When you’ve been on the dating scene for a long time, it’s likely you’ve banked up more bad dates than you would care to admit.
For some people, this reality forces them into periods of intermittent ‘dating pauses’ whereby they commit to not dating until their faith in the process is at least somewhat (never fully, perhaps?) restored.
For other daters, it seems more appropriate to push through one bad date after another, in the hope (albeit a fading hope) that their perfect match is just around the corner.
But you know what – it really doesn’t have to be a complete dating exodus, nor does it have to be a time-wasting, lengthy act of over-the-top-people-pleasing with a person you have worked out in five minutes is not your special someone.
So, let’s look at ways to ensure you no longer have to check out of the process altogether and allow you to confidently go on dates without having to mourn the precious time you’re about to invariably lose.
An excuse is palatable if it has been well-prepared
No one feels good about lying, but if it’s not too far from the truth, a pre-prepared excuse to leave a date early saves both parties a lot of time, money and effort. The trick lies in having an excuse already formulated before the date and for it to be loosely bound to some basic truth, so that it comes across as sincere.
Alita Brydon, the creator of the Bad Dates of Melbourne and Bad Dates of Australia Facebook Groups, expressed her support of a good pre-prepared excuse on the How To Date podcast. Brydon’s pages have a huge cult following, so if she has no compunction about advising us to “have an excuse lined up in your head so that you’re ready to pull it out if you need to pull it out”, then we should all listen.
For Brydon, she is happy to induce a headache on a date, should the need arise, and given that she really is an occasional headache sufferer, this excuse is “true enough”.
Set your date’s expectations low
If your date is forewarned that you won’t be able to stay long, then the worst thing that can happen is that you find yourself in the pleasant predicament of having to find an excuse to stay longer if all is going well.
Brydon recommends on the How to Date Podcast that “sometimes it can be as simple as saying, ‘I’ve got another engagement to go to after this.’”
Give yourself permission to pull out the big guns if necessary
Let’s face it, some people just don’t take “no” for an answer. Sometimes it takes an excuse so explosive that it leaves the person wide-eyed and open-mouthed in disbelief for them to actually believe that you… NEED. TO. GO.
“We actually had a story on Bad Dates of Melbourne where a woman brought a guy back to her house and it wasn’t going well,” Brydon recalls.
“So, she texted her friend and said, ‘You’ve got to get me out of this date – this guy’s not leaving my house. What do I do?’ The friend called her back and says, ‘I’m giving birth, you need to come to the hospital.’
“So she says to her date, ‘You’re going to have to leave immediately, I have to go to The Royal Melbourne.’ So, she kicks the date out, gets into an Uber, the Uber driver’s like, ‘Right, off to the hospital,’ and she says, ‘Nope, we’re not going to the hospital, we’re going to McDonald’s.’
“So, she went through the drive-thru and came back home with her Quarter Pounder and went back into her house minus the bad date. So, I mean, whatever works.”
Dating is something you get better at: Use it as an opportunity to learn the skill of ‘Leaving the Date’
Brydon is a big fan of the early exit and feels that being able to do so is a learnt skill. If the date is not great, don’t waste your time with niceties; remember to use the date as your training ground to hone your skill of leaving the date!
“I think for a lot of women, the confidence to leave a bad date early is something they have to work up towards. It can be hard for a lot of women. But be confident and do your best and pull out whatever excuse you’ve got to do to get out of there.”
Monique Robin is a yoga teacher, wellness coach, mother-of-four and the co-host of How To Date, a podcast about how to master the messy, complex, and downright bizarre world of dating.