Midlife men and women, especially, have a difficult time telling someone it's been great to meet them but they're going home now. They sometimes feel that it's more polite to sit with someone for hours, even when you know you don't want to see them again. Is there a graceful way to exit a date?
Begin by Thanking Them for the Positive Parts of Your Date
To help end things on a positive note, thank your date for your evening or time spent together. Something like:
"I had a wonderful time with our dinner and conversation. Thank you."
"What a fun night we've had. Thanks for arranging a nice date."
"I know you're really busy and I appreciate the time you took for our date today."
By starting this way, you're signaling that you'd like to go home now while also appealing to your date's ego. Your date will be happy that you had a good time (even if you really didn't), and will be more willing to leave, even if they're not ready to go home yet.
Avoid Talking About Whether or Not You're a Love Match
Conversely, if you didn't hit it off and started out by saying "I don't think we're a love match," or "I guess since we don't have any chemistry we should say goodbye," your date may just want to argue rather than say good night. Perhaps they'll want to know why you don't like them, or when you decided that you weren't attracted to them.
This not only ends things on a sour note but makes your date feel bad. The goal is to end the date politely so you can go home and reflect back on the time you spent together. If you decide that you'd rather not see the person again, you can tell them that when and if they ask you out for another date.
If your date doesn't take the hint when you try to wrap things up, you may need to tell a white lie. It's acceptable to tell a small fib ("I had a nice time," "I enjoyed our date") rather than hurt someone's feelings. However, if your date doesn't get the message that you want to go home, or insists on staying out a bit longer, you may need to go one step further.
One way to end a date with someone who doesn't get the hint is to fake an emergency of some sort. Take your cell phone and make a call out of earshot of your date. (If you don't have a cell phone, go to the bathroom and pretend that you took an emergency call while you're in there.)
Some of the emergencies you could mention include:
A friend who is having an emergency and needs you.
The best way to end a date politely is to set up the expectation beforehand. A coffee or lunch date where you indicate ahead of time that you only have a certain amount of time to meet will set the tone kindly but firmly. If you say you can only meet for an hour, your date will expect you to end your conversation after that time has passed and you can both be on your way.
How to end a date is a question you should think about the minute you plan your date. If you set the limits for how long your date will last, it removes the pressure of uncertainty later. You never have to awkwardly tell someone who you've had a nice time but just want to go home.