Tips to get out of a bad date


When going on a date, we always hope it’ll be a good one and that we’d find the one. However, not all dates are smooth-sailing. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself sitting in a pool of awkwardness because you two don’t have anything in common.

Thankfully, we’ve been there, done that, and built up an arsenal of exit strategies. From spilling a drink to crying, these tried and tested tips will guarantee to get you out of a bad date and back to your fave Netflix show. Take note of these and put them in use this Valentine’s Day and beyond.


1. The group of friends approach


Sure, this might seem like you foresee a bad date coming your way even before it happens, but a little extra caution definitely won’t hurt.

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Simply plan your date at a popular location, like Marina Bay Sands or Clarke Quay, and have your group of besties hang out at the same place. The more crowded the place is, the less suspicious it’ll seem later. If the date starts to head south, send out a sneaky text and stage a reunion with your friends at the table.

Have them crash the event, turn it into a group party, and casually talk to anyone else but your date.

From a serial dater: “Back in uni, I’d plan a “date” at Starbucks or the cafeteria on campus. I knew I’d bump into classmates there, which always came in handy when I wanted to cut my date short to go work on my group project (there was none).”


2. The crying approach


If you’re one of those emotional souls who can cry on cue, then this one’s for you.

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Go ahead and start to ramble on about your personal problems, past relationships with your exes, trust issues and work troubles. Randomly burst into tears about your dog that’s been sick for a year if you must. By then, your date will be so confused and scared, they’ll be heading off themselves anyway.

But if they haven’t, just get up and excuse yourself, citing the need to be home to care for the said sick dog.

From a serial dater: “I went on a date with a guy who looked just like my ex. Two drinks in and I started crying about my recent breakup. Poor guy was so confused so he ordered some fries, another round of drinks and then went home. I wasn’t trying to scare him away, but I also realised crying was a very effective method to end a date.”


3. The illness approach


The last thing you want to feel on your date is unwell. Unless the date is going badly, then any types of aches and pains will be the perfect excuse for you to leave.

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Give yourself a good 10 minutes of frowning and crinkling of your forehead before sharing that your “headache” is killing you. Or, do multiple bathroom trips and say that you have a stomachache. That should give you ample reasons to escape the date.

If you can’t fake it, order something you know will cause an upset tummy, like a Bloody Mary on an empty stomach. You have to go big in order to go home.

From a serial dater: “I went on a Tinder date with a guy who looked nothing like his photos. Plus, all he talked about was himself. So I had to eat a peanut which I was allergic to in order to leave. I’d rather get hives temporarily than have to endure the date.”


4. The spilling approach


Put an immediate stop to your date by accidentally spilling a drink on your clothes. Bonus points if the drink is colourful, like a Cosmopolitan or even a cranberry juice. 

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The downside is the stain might be hard to wash off. But the upside is no one will question your legit reason for ending the date early to go home. This graceful exit strategy works every time and nobody’s feelings will be hurt. 

Make it even more dramatic by combining this trick with #2 and sob uncontrollably. Then, head home to wash your clothes and also wash away any scarring memory of a bad date.

From a serial dater: “I’ve spilled countless drinks and even soy sauce on my clothes so I could have a real reason to leave a date. It works every time. Remember to wear white and repeatedly remind him/her how precious this piece of clothing is”.


5. The friendship approach


Turn your date off by constantly dropping the f-bomb – for friends. Let them know subtly that all they’ll ever be to you is a friend.

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To friendzone your date, use sentences like “my best friend is exactly like you”, and “you sound just like this person I’ve been friends with for years”. Let them know how busy you are and the reason why you’re still single is because you don’t have time to date.

However, keep in mind that this tip is tricky because not everyone can pick up clues. If that’s the case, try the other six approaches. 

From a serial dater: “I was on a casual lunch date with a guy and he started coming on a bit too strong for my liking. So I quickly told him I’d been hanging out with this other guy and wanted him to meet my friends. Then I asked if he wanted to meet this other guy next week. Needless to say, he stopped talking to me after that.”


6. The last-minute meeting approach


No one wants a last-minute meeting. But if it can save us from a bad date, then we’re here for it.

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Let your date know that it is detrimental that you be at this urgent work thing because you’re either the head of the team or the only person who knows the details of the matter. Explain the predicament that you’re in and then quickly ditch.

Beware: your date might try to drop you off or walk you to wherever this meeting is at. If that happens, don’t sweat and just follow through till the end.

From a serial dater: “I wanted to end the date early but didn’t want to break this girl’s heart, so I told her I had to go to the office to get some work done. I didn’t think she’d want to walk with me. So I had to walk all the way to the office, eat some pantry snacks, use the toilet and then go home.”


7. The horoscope approach


If you’re into horoscope, comparing zodiac signs is a typical first date conversation. But if you aren’t, brushing up on your knowledge of star signs can help you get out of a bad date quickly.

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Show your date you’re a firm believer in astrological love by reciting signs compatibility. Inquire about their zodiac sign and show some concerns about how your signs don’t match. Whether they know anything about horoscopes or not, they’ll respect your belief. Then, quickly wrap up your story and make a dash for the exit.

By the time they can look up all the horoscope jargon you’ve been feeding them, you’ll hopefully be halfway home.

From a serial dater: “I went on a date with a Cancer. I’m a Sagittarius and I read horoscopes religiously. So I knew Sagittarius and Cancer would clash. But he was very good looking so I decided to meet up anyway. As I suspected, we were the polar opposite. I told him our signs wouldn’t match with one another, and he looked at me like I was crazy.”


The bottom line


This Valentine’s Day, if you find yourself anxiously watching the clock on a dreadful date, try one of these seven tips to get out and go home.

If these subtle approaches are not enough, there’s always the honesty option. Just tell them this isn’t going to work. This might be brutal and lead to more questions, but it will put a firm end to your first date. Plus, it’ll guarantee no second dates.

However, since no one likes to be questioned, feel free to apply the last and arguably most effective strategy – the Irish exit. Just head to the bathroom and sneak out the back. Once you’ve escaped, follow up with the rest of your unread messages and go on another date. 

Maybe this time, you’ll finally find your happily ever after.


Photography by Ian Sim.