Particularly in the age of internet dating, so many first meet-ups are pretty close to blind. While you might have seen pictures and know that this person loves tacos and trips to Costa Rica, things don't really click into place about who they are until you can actually get face-to-face. Thems the facts, my friends. And while it's no uncommon experience to be on a date that feels pretty dead in the water, it's also not uncommon to find yourself on one where you feel legitimately uncomfortable. Keeping in mind how to leave a date if you are uncomfortable or just really, really not feeling it is always a good idea. You do not have to stay if you don't want to!
If your date is giving you creep vibes, for example, always trust your gut, psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson MA MFT ATR, owner of Create Your Life Studio tells Bustle.
"The safest thing to do is say that you are so sorry, but you realize you aren’t ready to date anyone, then make a hasty exit and bolt for the door," Scott-Hudson says.
It works on all kinds because it does not blame them for your lack of interest, Scott-Hudson says. It is better to be thought of as a mess than it is to be the target of someone unstable. Get yourself out of there and be safe! Communication expert and host of PBS's Retro Report, Celeste Headlee tells Bustle that when it comes to dates, keep the focus on your feelings and instincts above all else.
"It's less about interpreting your date's facial expressions and body movements and more about concerning yourself with your own feelings," Headlee says. "Human beings, for example, are quite accurate at detecting deception, but not very good at knowing what specific things are untrue."
You could drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why you have doubts about your date, when the important point is that you're having doubts about your date, Headlee says. "The decision doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can excuse yourself by saying you've started to feel unwell or you've gotten a headache."
Another good point? Leaving a date doesn't have to mean that you never go out with that person again, Headlee says. Rather, it means that you feel uncertain and need time alone to think more carefully.
"I always recommend removing yourself from a situation when deeper reflection is needed, since humans can't multitask, which means that you can't both engage your date in conversation and think carefully about their character or behavior," Headlee says. So don't be hard on yourself for feeling confused or overwhelmed by the situation. Dating can be weird! Taking time to make sure you feel OK about everything is always a good idea.
And as for one fail-safe tip in particular?
"My top suggestion for leaving a date in a low-key way if you are feeling uncomfortable is the exit call," Mayla Green, relationship expert for TheAdultToyShop.com, tells Bustle. "Tell a friend that you're going on the date, and ask them to call you half way through. If the date is not something you want to be on, you can use this as an excuse to politely leave. You can tell your date that your BFF locked themselves out of their house and you have the spare key, so you need to go unlock her door for her."
It's a low-key way to leave the date when you have to "come to someone's rescue," Green says.
Again, fellow daters, there is no reason to stick it out in a situation that makes you feel weird. And one last tip, if you feel it is anyway unsafe, stay in a public place and call a friend to meet you to go home together.