3 ways to escape a date that’s gone very wrong


How to escape a bad date

We all wish for a great first date, but what can you do if it all goes wrong? Is it possible to escape a bad date with dignity? Michael Valmont shares his top tips 

We all want the first date to be great; sparks flying from the second your eyes meet and endless, sparkling conversation. That’s the dream, at least.

Unfortunately, dreams don’t always come true. Sometimes two people on a date just won’t connect.

Maybe your sense of humour is more Sarah Millican, and they’re more Jimmy Carr.

Maybe you’re a Hammer, and they’re a Gunner.

Whatever the reason, you need to escape – with dignity.

We asked dating expert Michael Valmont to share the best ways to leave a date that’s gone very wrong – without offending anyone!


Always be prepared. You may have been getting on great in your messages, but you never truly know what will happen when you meet in person. Build ‘emergency exits’ into your date. You probably won’t need to use them, but know where they are. Arrange your date in parts. Plan to meet for drinks but don’t commit to a dinner or film ahead of time. If the date does go well, you can always propose extending your plans.

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Drop conversational hints

Whether you think you’ll need to use it or not, lay the foundations of your date exit strategy from the outset.

Your date will probably ask, ‘How are you?’ This is the perfect time to respond that you weren’t feeling well earlier but feel a bit better now. Keep details vague and move on. If things do start to go wrong, you can then call on that excuse and blame sickness for needing to cut the night short.

It doesn’t have to be a rogue illness. You could mention how busy your job is and that you’ve had to take some work home to finish. Or perhaps your flat mate has just been dumped and is upset. If you need to leave your date, checking on your friend is the perfect emergency exit.

Be honest

This is probably the hardest option. Telling someone face-to-face that you don’t like them can be awkward, to say the least. However, you shouldn’t be honest to the point of cruelty. A simple ‘I don’t think this is working for me, sorry’ is perfect.

If you do want to make things clear, perhaps follow up with:

‘I think we’re looking for different things’


‘Our political beliefs/interests/lifestyles are just too different.

Never say ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ Avoid cliché at all costs.

Telling the truth allows your date to know exactly where they stand. They won’t be left trying to decipher an ambiguous excuse and you can leave with dignity.

Whatever way you choose to exit your date, remember that it’s always your choice to leave, whenever you want. You don’t owe anybody your company, so never feel like you’re stuck on a bad date. Your time is important – and so are you!

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