Monday, November 12, 2007

How to end a date when you know you don't want to go out again

Someone arrived at LG the other day looking for "how to end a date when you know you don't want to go out again."

And I thought, "Oh! Something I can relate to! And have strong opinions on!"

Ending early dates is hard. You don't know if the person is going to kiss you. You don't know what they're going to say. You don't know what they want. Sometimes you don't know what you want.

Now, I have to admit that when someone I know I don't want to go out with again ends a date with, "I'd love to do this again," I get wimpy and say something agreeable. I am not proud of this. But I'd never put someone on the spot like that either.

In fact, I was all annoyed at this guy for saying, at the end of a first date, "I'd like to get together again. Would you?" Aaagh! Why ask me right then and there?

And what do you say, faced with that? "Oh, no, not really. But thanks!"

There's no way I could say that. And he's a friend of a friend. I really didn't want to hurt his feelings. But I definitely didn't want to go out with him again. I very quickly said something like "Sure! Let's email!" and rushed off. Knowing that I would decline through the distance of cyberspace.

And then a friend of mine reminded me that when it is someone I do want to go out with again, I get all excited that he says he wants to go out again before the date is over. This is true.

But here's what I think you should do if you know you don't want to go out with the person again. Or even probably don't.

Just say, "Thanks. I had a nice time." Or, "It was nice hanging out with you." Or, "I had fun." Something brief and innocuous along those lines. And then say goodbye. And leave.

If you're one of those people who kisses out of obligation - don't. She'll think you want to kiss her again in the future. Although I suppose you could kiss her really, really badly. And then she'll never want to kiss you again...

Hmm. That's something to think about. But then you risk getting a nickname that includes your terrible kissing skills. OK, ignore this tangent. Back to the issue at hand.

So you've said your non-committal pleasantry. You're not obligated to say anything further. In fact, don't. Even if she's standing there expectantly, or hopefully. Don't say something that implies a future date when you know you're not going to follow through.

Because this is something I have never understood about men. Men who are perfectly nice people, not malignant or ill-intentioned, will say misleading things at the end of dates. Things they have no intentions of following through on.

Things like, "We should do this again sometime."

Or, "This week is busy but let's look at our calendars for the following week. I'll email you."

Or, simply, "I'll call you."

Why do this? Why bother saying things you are never going to do? When nobody is asking you to say anything?

Guy friends have explained this by saying that sometimes say they get nervous. Or they want to end on a positive note. Or they just feel like they have to say something.

No! You don't have to say anything! In fact, it's unkind to plant false hope. It's not that hard to say Ihadanicetimethanksbye! If you jumble it together it only takes one breath.

And then, the next time you run into the person, you never have to say, "I lost your number." Or, "I lost my phone." Or, (in some alternate reality) "I'm an asshat who told you I'd call you because it seemed like the easiest way to end the date."

With one quick, no-offer date ending you can avoid being either a liar or an asshat! How great is that?


  1. "I really didn't want to hurt his feelings. But I definitely didn't want to go out with him again. I very quickly said something like "Sure! Let's email!" and rushed off. Knowing that I would decline through the distance of cyberspace."

    When you say "sure", you get his hopes up, and then you shoot him down after. That probably hurts his feelings worse than just saying no face to face, even if doing that is more difficult.

  2. You are absolutely right. I am going to work on that. In fact, next time it happens, I'm going to be honest and say no. A friend of mine just emailed to say that she would always just be direct about not wanting to go out again and men were appreciative of the honesty.

  3. I was actually going to point out that by saying that, you actually did exactly what you're so upset about men doing later on in the post. It does sound rather similar to:

    "This week is busy but let's look at our calendars for the following week. I'll email you."

    Don't you think?

  4. Well, no. I do agree that it's cowardly of me, when asked point blank, to say yes when I want to say no. I should've just said that I didn't really think so. But if the guy didn't say anything when we were saying goodbye, I'd never suggest we have any future contact. I do feel like guys often end things with things like, "I'll call you." When they could just as easily not say anything. Why say you'll call if you know you aren't going to?

  5. I've been married for 12 years, but my prior method of indicating that I didn't want to go on a second date was to punch myself in the groin until I threw up.

    It worked flawlessly.

  6. You just made me laugh so hard I snorted. You rock.

  7. Um... I hate to be the odd man out, but why not just tell the guy the truth? And while you're at it, why not assume the guy is telling the truth? I mean, I'll grant you that a lot of guys don't always speak the truth. Nor do a lot of women. But wouldn't it be simpler if we all did, and assumed others were as well?

    Well, it works for me. And I'm not dissappointed very often at all. I mean, we can all tell the asshats who are clearly NOT telling us the truth. It's the other ones I tend to believe.

    By the way, I am familiar with the implied definition of "asshat" but where did you ever hear that word?

  8. I want to be clear - I'm not saying I can always tell when a person is lying. I meant that there are some people whom EVERYONE can tell when they're lying. As for the others, I assume they're not. If it turns out I'm lied to, that person doesn't get another chance. But then, in a dating sense, I guess that doesn't help you if your feelings are hurt by then because you've trusted someone you seemed to like erroneously.

    Personally, I'd rather be a hat than a hole.

  9. It's a tricky thing, really, this end-of-the-date dance. Honesty is the best policy, so they say...even if it hurts.

    I think i need to introduce "asshat" into my vocabulary.

  10. I would rather be lied to.

  11. moosie - I think so, I do. And as for asshat, it's a fun thing to say.

    FK - That's quite interesting. Because it makes for an easier, more graceful ending to the date?

  12. This blog rocks. I thinks it's best to leave with the ubiquitous "Don't call me, I'll call you", and a kiss on the cheek. A kiss on the cheek is the universal sign for "this is not going anywhere".

  13. I'm so unaccustomed to going on dates that aren't people I know through friends that I'm used to just trying to be nice about everything because I'll surely be running into them at a party soon. In fact, I'd love to hear how you end conversations with men who are friends of friends at parties and are obviously interested. I'm terrible at this. Hence my conversation a month ago for two hours in a kitchen with some guy who ended up telling me I shouldn't use my heat just for the sake of being wasteful. And then again last weekend when I somehow got roped into talking to a cross-eyed guy who has zero ambition and an eye patch.

    As far as the kiss on the cheek, I've had guys ask if they could call me and timidly kiss me on the cheek because they didn't want to move too fast. And we continued dating for a few months. So maybe only universal depending on the words accompanying.

  14. FI - Wow. I didn't realize that. I get a lot of cheek kissing on early dates - cheek kiss hello cheek kiss goodbye. I quite like it. But now I have to sit down and think about whether I should've read into it...

    Amanda - Oh, goodness, I'm terrible at that as well and sometimes get stuck for ages and sometimes end the conversation abruptly and awkwardly because I just can't bear it one more second. Or sometimes I say I have to find the bathroom or another drink (although they might accompany you for the another drink). But that's something I'm working on. A friend is working on ending business conversations at receptions. She said she'll simply say, "It was so nice talking to you. Have a great conference!" or something like that. No apology or excuse, as you have nothing to apologize for. I might start to try a version of that. And I'm with you on the cheek kiss - maybe more about the words?


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