Some folks enjoy the adventure of a first date and the possibilities it throws up. But to many, going on a date - especially a first date - can be an unnerving experience. Even worse if it’s a blind date and you’ve had to trust somebody else, possibly a matchmaking friend with good intentions, to set you up with the ‘right’ person.
You’re really excited, if somewhat scared, about the whole thing and then you meet. And when you actually meet, you wish you could pinch yourself and wake up and find it is all just a dream, oops sorry, a nightmare! You wonder, should you bravely weather it out or should you just make a clean break by figuring out a way to ditch this date?
If it’s the latter you choose, then forewarned is forearmed. You have to be ready with an action plan in the event the date doesn’t work out; praying for divine intervention to get you out of a bad date just won’t work. Here are some ideas on how to ditch a date…
Arrange for an interruption
If you’ve had a history of bad ‘first date’ experiences or you anticipate the blind date turning out to be a disaster, ask a friend to bump into you and act like it’s a coincidence or an unexpected twist of fate. There are even ‘Escape-a-date’ calls from mobile phone companies and cellular service providers, which provide convenient excuses to escape from a date, though it comes at a price. The advantage is that if it's professionally done, it could look more genuine. If you like your date you can discreetly signal your friend to make herself scarce or joke about the ‘lifesaving’ call and tell your date that you don’t want to escape after all! That way if you like your date, they’ll also get the message that you’re interested.
Have an unavoidable emergency come up
You could also have a friend make an SOS call to you, saying your mother has been rushed to the hospital or your dog is choking. Or you could pretend an early onset of Alzheimer’s, stating that you’d totally forgotten about a prior appointment with your shrink that you had to schedule weeks ahead. Your date too will probably be eager to get away from someone who seems to be approaching early senility, providing you with an escape route to ditching him/her!
Fake an allergy/ illness
You could always pretend to be allergic to some unknown ingredient in the meal and make your excuses to use the washroom. Come back looking suitably pale and wan, or pinch your cheeks a bit to get that flushed, feverish look. Tell your date that you are feeling terribly unwell and while you hate to cut the date short, you just aren’t up to it any longer.
If you’re the type given to dramatic shenanigans, do something silly that will make your date want to get as far away from you as possible – as long as you’re not afraid of calling unwanted attention to yourself. Slurp your coffee, talk loudly, burp louder, brag a lot – all aimed towards making her never want to lay eyes on you again. If you’re female and too ladylike for the above, get into the drama queen/ ice princess act – behave in a condescending manner, act self-centered and whine endlessly about everything from the shoddy service to the tasteless décor. Ditching a date was never so much fun.
Take the adult approach
Of course, if you like to call a spade a spade and prefer dealing with it in as mature a way as possible, simply tell your date like it is. Thank him/her politely for spending time with you but be honest and simply say that you don’t think you really gel. Unless your date has taken a shine to you, chances are they might be quite appreciative of your down-to-earth approach.
So that’s the game plan if you take an instant dislike to your blind date or you feel you’re just not compatible. But unless you form an aversion to your date, don’t instantly dismiss him/her out of turn just because you don’t feel sparks flying or sizzling chemistry between the two of you.
A few words of cautionary advice
Don’t make snap decisions. While first impressions do account for a lot, they are often based on impulse and unless you have discovered that your instincts are infallible, give the other person a chance. Some people take time to shed their initial inhibitions and once they do and are at ease, they can be great company and exhibit some wonderful qualities that you could well find yourself attracted to.
As you’ve set aside time especially for this date, make it worth your while. Give it your best shot and approach it with an open mind. Don’t have overly high expectations or preconceived notions about how it should go. It’s good to have a fair idea of what you are looking for a in a mate, but if you set your sights too high, you could be letting yourself in for disappointment time and again.
And after all this, while you may still be eager to get away, it will make you feel better as a person if you did it graciously and didn’t hurt the other person's feelings. Try and make an effort to get through the evening and end it by letting him/her down as gently as possible.
A case in point of how ditching a date can go either way is aptly illustrated by Christine in one instance and Ted in another. Christine, now 25, talks of a date that was arranged for her by a friend when she was nineteen. She took an instant dislike to her blind date, feigned a migraine and escaped. Six months later she discovered it was a lucky escape. The friend who had set up the blind date told her that Jerry was into substance abuse and that wasn’t the only kind of abuse either. He had been dating a girl for a couple of months and she’d filed a complaint against him with the cops for violence and attempted date rape. Christine heaved a sigh of relief that she’d made the right decision.
On the other hand, Ted has a totally different story to narrate. A couple of years ago he went out on a blind date with Charlene who turned out to be as interesting as a damp squib. Any attempts at conversation only elicited monosyllabic answers and he finally dropped her home with a solemn vow never to call her again. A year later he bumped into her at a friend’s party and was amazed to discover a totally different side to her. Charlene was vivacious, fun and quite the life of the party – just the kind of girl he liked. She later told him that just before their date she’d overheard her parents talk of a divorce and couldn’t come to terms with it. She had gone through the motions of the date hoping to forget but couldn’t seem to. They kept talking and the rest of the party faded into the background. A year later and they’re still together. Ted regrets the year they lost because he decided to ditch the prospect of dating Charlene the first time round, but is profoundly grateful for a second chance!