Here's Part One.
Last week when I wrote about leaving a date, one of you commented that:
...there are numerous levels of relationship one can have. By limiting the amount of time you allow for type can literally kill another.
Red, next time you find yourself wanting to leave take a deep breath and ask yourself can he offer me something other than romance.
I also agree that there are numerous levels of relationship one can have.
I do have a method to my madness, however. And part of that method involves context. If someone asks me on a date, he is doing so with expectation, whether he knows it or not. It sets the tone for a date that something may transpire from our time together. I also didn't give the full story behind my leaving, which was prompted by a) his own misrepresentation of who he is b) his blatant and obvious desire that we be more than friends.
At that point, the kindest thing for me to do was to be honest...and not in a rude way (I am not a huge fan of people who use honesty as an excuse to be rude). I very nicely said, "I am getting more of a friend vibe here with us." He actually appreciated the honesty, and we have spoken since in a friendly way.
And that’s when I realized, huh...clearly I am not 'splaining this well. So I’d just like to say, I really, really am not a jerk when I leave these situations. I also do my best to make sure that I'm not bolting after fifteen minutes... “Well, look at the time! Um, my friend called! There's an...emergency!"
I get what the commenter is saying. It’s not as if I couldn’t develop a friendship with these dudes, but let’s be honest...we are going on a date first, and sometimes it’s a little trickier to switch from, “What if we potentially bone for like, ever,” to, “Here’s my good pal Hank” than it would be the other way around. I think it’s important to give both parties a little time to be comfortable with the switch, as well (e.g. I’d feel weird continuing a dinner that started as a date and then being like, "So...you like, er, marbles?").
So anyway, here’s how you can leave a date with dignity.
Set a time limit
For a truly blind date, set a time limit for your meeting. If there is no connection, the date will be over in the same amount of time a typical coffee-for-networking meeting would be over. If there is a connection, it’ll leave you wanting more. Anywhere from 60-90 minutes is ideal...I’d really hope that most humans could keep up conversation for that long.
Use Your Noggin
This could also be titled: Drive your own car, take your own cash, and let people know where you are. This is a better alternative to eyeing your exit routes from the get-go or potentially needing to climb out windows, because this is your exit strategy. If you drove your own car and have your own cash, it’s much easier to close the date on your own terms, without being stranded and without making someone think you were just in it for the free meal. (It’s also much, much safer.)
Be honest (but be kind)
The last date I left wasn’t a total disaster. Actually, the guy was super nice, which is why I agreed to meet him in the first place. But I knew within about 30 seconds that this was just not going to work (no physical attraction on my end). We were both there, though, and there was good beer involved, so I gave it the old 60 minute college try. I made nice conversation, and tried to use my gut and my noggin to determine when it was really time to go.
I knew it was time when he started making reference to how he thought we might work as a couple in the future. Now, I’m not saying this part is easy (it’s not) but that’s when I said, “I just want to say that I think you’re a really nice guy and I appreciate you taking the time to meet me. I’m getting more of a friend vibe with us, and just thought I’d let you know up front.” [Um, I may have thrown in a nervous “That’s how I roll.” I'm so lame.] I then paid for my drinks, let him know it was time for me to go, shook his hand and said, “Nice to meet you.”
That’s it. Badda boom, badda bing...we both had some nice beer, spent an hour in conversation, and done. No harm, no foul. No big deal. No...[insert cliché here]
(Oh, PS, I should also reiterate...while I know I sometimes come across as, "I left a date! Boys are so yucky and dumb!" this isn't a FUN process, and I get no joy from it. What I do get is a sense of independence and power over my life, my time and my decisions. I don't think it's "polite" to extend a situation just because I should. That's a disservice to both myself and the dude sitting across from me.)
So really, maybe "leave a date" sounds harsh. Maybe this should be titled, "How to Exit a Date with Dignity and Class." Tomato, Tomahto. Either way, I want people to know there are alternatives to awkwardness and ignoring people's texts and phone calls after the fact.
What do you think? Have you ever left, er, "exited" a date? Would you?
Thursday: How to Leave a Date, Part Three