When “It’s just one drink” turns into “I would rather have a root canal than another martini with you”, it’s time to devise a plan to ditch your dead-end date — fast. While making a swift departure without coming off as a total jerk is tough, it is possible as long as you’ve got a well-formulated plan, says Yvonne Rice, former dating agency owner and author of Finding “The One”: A Powerful Step-by-Step Guide to Making Online Dating Work for You. “Because most people don’t take rejection well,” she explains, “not putting careful thought into how you’ll exit your bad date runs you the risk of sparking the ‘nasty’ in the date you’re ditching.” For Rice’s suggestions on how to escape a bad date with your reputation – and your date’s dignity – intact, read on…Spill It
At a bar, coffee shop or restaurant? “Accidentally” spill your entire drink in your lap so you’ll have to leave and get out of your wet clothes. A word of warning here: make sure whatever you’ve been guzzling isn’t boiling hot. You don’t want Bad Date coming to the emergency room with you because you’ve sustained 3rd degree burns on you privates.
Claim A Curfew
It worked in high school, and believe it or not, this evergreen get-out-of-jail-free card still works when you’re an adult. If your date’s going nowhere fast, bow out early with the claim that your roommate, pet or, if you have one, child is expecting you home pronto.
Use A Lifeline
It’s never a bad idea to have a friend text you on your cell phone 30 minutes into your date. If everything’s going great, then fantastic – you can text back that you’ve likely met your future spouse. If not, however, the door’s open for you to make an excellent case for removing yourself from the date. Think “Oh no! My best friend’s car broke down and I have to pick her up!” or “My younger brother’s watching my dog and apparently, Fido just ate an entire bag of his Doritos – bag and all!” Who’s gonna argue with your needing to make a quick departure to remedy situations like those?
Remember That Opposites Don’t Always Attract
If you’re positive there’s no future between you and your date, begin steering your conversation in a direction that’s sure to make that clear to him or her as well. If he reveals a passionate support for John McCain, note that you’ve donated as much as legally allowed to the Obama campaign. She’s a strict vegetarian? Wax poetic about your last birthday dinner – and the amazing porterhouses – at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Once your date realizes the two of you are like oil and water, it should be easy to swiftly end the evening.
Fake An Illness
If you’re itching to extricate yourself from a nightmare of a date, muster up your best Academy Award-winning performance and play sick. Start rubbing your head and referencing your terrible migraines or, for a less subtle approach, start coughing uncontrollably. For a truly fail-safe strategy, rush to the bathroom every five minutes or so. It won’t take long for your date to get the hint that you’re sick, and he or she will probably be happy to see you go.
At a crowded club, play or movie with a dead-end suitor? Excuse yourself for a bathroom break and then fail to find your way back to your date. If he or she calls after your date and asks what happened, explain that you couldn’t get cell reception and were trying to locate your spot among the masses, to no avail.
Be “On Call”
If you work or volunteer in a shift work or service-type profession, this plan of attack can be a perfect course of action. If you’re certain early on into your date that it’s going nowhere, tell your date that just before the two of you met up you received a call from a client that you’ve been “called in” or were asked to fill in at short notice. Such a shame – you only have time to squeeze in one quick coffee with your date before dashing off!
Run Into An Old Friend
If you’re at a bar or a coffee shop, offer to go and buy the next round of drinks. Once you leave your date, strike up a conversation with someone else at the bar, and keep talking to your new best friend for as long as you possibly can. When you get back to the table where your date is, say, “You’ll never believe who I just ran into – this old friend of mine from middle school!” Then glance down at your watch and exclaim, “Wow, is it that time already? I need to go – got to wake up early tomorrow morning!”
If your date is boring you to your back teeth, just be polite and end it with a kind yet direct “I’m happy to have met you, yet I don’t see a future together for us.” Most people will get the “Thanks, but, no thanks” message and appreciate your honesty.