How to End a First Date Without Being a Dick
Or “I had a 5-minute date last week that ended with the guy bolting for the door and deleting me on Bumble”
“What could I possibly have said in those five minutes to produce that kind of reaction?” I wondered as I slurped my chai latte and did a quick mental recap:
Asked him about himself, his work, and his hobbies
Made eye contact
Offered a bit about my own professional pursuits
Beyond the initial “I liked that photo of you kayaking—where was it?” pleasantries, five minutes allows for about as much depth as a Kim Kardashian Instagram story.
Two minutes later, I shrugged my shoulders and was back to watching Carol Burnett sketches on YouTube.
I’m no stranger to rejection in dating, but this was a first. It was at once wildly amusing and a sad commentary on social disconnection in modern society.
Rudeness aside (I knew he was lying about a friend having car trouble), I still wanted to give him a high five for efficiency.
You see, too often my dates have offered a “Let’s get together again” suggestion at the end of the date when they had no intentions of going out with me again. It’s an in-the-moment, selfish (and ego-based) ploy to avoid the awkwardness of simply stating disinterest.
I consider this an even greater miscue than Five-Minute Frank.
At middle age, WE. CAN. HAVE. DIFFICULT. CONVERSATIONS. (claps in between for emphasis) This includes being honest and direct about disinterest.
Because I’m a helper (pats self on back), I’ve put together a quick guide for those participating in this grand social experiment of dating. Share enthusiastically and widely, my friends.
There are three typical scenarios of how dates usually end (outside the “smashing success” category); here’s what to do:
Scenario 1: Neither Of You Is Into It
The beauty of midlife is that you’ve had enough life experience to know who/what you like, so you’ll likely find yourself in this situation more often than not. If you’re in this position after spending a respectable amount of time with each other, offer a quick, “Thank you, I enjoyed meeting you.” Afterward, no additional follow-up is necessary. If you like closure, then offer the following via text: “Thank you for meeting. I don’t think we’re a match, but I wish you well in your search.”
Scenario 2: You’re Not Sure How You Feel
End the date with a “Thank you and goodnight”…maybe a hug (or a handshake if a hug seems too forward). You don’t need to promise anything or say anything more. Sometimes, you really need to process everything before you can make any decisions. And that next decision doesn’t need to be anything more than committing to another conversation.
Scenario 3: One Of You Likes The Other, But It’s Not Mutual
In this case, be honest and tactful: “Thank you for your kind words. I don’t think we’re a match, and I sincerely wish you well in your search.” It really is this simple. We’re all in this together…and stringing someone along is completely unnecessary and unkind if you’re already certain you’re not interested. A fast “no" is always better than a slow “maybe.”
How do you end a date when you don’t want to be a dick?
Got a script of your own?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.