How Can Women End Dates Politely?

I got the vibe that he wasn’t really excited about our date.

To be fair, I wasn’t all that thrilled about it either. Maybe I was projecting. But the feeling I was having, based on his foot-dragging approach to setting up a date (“Well, email me when you’re next in the area”, “Queens? Hm. That’s far. Will you be in Staten Island maybe?”) was that he wasn’t exactly thrilled to be seeing me. Which is why I told my parents to expect me back in no more than two hours max.

And which is why I was really surprised to find myself still talking to him three hours later.

Conversation had slowed, although it had been good enough. I was game for a second date. But I also wanted to end the first. It was feeling dragged out. And I had work the next day.

I thought about how my dates ended dates. Usually they straighten up, look me in the eye, and say in a firm tone, “Well, shall we go?”

I tried to imagine how my current date would take it if I tried that now. Somehow, all I could come up with was “startled” with a tinge of “affronted.”

So with an inward sigh, I went about all the indirect (and inefficient) feminine ways of ending a date.

I shifted restlessly. I stifled a yawn and apologized, saying I’d been up early that morning—to get to work, you know. I let silences drag. I observed how empty the place was getting—everyone was going home. And slowly… oh so slowly… it took about fifteen minutes, but he asked, “Would you like me to take you home?”

Was I being too obvious?

When he declined a second date, I felt guilty. Was it because he really wasn’t interested, or was it because he’d taken my heavy-handed hinting to mean that I wasn’t interested?

Then I laughed at myself for feeling guilty. I’d been so sure it would be a 1nD from the start. Stupid girly guilt over everything. He probably hadn’t read into it at all.

Someone please tell me:

When the guy says “Well, shall we go?” after three hours, it’s not necessarily a sign of disinterest. When a girl desires to be taken home at 10:30pm on a workday, does the guy take it personally?


14 thoughts on “How Can Women End Dates Politely?

  1. “Was it because he really wasn’t interested, or was it because he’d taken my heavy-handed hinting to mean that I wasn’t interested”

    I really hope it was the former and that no one would ever decide not to continue dating someone one would have liked to continue dating, just because of one’s impression of what the other person MIGHT be thinking about continuing.

    I believe, and I have advised anyone who cared to hear what I thought, that the decision to continue dating someone has to be made “selfishly,” meaning based ONLY on your own desire to continue — and NEVER on what you THINK the other person might want to do. That’s the OTHER person’s decision. If he wants to stop dating, well, he had better say so. If he chooses to continue, you have every right to assume that he believes that there is something to be gained by continuing.

    Otherwise, if people try to guess the other person’s opinion and make their own decisions based on that guess — as informed as that guess may seem — they only have potential to lose out.

    Think about it using simple hypothesis testing. Assume that you want to continue, now you are guessing what HE thinks:

    Hypothesis 1: He actually wants to continue.
    • If you guess correctly, then you are no better or worse off than if you would not have tried guessing what he was thinking.
    • And if you guess wrongly, you are MUCH WORSE OFF than you would have been not guessing, because you will break up something that both of you would really have liked to continue.

    Hypothesis 2: He does NOT want to continue dating.
    • If you guess correcly, then you are no better or worse off than if you did not guess at all, because he would have broken it off anyway.
    • And if you guess wrongly, you are also no better or worse off than not trying to guess, because he would have broken it off anyway.

    So guessing has no potential to make things better and some potential to make thinks worse, ergo it is best not to make any decisions on what you think he is thinking.

  2. Oh, and I have no good solution to your question, of how a girl can end a date early and politely without effectively influencing him to end the relationship.

  3. I’m confused. Why didn’t you just say you had work tomorrow and asked if you could cut out early? We guys can read “hints”. If it were me and I had picked up anything, it would’ve been that she was bored with me and didn’t want to go out again, as opposed to if she told me she wanted to leave bc of work. I wake up 5:30 every morning, I’d have understood that.

  4. Would it have killed you to say “I’m enjoying our conversation, but I’m tired and need to wake up early for work tomorrow. If you’d like, we can continue the conversation one day during the week or after shabbos.”

  5. I second Mark & FrumGeek, Also, if this guy works for living, then he should be thinking about leaving at reasonable time as well.

  6. One downside about cutting a date short after 2 hours due to the need to get to sleep for work is that he might question why you agreed to go out at that time knowing that you’d have to cut the date short. I think that Bad4 was not happy with the prospect of having to explain that she had a priorily assumed that the date would go bad.

  7. @Pinny, why does a first date have to be more than 2 hours?

    What is the “acceptable” time for a 1st date after which you don’t declare that it was “cut short” when it ends?

  8. Mark – you hear people say things like “Their first date lasted eight hours! They knew they were right for each other!” So maybe people assume you have to block out a whole day for every single first date, otherwise you are already thinking it won’t work out.

    (Of course, most people cannot spare this much time unless they have a trust fund).

  9. tesyaa, 8 hours?!?! That’s ridiculous. In the rest of the world, the only way a first date lasts 8 hours is if you get lucky 🙂

    As I recall, my first dates (and there were a LOT of them) lasted between 45 minutes and 6 hours or so. Average was about 3 hours.

  10. @Mark
    I don’t know, that is a good question. Rereading the original post I see that it had lasted 3 hours and that conversation had slowed down. You are right — that sounds like a decent first date that has reached its best conclusion. Bad4 is also right that there must be a way — that shouldn’t be taken the wrong way — to suggest ending the date and picking up the conversation on the next date.

  11. @tesyaa
    I hope that no one ever decides to marry someone based on the length of any date or just on the ease of conversation. I have many friends with whom I can have hours and hours of great conversation but with whom I could never be married (had they been the correct gender).

    From my own experience, my wife and I had many long dates — our average was a ridiculous 7+ hrs. — and even 2 weeks before getting engaged I did not know she was the one, for exactly the reason I wrote above. Yes, after the fact it seemed clear that our rightness for each other contributed to the long dates, but there does not need to be a correlation. Some married couples only went on short dates and others whom were not for each other had long dates.

  12. In the past I’ve done the whole yawn and talk about how I need to get up really early the next day thing, or am trying to work on going to bed early, but that’s only if I want to end the date cause I don’t like the guy
    If I like the guy I’ll just be direct, and say “I’m tired”, I guess I figure I can get away with it cause I figure they can tell that I was enjoying myself (if I am not enjoying myself, the guy can almost always tell)

  13. Chana, I do not understand your logic, why would you want be rude to the guy you like?
    I think the best thing to say that you had a good time, but have to wake up in the early in the morning for important project. If you really like the guy say you like to do this again.

  14. It really depends on the guy.
    On my first date (ever), my date and I really enjoyed ourselves. Of course I didn’t know that then- she kept looking at her watch! After the date, I came home and told my parents that I liked her, but I don’t think there will be a second date because she kept looking at her watch. I said yes anyways. Lo and behold: She said yes! She told me that she does it out of habit; she wasn’t necessarily checking the time, and that she enjoyed herself.
    The point is, that even though I saw those signs, I can’t necessarily know what the other person is thinking. Nowadays, when I see something, I almost immediately ask, but I have no problem if my date would ask me if we could end the date. No hard feelings.

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