We’ve all been on bad dates. You don’t need a giant signal from the sky to tell you that this person isn’t your fairytale true love, but you need to make sure that they know this, too, and ideally without causing too much of a scene. With that in mind, here are the best (and worst) times to let a date know that there won’t be another.
Immediately After The Date
It doesn’t have to be a big deal. You met, you talked, you shared food, and that was the end of that. If you don’t feel a spark, that’s ok, and it’s best to just be upfront about it. I’d recommend saying something kind, wishing them luck with an upcoming venture you discussed, and making it clear that you don’t think you’re compatible. Don’t waste any of their time, and be respectful.
After Post-Date Drinks
Sometimes we grab a little Dutch courage before saying potentially awkward things, or to make us feel slightly more loose and flirtatious. It’s an easy thing to do, but, unfortunately, it’s not a good idea. In my experience, you’re never quite as elegant as you think you are after a few drinks, so although you might believe you’re making a speech about the brevity of life and the importance of taking risks, what you’re actually saying is they’ve had noticeable pit stains all evening and you haven’t listened to anything they’ve told you. Additionally, if you’ve decided to spend time with them after the planned event, you’re leading them on and it’ll be confusing and more hurtful if you announce you’re not actually interested.
After (bad) sex.
Did you really think the sex was going to be good? Of course not. You met someone on a dating site, spoke on the phone once, had an uncomfortable conversation, found you didn’t have chemistry IRL and then somehow ended up at their place anyway. Just… stay the night, I guess. It’s better than hopping around, trying to find your pants, and trying to explain that you’re not sure about being in a relationship right now, and you’ll definitely call them, but you don’t know what your schedule is right now.
The Morning After
Your head is pounding and you feel like an ass. You pushed through the date with a forced interest in their boring life, and everything else was helped along by alcohol. Now, accept a cup of coffee and smile as they get dressed. This is going to be sticky, and you will need to be tactful. Explain that you’re not sure about the spark or that you don’t have a desire for the same kind of relationship, but offer a compliment and smile some more. Then leave. Don’t delete their number, but don’t message them, either.
Over Text, The Next Day
This is only really permissible if you didn’t sleep with them. Again, be kind, but clear. It won’t hurt to say something nice or reference something enjoyable (thanks for introducing me to a great restaurant!) and then leave it. An answer or two is fine, but don’t drunkenly slide into their DMs two weeks later looking for a causal fuck and ruin it all.
Ten Years Later, After you’ve Got Married
Yep, you’ve really messed up. Your bad date didn’t end and now, somehow, you co-own a house and have met their granny. Good luck with the divorce, I guess. At least now you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you’ll have a better time with everyone you casually meet up with for the rest of your life… provided you don’t realise you’ve lost all of your social skills over the past decade. It’s not as if they were great to begin with, or you wouldn’t have got into this mess.
Of course, none of this applies if your date is threatening or makes you feel uneasy. Then leave. Manners be damned: don’t risk your safety for a bad date. Get in touch with someone you trust, and if you think you’re being followed, go to a police station or a hospital or somewhere with security so they can help you.
Otherwise… don’t worry about it. You won’t adore everyone you meet at work or in your social life, so why should dating be any different? There’s no need to be sad, either: dating sites are teaming with people, and you’ll find someone who laughs at your daft jokes and brushes the hair from your face in a way that gives you butterflies. It’s better to cut your losses, not waste any more time, and move on to interesting conversations and sizzling sex.