Every so often, in all of our dating lives, we end up stuck on a terrible date. A date so boring, so tedious, that it forces you to question your own judgment. A date so all-consumingly awful that it makes you want to give up on dating for good and do something more fun with your life, like become a livestock inspector, go live alone on a decommissioned Russian submarine, or just very slowly burn your hand with a curling iron.
Whether your date is terrible due to a lack of chemistry, mismatched interests, absence of shared values, one member of the date's refusal to remove their sunglasses while indoors, or the appearance of a third person midway through your date (who never speaks and is introduced by your date only as "Trey"), it shares one common quality with all other bad dates — the fact that it requires you to figure out how you want to cope. Once you realize that you are indeed trapped on a bad date, you need a plan that will help you get out of (or weather through) it with as much of your sanity intact as possible.
Terrible dates are just a fact of life, one of the risks of meeting new people, and they shouldn't get us down; but they can. And so, it's vital to have your favorite bad date coping strategy locked and loaded, ready for whenever you need to use it. The good news is, there are only really three options to trot out when you're on a bad date: lying, being brutally honest, or waiting it out. Which one is right for you? Read on, and discover which strategy is best to use the next time you need to shovel yourself out of a blizzard of a crappy date (but be warned: if it's really crappy, you may have to use all three).
Ideal For: People who hate confrontation; people who love lying; people on a bad date with someone they know they'll never see again; people who want to get out of this bad date as quickly as possible and don't care how they have to do it.
Potential Risks: Getting called out on your lie; having the lie get back to mutual friends, who then want to know how you are doing after your severe allergy attack/ family emergency/ surprise nomination to the Supreme Court.
How Should You Do It?: The sky/ your own sense of shame is the only real limit when you've decided to lie your way out of a bad date. Pick whatever lie you feel you can execute with a straight face. Did you come down with a stomach virus? Did your roommate get locked inside your apartment's walk-in meat freezer? Is your cat feeling really depressed and needy about her recent break-up, and just needs someone to stay home and watch movies with her? Any of these will work equally well for a date where the main goal is getting out as quickly as possible, while leaving no room for discussion with your date. Try to avoid faking your own death to get out of a date if you can, though.
2. Be Honest
Ideal For: People who hate lying; people who are extremely mature; people who are extremely over dating; people on dates that have gone so terribly, horribly wrong that it feels like the vengeful flames of brutal honesty are the only thing that could ever possibly make them feel good again.
Potential Risks: A date who views your honesty as an opening to talk you out of your decision; getting cussed out in public.
How Should You Do It?: Simplicity is the key here — meaning, while you may have dreamed up an elaborate fantasy scenario where you loudly deliver a monologue about all of your date's shortcomings in front of a rapt crowd, who then all high-five and dance around you doing "The Robot," a quick "I think this isn't really working, best of luck!" is a better bet. If you go for honesty, stick to your guns, and don't suffer any tomfoolery from a date who thinks your honest assessment of the date means that you want to debate your future potential as a couple (when all you really want to do is go home to your truest love, Law & Order).
3. Wait It Out
Ideal For: People who hate both lying and confrontation; people who are stuck on a bad date with a friend of a friend and are concerned about creating drama; people who are polite to a fault, even when it works against their own best interests.
Potential Risks: Frustration; exhaustion; acute awareness of all the fun things you could be doing instead of sitting through this date; having your date mistake your dead-eyed boredom for interest and asking you out on a second date.
How Should You Do It?: As its name implies, waiting it out involves simply letting the rest of the date wash over you, while reminding yourself that all suffering is temporary — including the kind of suffering that stems from listening to your date talk about how they were voted to both homecoming court and prom court in high school. Think of this date as a meditation exercise — can you view your date with removal and compassion, as if you were a person sitting next to you, tweeting about your horrible date for the entertainment of strangers? Become that person at the table next to you. Become one with the bad date. Is this killing enough time? Are they still talking about high school? Oh my god, just get up and leave. Your time is worth more than this, man.