You met through an app, a website or IRL – and the moment has arrived for the big first date.
As has that other moment you weren’t expecting: the sudden and powerful realisation that this person is NOT for you.
And now you’re wasting time.
Because out of some insane British notion of not wanting to come across as rude (to a person you’ll never see again) you’re pretending to listen to them as you plan your escape in your head, nodding at moments you hope coincide with pauses that require your vague acknowledgement.
So, for those moments of realisation where you have a very sudden allergic reaction to another human being, here are 15 ways to make a quick getaway…
1. Plan ahead
Line up one or two reliable (this is key) friends who, when you text ’emergency’, have been briefed to know that’s code for ‘call me NOW and get me out of this freakin’ nightmare’.
2. Go incognito
This is especially good if you’re worried about going on a date with a complete stranger in a public place. Once you know when and where you’ll be, ask some mates to hang out near by – at a table very close to you – and when your date pops to the loo you can give them the nod. When your date returns, your mates can gatecrash your night, making your date fast feel uncomfortable, causing them to make their excuses and leave.
3. Case of the ex
Because there’s nothing that’ll put someone off you and bring the night fast to a close than talking about how great your ex is. A lot. Again and again.
4. Pull a sickie
There are a couple of options here if you’re a girl and only one that a guy can get away with. You can claim that your period pains are just unbearable and you really need to leave. Or that you’ve come over all funny and you really have to go home and lie down. It helps if you starting stripping off or layering up, while fanning yourself desperately with a menu or your hand. Works like a charm every time.
5. Social butterfly
Arrange to meet your date early and make sure you have somewhere to go to in an hour or two. And ensure you genuinely do. Having a faux plan doesn’t quite put the pressure on you to do a runner like having a very real group of people (whose company you actually enjoy) waiting on your arrival to get the party started.
6. A day for remembrance
Suddenly remember it’s the anniversary of the death of a loved one. A gran is a popular choice. And say you need to go to church and light a candle before it closes down for the night.
7. Hit ‘stalker’ mode
Nothing will freak another person out more (and send them packing) than showing them you’ve done your research. Thoroughly. Bring up random events that happened months ago on their Instagram, talk about their friends as if you know them already, and starting listing off your common likes from all the groups and pages they’ve given the thumbs up to on Facebook.
8. Striking resemblance
Mention how they bear a striking resemblance to your mother or father. And then say how much you hate that parent. And that you’re glad they’re dead.
9. World disaster
Look in your area for talks on world tragedies, say you absolutely must attend and then keep an eye on your watch. No one can knock you for devoting time to a humanitarian crisis. I once got dumped for a talk on the Holocaust. And, no, that’s not a joke.
Casually drop into conversation your obsession with the Teletubbies and that you have every piece of memorabilia that exists. And you run their no 1 fan group. Which they’re very welcome to join. World of Warcraft is another sure turnoff.
11. Snip it?
This is more one for the ladies – and it does take balls – but ask the guy straight out if he’s circumcised. If he is, then say that sleeping with him would be supporting gender mutilation and you’re out, before walking away. If he isn’t, tell him you can’t deal with something that looks like Nora Batty’s tights and also promptly leave.
12. Be a SCRUB
Listen to TLC. Be inspired. Say you don’t have a job. That you still live at home with your mum. Who gives you an allowance. And that you left your wallet at home. But remember to dream big and talk about the things you want in life – houses, fast cars, boats – that you’re doing nothing to get.
13. Get creepy
Not another TLC reference. But a Charles Manson reference. Pick a cult. Or a serial killer. And then talk about them less out of interest and more out of admiration.
14. Family matters
If you’re girl, talk about your brothers – how many you have, how big they are and how none of your exes have been seen again. If you’re a guy, talk about your mum – how devoted you are to her, how much you’re looking for a woman that embodies everything she is and how you always do exactly what she says.
15. Be honest
Tell them that this is never going to work and there’s no point in wasting each other’s time any more. Put your money down on the table and walk out like a boss.