I don't know how to end a date that is mostly about conversing. Example: long conversations where the only reason the date concluded was last call for a train or the place we were at was closing. I enjoy most of the dates I have so I don't want to sound abrupt in closing the date or give off the impression I didn't enjoy my time with the other person.

Some details on me, if it matters:

  • I'm a guy
  • More of a listener than a talker, so the other person has more control over the coversation
  • We are only talking about dates that don't have a clear ending
  • 1
    I do not understand the question. Here is my interpretation: you are on (romantic?) dates that go on forever until you are forced to leave because e.g. the last train or the bar is closing and you want to know how to get out earlier? If so, why? Is that anywhere near it? Perhaps try to edit so that even people like me get it
    – Raditz_35
    Sep 24, 2018 at 8:06
  • @Raditz_35 That's exactly it. I just don't want to have run on dates.
    – LampPost
    Sep 24, 2018 at 8:29

5 Answers 5


I think plenty of us have been on dates (or just in friendly meet-ups) where we would be capable of just chatting indefinitely. Unfortunately, other obligations such as sleep, work, train times etc. can cut such meetings short. Most of the time, people will understand this if it does not come as too much of a surprise. We all have other responsibilities in life to ourselves and others. Even if you are mostly a listener, if you are both chatting most of the time, there will be opportunities to bring it into a conversation without seeming rude or abrupt.

You can make it clear that you'll have to leave at a certain time without it sounding as if you WANT to cut the date short, rather that you HAVE to. "I'll be able to stay out with you for another hour or so; my last train is around eleven-ish." can come across better than "I have to go, my next train's in ten minutes". In this example, you're clearly demonstrating that you're having a good time by remarking that you'll be happy to stay in their company for a least another hour or so (rather than ten minutes!) and given them a friendly advance warning that there will be a wind-down time at some point later. It also comes across positive that you're offering a bit of flexibility on when exactly you will have to leave.

As it comes closer to when you want to leave, you can again bring the point across without it sounding so abrupt. If for example you are buying rounds, you can remark that you "have time for one more". Again, it demonstrates that even if your time together is limited, you are still enjoying their company.

In summary, a friendly mention of your home-time earlier in the evening (without dwelling on it) will avoid you coming across as abrupt or rude later.

  • 1
    I usually don't have anything planned afterwards and I don't want to limit the time early on just in case the date ends up going very well.
    – LampPost
    Sep 24, 2018 at 8:55
  • 1
    @LampPost These suggestions could still work with a shorter time-frame, but let's see what other ideas come in.
    – user8671
    Sep 24, 2018 at 15:10

To be blunt, your first mistake is going on a first date (Or early enough that you need to ask this question) that doesn't have a predefined lifetime.

As a general rule if you are asking someone out and you are unsure of how it will go, you increase you chances greatly of them saying yes, if you bound it. An example of this is a coffee date before work, where you have a clear time and elsewhere to be no matter the outcome of the date.

Failing this foresight, I would say it is best to be blunt. Either you have somewhere to be, in which case that is a perfectly good reason to end it, or you are not interested in spending time with this person. If the former is the case, it can be a hard deadline like a train (you mentioned) or it could be a early morning the next day. Either are fine and perfectly acceptable. If the later is the case then say so and end it right then and there. This will save you both a lot of trouble.

Finally the best way, regardless of the conclusion of your date, to show your interest is a follow up text or call or whatever is appropriate to say as much and organise another date.


Oh wow, it's already <the time>! I've been having such a good time that I completely lost track of time. I really need to be in bed by <bed time>, so I have to leave in <time until leaving>.

Then at <leave time> (optionally):

So when can I see you again?

This has the advantage that you can use it for most times when on an evening outing. To reduce the abruptness you announce in advance that you are going to leave and you can adjust the amount to your preference. To further remove any awkwardness you can bring up a possible next date.


You can set up an endtime starting the date. Depending how interesting the other person is, you can set the deadline according to your expectations. So, when that time is reached you can simply say that you need to go. The other person would not feel bad about because you stated the limitation of time earlier.
In case you are having fun with your date, you say you can extend the deadline and arrive later to your next appointment, in that way the other person would feel you're having fun.
In case you're bored during your date, you can say you made a mistake about the endtime, and you are already late, you excuse yourself about the time and leave to your fictional next appointment.


As someone who gets tired around other people, I usually don't know in advance when I will want to leave because I'm tired. This has lead me to use the following technic over the years.

A warning beforehand

When I go to a party and I'm a bit tired even before getting there, I warn the host in advance (or at the beginning of the party) with something like:

I'm sorry but I will probably need to leave early (because I have other stuff to do/because I need to be well rested for tomorrow).

I usually take care of not giving a specific hour so that I can leave when I want. If it turns out that I wasn't that tired and decide to stay longer than I thought, it's not a problem. If my host is surprised to see me stay that long, I just say something like:

I'm having too much fun, my chores will have to wait.

So, now your host is pleased because you decided to stay the regular length of time!

Time to leave

When I get tired of any the social gathering and I want to leave, no matter if I warn the other people that I might leave early, I use the following:

  • I watch my watch

  • I wait a bit (so you won't seem rude)

  • I watch my watch again and say something like: "I'm sorry but I will need to leave soon"

  • I wait again (again, in order to not be perceived as rude)

After some time, if the other people don't put a stop to the conversation, I:

  • watch my watch a few time

  • start to fidget on my chair

  • finally say: "It was nice spending time with you but I need to go now"

All those steps allow the other person to mentally prepare themselves for the fact that you will be leaving soon. This way, your departure won't seem abrupt.

edit in response to comment:

The second part of these step is to make the other person feels rude if they don't put an end to the conversation.

If you are afraid that this approach will make you seem rude, as I'm not in other people mind I can't know for sure, but no one ever told me I was being rude (but they might have think I was anxious/nervous and didn't want to be late for whatever was coming next).

  • From your time to leave section I would imagine that would give the impression of being rude or that you're feeling trapped
    – LampPost
    Sep 25, 2018 at 6:00
  • @LampPost I don't know if people think I'm rude. What I do know is that no one ever told me I was (but maybe they didn't want to sound rude).
    – Ael
    Sep 25, 2018 at 7:37

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