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I'm totally clueless in this type of situations.

You meet someone for what is implied a date. After talking to him for an hour or two, you discover you really don't have much in common. Nothing dramatic happens, you just aren't made for each other. You finish your coffee/ beer and then he asks: "What do you want to do next?".

The truth is I want to go home. I'm quite introverted and a nerd with just a few topics I find massively interesting, so unless I have a feeling there could be something between the guy and me, I find it difficult to chitchat for more than 2 h.

What's the most graceful way to finish a date without hurting his feelings?

  • Is there anything you've thought of doing, or have done, that didn't seem/end gracefully enough for you? Are there any limitations as to what you're willing to do or what not, that answerers should keep in mind? – Tinkeringbell Dec 10 '18 at 22:01
  • @Tinkeringbell, normally I have horrible problems telling anybody I want to leave, so I suggest that we e.g. go for a walk or something. – user17962 Dec 11 '18 at 11:35
  • Did you ever have any experience when trying to get out of a date hurt the other person's feelings? Do you usually have problems being very straightforward? – ConfusedANDHungry01 Dec 11 '18 at 14:58
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Don't worry about being introverted or nerdness or anything else like that. Ending that first date when you're not feeling any connection is hard for everyone. I know, when I was dating I did a lot of first and second dates, and for me it was best when the date ended with a clear resolution.

The way to end a first date when you aren't feeling like you want a second date is to be honest. Just say something like "It was nice meeting you, I think I'm ready to head home now". If he asks about a second date, it's fine to say that this was nice but you don't want to get together again. Plain and simple truth minimizes his hurt feelings, as it makes it clear to the guy that he shouldn't invest any more effort. The wrong thing to do is to be vague, give him false hope, and make him think that he should be persistent. Eventually you are going to have to tell him the truth, and if you wait, he will be more emotionally invested and more hurt.

If the guy is persistent in asking for a second date, that's a good sign that you've made the right decision. Any decent guy needs to accept that no means no.

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    @Noon why would gender matter? – DaveG Dec 8 '18 at 19:36
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    @noon: The answer refers to how you, referring to the OP, should end a date. I think that's clear from "The best way to end a first date when you aren't feeling like you want a second date...". – DaveG Dec 8 '18 at 21:15
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    So did you actually used this technic in a date? If not, it would be nice to make that clear. – Ælis Dec 8 '18 at 21:20
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    Hi Dave! You mention the word 'best' a few times ('best when the date ended', 'plain and simple truth is the best way'). Would it be safe to assume that 'best' here is the same as OPs goal of 'graceful and without hurting feelings'? And would it then be safe to assume that 'the worst thing' you describe here will lead to hurt feelings in the end, more so then when being honest? – Tinkeringbell Dec 10 '18 at 22:05
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    @Tinkeringbell Yes. When I'm a little more awake I'll edit – DaveG Dec 11 '18 at 2:24
8

If you often find yourself in this situation, I'd recommend setting up expectations prior to the date, in addition to planning how to end the date.

As someone who feels uncomfortable being in too intimate of a setting with people I don't know very well, I like to avoid being alone with someone on a first date. For me, this has meant choosing my words carefully when setting up the date, as to not set any expectations or imply any false promise of a continued hang out.

For example, if someone were to ask me what I'd like to do, I'd say:

"I'd love to _____ (ex. grab coffee) and get to know each other a little better."

Or if they set the plan, such as eating dinner together, I may say something like:

"Getting to know each other a little better over dinner sounds great."

The key with both of these statements is that you are reinforcing your intentions, and not implying anything beyond just the scope of the currently planned date. Inversely, open-ended statements about the date (i.e."Let's hang out Saturday night, maybe we can grab dinner?") may leave your date feeling like there's a potential for more to happen after the date. The more you can eliminate open-ended, unbounded expectations, the easier it will be to end your date gracefully and without conflict.


As for ending the date itself, there are a few key things you'll want to focus on.

First, show appreciation for their time, even if you aren't interested in them romantically. Even if you didn't actually have the time of your life, make sure to thank them in some way for spending this time with you (they also took time out of their day to meet with you, after all). You can do this by explicitly saying 'thank you', or just by vocalizing that you had a good time.

Second, be confident and firm in your stance to leave. Don't feel bad for excusing yourself with no explicit reasoning, it's okay to not want to spend any more time with this person.

Third, don't end/pause right after saying you're going to leave. To some people, this pause is a natural entry point into asking why, specifically, you need to come home, or even just further pressuring you to stay out longer. Instead of ending on this pause, direct the conversation somewhere else so that your date's response is not aimed at why you're leaving.

These three guidelines often have me following a script that's somewhat like the following when my date asks "So, what do you want to do next?":

"Actually, I've got to get home here soon. Thanks for coming out to grab dinner with me though, it was nice meeting you."

A reasonable person may still be a little bummed, but will respect your decision to end the date at this time. If they still reach out to you (later) showing interest in another date, this now leaves you in a much easier position (or at least not on the spot) to decline by telling them that you weren't really feeling a connection and aren't interested in meeting up again.

Unfortunately in dating there are no steps to guarantee sparing someones feelings from being hurt, but using the tips above will minimize the odds of an awkward/negative situation escalating when trying to end a date gracefully.

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