How To Make Your Escape From An Especially Bad Date

Bad dates are bound to happen. Not every date can be great; if they were always fantastic, we wouldn't have to go on many. Because there's always a risk of a night out going downhill, sometimes quickly, it's helpful to have an escape plan in place. If you go in without a plan, you may find yourself stuck on that date till the bitter end, no matter how excruciating it is. However, with an escape plan or two in place, before you even meet your date, you can make things so much easier for yourself. 


What makes a bad date especially bad? Well, for the most part, that's up to you. One person may think the same date was fun, so dates are subjective when it comes to how good or bad they are. There are things that no one likes, though, like being absolutely bored out of their minds, completely ignored while their date is on the phone the whole time, or doing something they have no interest in (think cow-tipping from the movie "Heathers"). Plus, if your date is rude or offensive to you or other people you come in contact with on your date, getting out early may be a really good plan. So let's look at some things you can do to escape the fate of a bad date.

End the date abruptly

If your first date isn't going well at all, and you just know they're not going to get any better, you can simply opt to end the date early. Tell your suiter that you're just not that into him and excuse yourself. Honestly, you don't owe anyone an excuse for why you want to leave, so just ask for the check and say it's time to get going.


Why waste time hanging out longer if it's obvious to you that you're not going to have a future with this person? Save yourself — and your date — the time and energy. There's no reason not to end a date abruptly unless you have some hope that things will turn around at some point during the short time you do plan to spend together.

This type of exit — with no reason as to why you're leaving, just that you are — isn't one you can really come back from unless you want to make up an excuse later on if you decide this person had some endearing qualities you were somehow missing while you were with them. All in all, though, you should be sure you won't ever want to see this person again before making your escape. 


Tell them how you really feel

Of course, if you feel obligated to give them an excuse, just tell them the truth — whatever that may be. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable with them, or you just don't see the potential of a future with this person. It's okay to express those feelings. You may be surprised — your date may have been feeling the same way. If you two have absolutely nothing in common, and your differences are just too different, the likelihood of things working out in the long run is slim anyhow. 


There are some things they may think stings or that you may think are somewhat harsh, like telling them that you really aren't attracted to them — but it's not your responsibility to make sure someone feels good about themselves when they're on a date with you. The more honest you are, the more likely they are to get the hint. Plus, one person's "not really that attractive" may be someone else's perfect match and dream date. You can be kind, but you also want them to understand why this isn't working out so they don't hold out any hope that you'll change your mind.

Have someone help you with a get-out plan

From an absolute nightmare date to one that is just too boring to continue, having a prepared escape plan involving a friend or family member is a wise idea. Because it is set up before you even head out for your date, you'll have to work out the specific plan with your assistant. 


One thing you can do is to have your helper send you a text message 20 or so minutes into your date, enough time to know if it's going well or not. The idea is that the text is an emergency where this person needs you immediately. If the date is going well, you ignore it ... if not, be sure your emergency is valid. Don't say your dog sitter is taking your pooch to the vet if you already told your date you don't have a dog. 

Another option is to have a friend crash the date. Rather than have them lurking around the space waiting for a signal, though, just text them on a visit to the bathroom and have them head that way — unless they like to lurk, that is.

Start the date a little under the weather

While it's easy enough to pretend you suddenly get to feeling ill during the date, it's actually better to go in with an ailment of some sort. If you're already feeling icky at the start of the date, your suiter may already have lowered their expectations for the date, making your getaway plan quicker and easier.


If you go in with a fake headache or a stomach ache and it gets worse, it'll be easier to bow out early, and you won't have to come up with the old food poisoning excuse (which is difficult to get away with if you both ordered the same thing). Of course, you'll need to keep up the fake illness until you know for sure whether the date is going well or not.

If the date seems to get better, you can have a miraculous recovery ("Wow, I guess that headache wasn't as bad as I thought it was originally"). If the date gets worse, that headache turns into a migraine, or a few quick, rushed trips to the bathroom will be easy convincers that your tummy troubles got even more troublesome.

Start yawning

If you think about yawning long enough, you're likely to let at least one slip. While the "I'm too tired to stay out any longer" trick may only work when you're on a date at night, it is a good one to reach for when things aren't going how you'd hoped. Yawn a few times, and then say you're sorry and that it's been quite a long day. You can go into details about what brought you to this place of sleepiness, or you can just say you're bushed and it's time to call it. 


The bonus is that it doesn't have to be a late-night date. If you worked all that day or ran errands before meeting up with your date, you have a built-in exhaustion excuse. If you're a single parent — well, that's an easy one! If your date can't understand that going out while you're tired is no fun at all, it'll just solidify your decision to end things early. Heck, even if you're meeting them for coffee in the morning and they try to push for a longer date, you can be sleepy then — perhaps you didn't get much sleep, and you'd really prefer to go home and take a nap (alone).

Perhaps it's time to get back to work

Whether you're on a mid-day or evening date, you could always use something work-related as an excuse — especially if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a side hustle or two. If your date is not working out, you could tell them you have a project or event coming up that requires you to put in extra time, and you just got inspiration for a part you'd been stumped on for a while — who can stand in the way of inspiration? Or, you could check your phone and say you got a message from work saying you need to head into the office immediately.


Perhaps a last-minute client showed up, or there is some paperwork you forgot to fill out before your shift ended. If your date asks for proof of this message, don't sweat it — your work business is none of their business. While you're under no obligation to show them your personal stuff, you can always tell them the reason you can't show them is that you have confidentiality agreements with your employer, and you'd prefer not to risk your position or career.

Or there are some other plans you forgot

If you prefer not to use work as an excuse to get away from a bad date, or your type of work doesn't lend well to using it that way (and your date knows what you do for a living), you could suddenly remember that you made other plans and you better get heading to them. Say you're sorry, and move on out. Not sure what to use as an excuse? We have a few to help inspire some ideas.


Perhaps you forgot that you were helping a friend move, and you don't want to let them down. Maybe there was some family get-together that totally slipped your mind, and you don't want Aunt Norma to be upset that you didn't make it there. You could have a pedicure or hair appointment that totally slipped your mind. Whatever the reason, if they offer to help, you can point out that a first date isn't really the best time to introduce someone to your friends or family ... and the pedicure, well, that's your self-care time, and you prefer to enjoy it on your own.

Just leave

When a date is going extremely awful, you can choose to leave, no words spoken, and no excuses made — which is an especially important tactic to use if your date is a sketchy character in any way. You can pretend you're heading to the restroom and head out the door (depending on the seating arrangement). You could even sneak out while they're in the bathroom. These types of exits happen in the movies, so they've likely happened in real life, too — after all, art imitates life.


Of course, this scenario may leave you with a bad taste in your mouth — the one about not paying for your portion of the date. If it was agreed that your date was paying, why not? If you agreed to pay or split the bill, you can find your waitstaff when you head to the restroom and discreetly pay whatever you need to pay, letting them know the date isn't going well — especially if it's extremely bad, like the person makes you fear for your safety. In which case, the place may have someone who is happy to safely walk you to your vehicle or cab.

Have a dining accident

If you're worried about a dine-and-dash scenario going wrong (like your date catches you sneaking out and follows you for confrontation), you can always go for something a little more ... clumsy. You could accidentally drop a forkful of food onto your clothing or spill your entire drink down the front of your shirt. If you think you might use this trick, be sure that you don't wear a brand-new outfit on your date. You should also wear something that doesn't stain easily or order food that is less likely to leave a nasty stain behind.


While your date may suggest some club soda to clean up that mess, you know that's not a fix-all, and now is your time to get out of this annoying date. Just tell them you need to go home to get this stain dealt with before it sets in. Unfortunately, there's no way you'd possibly continue the date with food or drink all over your outfit, so this is an excellent way to end things early. If your date offers to come home with you for a quick change, just tell them you feel more comfortable going alone, and your incident has you feeling flustered and ready to just spend a night alone.

Just start crying

If you don't want to risk ruining a piece of clothing, you can always cry instead. While a sweet date may comfort you, most folks, especially if this is a first date, are going to want to avoid this type of behavior. They are not likely to want you to unload a bunch of baggage on them — and crying usually means there is baggage, right? In fact, you can make it clear that some pretty heavy baggage brought on those tears. Be sure to blow your nose in front of your date too. While this is a normal body function, it's not really a first date kind of thing to do and could gross them out.


If you're not good at fake crying, think of something that usually makes you cry to trick yourself into letting those emotions take control. Or, you could keep some eyedrops in your bag and dribble a few in on one of your trips to the restroom so you come out crying. You don't need to justify why you're having the waterworks; just excuse yourself and say it's something personal. Your date may see you as an overly emotional person, but if it was going bad, what's the likelihood of you hanging out with them again anyway?

Consider planning shorter dates

While once upon a time dates included dinner, followed by some other event (like a movie, a trip to a museum, the ballet, or something similar), then perhaps a drink or two, you don't have to follow any kind of dating rules when it comes to your own life. If you want to meet for coffee, and that's it, you can do that.


If you want to just go for dessert and skip the meal that usually comes before it, that's okay too. For your first date, consider having it be something short and sweet rather than committing to dinner and a movie or something else that is lengthy and includes multiple different venues you'll need to travel to.

Shorter date-times will make it easier to have things end faster, so having a couple of drinks or just a meal allows you to head home sooner without leaving before things are even done. And, if things went well, you can maybe extend the date or make the next date longer. If they didn't go well, don't make a next date, and don't even elude to this possibility.

Be super annoying

Whether your date is outrageously rude and over the top or too quiet and boring, you could do something outrageous to get them to want to end things early. Give the power to them by being outlandish. If you're not really the type to be loud and obnoxious, put on your acting cap and get loud. Of course, you can be obnoxious without loudness as well; just do those first-date no-nos, like start comparing your date to one of your exes, your dad, or some actor most people don't like.


Other annoying things you could do include being overtly boisterous, very picky about the dining options, rude to your date (just don't be rude to waitstaff), talking about your ex, or things you'd usually be too embarrassed about (like gas, and other bodily functions). You could get very excited about strange things, like the food you ordered. Basically, do anything unusual that you can think of that would embarrass your date. If they're feeling awkward being around you, they're likely to do something to get away — just be prepared to potentially have to pay the bill if they decide to leave sneakily and without paying!