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Many daters wonder how to tell a date you’re packing it in for the night gracefully. Do you abruptly get up? Look at your watch? Linger until the other person leaves?
Whether you’ve had a great time or not, sooner or later things need to draw to a close when you’re on a date. Ending an evening can be tricky, but here are a few guidelines to help you out.
First Meetings Are Tricky
The very first time you meet someone can be an awkward situation. After all, not everyone clicks immediately. It doesn’t mean you aren’t meant to be with the person. Rather, it simply means you need time to get to know him or her. The only way to do that is to get through an initial date.
Whether you’ve been set up from friends or met via online dating, there can be the uncomfortable time toward the end of the date when you’d like to go home but can’t think of a polite way to speak up.
Rather than set up an evening without an end time, opt for a coffee date the first time out. Choose a spot you’d be comfortable hanging out in while you wait for your date to arrive. Always drive separately. Once you’ve chosen the place, set up the expectation at the very beginning that you will both leave after one hour. Stick to this rule, no matter what kind of time you’re having.
After all, if you’re enjoying yourself, then you can arrange to go on a “real” date. If you’re having a miserable time, however, this one-hour rule will prevent you from telling your date you’d like to go home. He or she will already know and expect your departure. After an hour, get up, thank your date for the lovely time you had (whether it’s true or not) and be on your way.
A first “real” date is different than a coffee date because the activity usually lasts longer than an hour. Still, with this type of date you can set up the expectation that you’re only available for a certain amount of time.
Rather than letting the date evolve on its own, make specific plans with an end time in mind. Whatever the activity (a movie, dinner, bike ride, flea market) let your date know ahead of time you need to leave shortly after the date. Make sure to phrase it with a gentle tone. The idea is to set an expectation for your date, not to come off as if you may or may not stay, depending.
Always take your own car on a first date, and make sure you are within close proximity to it throughout the evening. For example, if you and your date have multiple activities planned, drive separately to each. This is perfectly acceptable and smart dating behavior. With your car close by, you’ll more easily be able to leave at the time you first suggested.
When the activity comes to a close, thank your date and be on your way. If appropriate, arrange for another meeting. Continue with this method until you’re more comfortable with the person and wish to extend your date longer.