How To Leave A Bad Date Early, According To 7 Women Who Have Done It

The absolute worst date I have ever been on was when I was a freshman in college. Up until then, I assumed all humorous tellings of people using bizarre excuses to leave a bad date were purely fiction. Surely, no date could be that atrocious that you need to spontaneously bolt before the main course gets there, right? Wrong. I learned this the hard way.

In my freshman year of college, I lived in a co-ed dorm. As I was getting into the elevator with my three female roommates, a startled-looking young man approached us. I had seen him around — we lived on the same floor and we were in the same 300-person music appreciation class — but I didn’t really have any unique opinions about him. To be honest, I didn’t even know his name until about 10 minutes after this interaction. He walked right up to us as the doors were about to close and blurted out what felt like a very rehearsed line: "Hi, you’re very pretty and I was wondering if you would like to get dinner with me on Friday night at 7 p.m.?" I don’t think he stopped for air once, which wasn’t the only tell. I had caught a glimpse of him pacing in the common room a few minutes before and now I knew why.

Now at 26 — older, wiser, and a little more jaded — I would applaud such a bold move. It’s direct. Confident. Strong. Certain, even. But at the time, I found it incredibly embarrassing. Not for him, for me. There I was, stuck in an elevator with three other girls I had only met a few weeks ago, all of us splattered from head to toe in glow-in-the-dark paint (because college). And here was this guy I had never spoken to before, holding our elevator open as he waited for an answer to his very simple question. I think we all stood in silence for about 30 seconds before Kristen, one of my roommates, let out a sympathetic, "Awwwww!" You know, the kind of thing you say when you come across a viral video of a three-legged puppy who's just found his forever home. I was mortified — and literally cornered — so, half out of pity and half out of a burning desire to escape the situation, I agreed to go on a date with him. He said he'd pick me up at my dorm at 6:30, then sprinted away.

On the way down to the first floor, Kristen and I described him vividly to anyone who would listen in hopes that someone knew his name. Someone did. It was Ralph.

Because our first meeting was so painfully awkward, Ralph and I didn’t get the chance to exchange numbers. In fact, we had no communication with each other until our date, four days later. And much like our first conversation, this date was painful. He was too direct, too certain. At one point, he stroked my arm and said, "I love the soft touch of a woman’s skin."

Giphy

While I can maybe imagine two or three scenarios where this might be an appealing thing to say to your date, standing awkwardly outside a movie theater is so not the time. Before the night was over, he invited me to his family brunch the next weekend, and I made a mental note never to look in his direction ever again.

TBH, I wish I had been clever enough to use one of these awesome lines on Ralph that other women have used to get out of a bad date.

This one is a classic.

I text a friend and tell them to call with an emergency. Then I leave.

— Ilisha, 21

When in doubt, call Mom.

'Oh sorry, my mom just asked me to do something with her so I gotta go.'

— Nateja, 19

This is more of an action than a line but it's still effective.

Vomit. You'll surely escape with that.

— Katrina, 20

This woman is as direct as Ralph.

I don't make lines. I say thanks but I am not really interested. I had to do this a couple weeks ago. He asked why. I said honestly, you have terrible breath.

zeebopbiddlywop

This feels a lot like the IRL version of ghosting.

I just say, 'Excuse me,' and then I get the hell out of there.

— Catalina, 25

This woman has the right idea.

I'm usually just vague and simple like, 'I should go now.' No one's ever really been like 'oh, tell me more!'

Jatzia

I feel bad for this guy but I'm definitely trying this next time.

Guy here, but after stale conversation for ~30 minutes in a bar setting, I was hit with "would you hate me if I went over there (to the other side of the bar) and hung out with my other friends?" It was direct and polite. I said of course not - I was relieved too.

mtoverman

I think the reason I haven't done this before is because I know there's really no good way to abruptly end a bad date. It doesn't make you a bad person. It's just one of those things you have to do at some point in your dating life. Look on the bright side — if it's bad for you, your date probably isn't having a great time either. Better to get out sooner rather than later.

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