How To Get Out Of A Bad First Date

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

There can be a lot of buildup before a first date: What will they be like? Will there be chemistry? What will we talk about? And sometimes the first date is just as magical and spark-filled as you hoped it would be. But sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's really, really not. The last thing you want to do on a bad date is stick around, sitting there for hours in a sea of awkwardness. But how do you get out of a bad date without hurting someone's feelings?

Luckily, a bad first date is often easier to maneuver out of than if you've gone out with the person once or twice already. They don't know you at all yet, so you can use any excuse that comes to mind and they won't know if it's unrealistic. They don't have anything invested, so you should feel free to make a move if you're just not feeling it.

Even though having a bad first date can feel kind of crappy, remember that it doesn't have to get you down. Yes, they can be frustrating and a little disheartening, but really bad dates can also be kind of hilarious. "There are successful comedians who make entire careers off of bad dates," New York–based relationship and etiquette expert of Relationship Advice Forum, April Masini, tells Bustle. "Call your best friends and laugh about how bad the date was. ... You can all share and laugh about the worst dates ever, [then] the actual dates don’t seem so bad. They seem funny."

As funny as they may be, you might not want them to last forever. So here's how you can get out of a bad first date — as fast as you need to.

1Have A Friend On Text Standby

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

One of the easiest ways to get out of a bad date is to have a friend on text standby. If the date is really awful, you can text them and have them call you, saying they need you. So few of us make actual phone calls these days, rather than texting, so it will seem very important indeed.

2Have A Friend *Actually* On Standby

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

One of the best offenses is a good defense. Rather than waiting to be stuck on a bad date, decide from the beginning that the date will only last an hour or two — enough time to get to know someone, but not enough time to feel trapped. Before you meet up, tell your date you're meeting a friend, that way it doesn't feel like you're making an excuse.

3Use Work As An Excuse

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

One of the great things about arranging a first date during the week is that you have a valid excuse for wanting an early night. If you say you have an busy work schedule and have a really early start, you can easily make an exit without insulting your date.

4Look For A Natural Breaking Point

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

There's a reason coffee and drinks make great first dates — there's a natural breaking point where you can make an early exit, every time you finish a drink. It's the same reason a seven-course tasting menu would be a terrible idea — you're tied in there for a long time. Choose first dates that frequent natural end points and use them wisely.

5Just Be Honest

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If you're not feeling the date, perhaps the easiest thing to do is to just say you think you better head home. Or if you think your date is rude for spending the entire night on their phone, you can say that you're not interested in someone who's that disrespectful. You don't have to be mean — you can just a simple explanation and a swift exit will do the trick without any lingering confusion.

Getting out of a bad date may feel like an awkward task, but you can do it without being hurtful or rude. It was just a first date, so there will be no hard feelings if you don't stick around for longer.