up a time to meet a promising match ASAP. Unfortunately, I’ve had way too many conversations online and via text that made it seem like my match and I would get along swimmingly — only to find out weeks later there was no chemistry IRL.

It’s frustrating to think about all the time I’ve wasted chatting with people who later turn out to be duds, and even more frustrating to think about the dates I’ve felt trapped in. I mean, how do you tell someone you’ve spent weeks building a rapport with that 20 minutes into your first in-person meeting, you're ready for the check?

Dating can be a real headache. However, gossiping about dating with my friends never gets old, so I polled some of my besties about what they do when faced with a boring or zero-chemistry meet up. To ease the headache of dating, we partnered with Excedrin to find the best exit strategies for quick and trusted relief when a first date goes south.

1. Blame Your Pet

“Using the excuse, ‘I have to get home and let my dog out, I’ve been gone all day!’ is usually a sure bet for getting out of a bad date.” —Lindsay, 32

2. Schedule 'Plans' For Later

“I always have a fake plan for later that evening, like dinner with a friend. If it ends up being a good date, you can ‘cancel’ your plans — and if it’s not good, you can leave after an hour and say the reservation is on the other side of town.” —Cara, 27

3. Ask A Friend To Bail You Out

“This is the oldest trick in the book, but I have a friend call and fake a low-key emergency that’s just serious enough that I have to leave immediately to help her with it.” —Ally, 28

4. Keep It Short, No Matter What

"My advice is: Don't even wait to be on a bad date! Schedule a first date for a Tuesday night and establish a one-hour max time limit. You have the built-in excuse of having to wake up for work, so you have a built-in out." —Jenny, 30

5. Fake Being Sick

“I once pretended I didn’t feel well so I could get out of an awful date and go home.” —Caz, 25

6. Try A Little Dose Of Honesty

“Be honest! I used to find myself saying yes to another hour because I couldn't find a delicate way to extract myself from a date I didn't want to be on. The only thing this did was perpetuate the notion that I was interested in a dude when I really wasn't. Now? If I'm not feeling it, I just say, ‘Actually, I'm good for now. Let's grab the tab!’” —Lauryn, 29

7. Stack Your Schedule For The Next Morning

“Before I go into a date, I always schedule a workout class for super early the next morning. That way, whether the date goes well or flops, I don’t stay out too late.” —Stephanie, 31

8. Blame Your Training

“As a marathon runner, it’s feels pretty natural to tell them I have to head home to get up before sunrise for training. Plus, it's usually true!" —Marnie, 37

9. Fake A Work Emergency

“I don't do this often, but I've told a date that a fire drill email has come through from my boss, and I have to go deal with it right away." —Erin, 28

10. Ask For The Check

"Just be honest. Throw some money down and tell them it was nice to meet them but you don’t feel any chemistry and have to get home. It’s always easier in the long run." —Kelly, 28

This article is sponsored by Excedrin.