The Best Ways to End a Bad Date or Cut It Short & Moves You Shouldn’t Ever Use

Picture the scene: you’re on a date, a really bad one. And you just want to get out of there. But how do you end a bad date gracefully?

end a bad date and cut it short

When you agree to go on a date with someone, you don’t really picture it being terrible, do you? But the truth is, sometimes knowing how to end a bad date is important knowledge to have. After all, not every date is going to end in romance and roses.

While you can only hope that you and your date get along well, whether there’s a date number two or not, history has known a myriad of terrible dates. If you end up on one, you’ll be glad for some advice on how to run away, quickly and with a little grace in the process!

[Read: How to be better at dating – 15 ways to enjoy every step of the way]

How to get out of an awful date

Remember to give your date a little time before you decide that you want to bail and end a bad date. After all, maybe you just need to get things warmed up first! But if you find that nothing seems to be lighting a fire and you really can’t stand another second, these exit strategies will help.

1. Planned emergency phone call

This one is pretty well known when it comes to going on a date with someone new. Make sure to let a friend know that if you text them your “secret code,” it means they are supposed to call your phone ASAP, begging for leave right away, because there has been an emergency.

This one also never fails. After all, your best friend was in your life way before your date was, and you could never leave your BFF stranded during an emergency, so your date has to understand how dire of a situation this is! [Read: Good friends are like stars]

2. Be disgusting

Depending on your personality type, you’ll either find this tip amazing or completely unimaginable. It will also depend on how miserable you are on your date.

There is probably nothing more disgusting than a date who is… disgusting! So, if this date reeeaaally isn’t going well, throw all social etiquette out the window. Openly pick food out of your teeth, talk about the beast you dropped in the toilet this morning, or do a quick pit-smell test at the table.

As gross and obscene as you can be, do it. This person will definitely refuse to see you again, and if you’re lucky, they’ll cut the date short. [Read: 14 signs you’re ruining your first date]

3. Come up with a work excuse

If you are currently employed in any kind of work, this one is a great, easy, and much less grotesque way to end a bad date. Maybe they want to order another glass of wine, or maybe they’re eating their food really, really, really slow.

These moments are great for you to throw in the old “I hate to have to do this, but I just got an email from my boss telling me to be in the office an hour earlier than normal” or “I have to go. Just got an email that the deadline for this project is tonight at midnight!” [Read: How to behave on a first date – 28 tips to impress anyone in minutes]

4. Be a ghost

This is when you disappear and don’t come back. You should say something along the lines of how you have to use the restroom, or you have to make a really important phone call. Then you get up, walk away, and remove yourself from the table, and from their sight.

You should wait about 5 minutes, and leave. Make sure you have a friend on standby waiting to pick you up outside.

Now, this part is very important: you must eventually be sure to let them know you’ve left, roughly at around the 30-minute mark! Seriously, you might think it best to never talk to them again, but it’s really important that you do.

You do not want them to actually start worrying about your safety, and get the cops involved and file a missing person’s report. [Read: 18 dating rules to be a good date & must-know toxic habits to avoid]

5. Have another date lined up

There’s nothing wrong with having a backup. People have backup phones, backup purses, backup drives, backup plans, so by all means, have a backup date! To make it even easier on you, tell your secondary option that you will text them around 8 pm to meet you at whatever restaurant you know you’ll be at.

What better way to get out of an awful date, than having another date show up and crash the party? We’re pretty sure that your first date will get the hint you are just not interested, and when they ask, you’ll just tell your second date “Oh, they’re just a friend I ran into while waiting for you to get here, so we grabbed a drink real fast!”

[Read: Is he married or dating someone else? 20 warning signs to watch for]

6. Make the menu your best friend

If you use this strategy, go hungry and thirsty. Actually, you don’t really have to be hungry or thirsty, just make sure they think you are. Become a food critic, someone who wants to literally try everything on the menu.

Order the filet, chips and salsa, the cheese balls, the Cobb and beet salad, the duck, the tuna sandwich, and whatever else your little heart desires. Chew with your mouth open, chug your drink and you’ll make them wonder if you’ve got a bottomless pit for a stomach.

They’ll probably ditch you before you ask for the dessert menu. [Read: Foodie dates – 15 trendy inner ideas for new couples]

7. Be a storyteller

If you are looking to end a bad date, this is another great strategy. Become the ultimate storyteller. Talk about all your exes, all of your friends’ exes, and don’t even bother really taking a breath. In fact, it works even better if you don’t really let them continue to say much of anything.

You can even make stories up. After all, you will never see them again anyway! Tell them about how you and your ex still have sex, even if you don’t, and about how you’re actually going to go hang out with someone else once you leave there, even if you aren’t.

You could even talk about how you’ve been arrested for stalking one of your exes who got a restraining order on you *never happened*. [Read: 55 tips & things to do on a first date to leave your date smitten & in awe!]

8. FaceTime your mom and dad

What better way to scare a guy off than introducing them to your parents too soon? And by too soon, we mean literally on your current, cringe-worthy date.  

Start by saying something like “OMG! Let’s call my mom and dad, they would love to meet you!” and before they can say anything, pick up your phone, and get mom and dad up on that video chat.

Obviously, your mom and dad will know you’re having an awful time. You don’t have to talk long but talk long enough that it has an awkward silence or two. And if you are feeling really bold, set your phone up against the wall at the table where you guys can all eat together! [Read: 13 warnings signs to look out for after the first date]

9. Just be honest

This may not be the easiest method of cutting a bad date short. It actually might be super awkward, but it gets straight to the point. Plus, this avoids any follow-ups later on.

First, start with a compliment before you let them down. Then apologize and tell them you’re not feeling it and don’t want to waste your time or theirs. If lying isn’t your thing and you want this to be the official end, this is the method for you.

You can say something like, “You’re really great/sweet/cute, and I’m really sorry, but I don’t feel a spark between us.” Hopefully, they’ll understand and respect your honesty. [Read: How to be mature and act like an adult]

How not to end a bad date

Learning how to end a bad date is only part of the story. There are some things you should avoid doing too. After all, you don’t want to be a jerk, do you?

So, no matter how much you want to get out of a terrible date, avoid doing these few things:

1. Saying you’re sick

They will probably want to take you home. They will follow up and may even bring soup over and offer to watch movies with you. That is the last thing you want if you wanted to get out of a bad date with them. [Read: 14 signs you’re unintentionally ruining your first date]

2. Spill something

Not only is it hard to fake spilling something while making it seem authentic, but why waste a decent date outfit? There are more realistic and easier options to cut a bad date short.

Spilling something so you have an excuse to go home and change or get cleaned up is a bit dramatic. Just skip this one, please. It’s not the most effective way to end a bad date. [Read: Single for life: Enjoy the ride and find the one along the way]

3. Don’t wait  

If you know the date is a dud early on and you plan on bailing, do it earlier rather than later. There is no need to lead your date on or suffer through a bad date longer than needed. Just rip the bandaid off.

There is no use in prolonging the inevitable when you need to end a bad date. [Read: 51 warning signs of a bad first date & BIG red flags in the first few dates]

Bad dates are a rite of passage

Don’t worry if you find yourself having to end a bad date, it happens to everyone. In fact, it’s a huge part of your dating experience. Just take it on the chin and learn from it.

What you shouldn’t do is allow it to stop you from dating in the future. After all, the right one might just be around the corner.

[Read: Casual relationship – 80 casual dating tips and rules to not get hurt or attached]

So the next time you’re looking to escape a bad date, and you’d actually rather hear the sound of nails on a chalkboard, use any of these 9 strategies for a quick exit back to your sanity!

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...