Great time or nightmare, it’s always tricky knowing how to end a first date. If it went well you want to see him again, tomorrow if possible. If it didn’t you need to end it gracefully but without hurting his feelings. Or perhaps it was the date from hell and you couldn’t wait to get away. But there’s a rule it’s always good to follow with a first date.

Make it short.

Yes, you know that this is The One. Except that, of course, you don’t. You hope for the best and if you get it then keeping it short will maintain the euphoria and expectation that this could turn into a beautiful relationship. If the best doesn’t happen, at least it’s over quickly. Remember that your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it. And no matter how high your hopes, it’s better not to invest too much emotional energy in a first date.

A first date is an exploratory meeting to see whether you can strike up a connection. There is nothing so arbitrary as attraction and that’s what everybody is looking for when they meet someone new. So it’s much better to do your best to approach a first date with an open mind. Will you want to see him again, or not? How to end a first date depends on whether you want there to be a second.

How to End a First Date When You Want Another Date

You had a great time and the chemistry was good. So you say: ‘Thanks! I had a really nice time’, and wait for him to say he’ll call.

Bad move! Don’t do this!

Why? Because it’s a cliché. It’s too bland and conventional. It suggests you had a really ordinary and uninspiring and even a rather boring time which you would rather not repeat. It doesn’t convey enjoyment or fun or excitement. It makes a man feel a bit deflated.

Of course it’s not wrong to say thank you, but you need to do more if you want to see him again. Saying something like: ‘I had a great time tonight. Let’s do it again sometime’ makes it clear that you’re up for a second date. Say it casually with a cheeky smile so that he knows he has an opening to see you again, but your eternal happiness doesn’t depend on it. Don’t go overboard and suggest you meet up again tomorrow. Leave it vague so he has the freedom to react without feeling under pressure.

Or ask him to text you about something you discussed during the date, a book or a film or a great place to visit. That way you can give him your number easily and naturally.

How to End a First Date Without a Second Date

You liked the guy – he was polite and friendly and good company, but the vital spark was missing, and you’ve decided you don’t want to see him again.

Spot the contradiction!

You liked him but not in that way. Women who believe in The Thunderclap or The One are particularly prone to this. Just because sparks didn’t fly they discount a man instantly. It’s your choice but if you regularly discard otherwise congenial men just because they didn’t leave you pulsating with sexual desire at first sight you might be missing out on a few potential princes. Just a thought.

But if you’re sure that he’s not for you then it’s a good idea to insist on splitting the bill. This has a ‘just good friends’ vibe and should make it clear that you are not interested in a second date. It also circumvents any tendency on the part of your date to believe that you owe him something, which sadly still exists in the minds of some men.

If he still suggests meeting up again then you must bite the bullet and say no. If that’s hard for you then tell yourself that it’s kinder than leading him on with false promises. Try saying that you are flattered but you don’t think you are a good match. Don’t suggest ‘just being friends’ as it will not offer the comfort you intend. He’s not looking for friendship.

And don’t say you’ll call or be in touch. If he does ask then say you’re sorry but you won’t.

How to End a First Date When You Can’t Wait to Get Away

You’ve chatted a bit, tried to find some common ground and mutual interests but the conversation is awkward and sticky. It’s not working between you.

If you think he feels the same you can acknowledge it by saying: ‘We don’t seem to have much in common, do we? Shall we call it a night?’ He will probably be relieved to call it quits too and you can both leave with your dignity intact. Make sure to split any bill.

If you prefer not to be so upfront, or if you feel he might take it badly, you can make an excuse to leave early. Have something good worked out before the date so that you can make it look convincing instead of groping for an excuse on the spot. If he suggests going somewhere else say you’re sorry but you have other plans. You don’t have to explain them.

If he becomes aggressive or you feel unsafe for any reason then tell the staff at the venue. Ask them to call you a taxi or if necessary the police. But hopefully it won’t come to that.

How to End the Date With a Good Impression

Remember that last impressions are just as important as first ones. If you want a second date you need leave him thinking about you and how much he wants to see you again. That’s why it’s important to keep it short.

If it went really well and you’re pretty sure he felt the same you can leave him with a challenge. Say something like: ‘If you don’t call by Friday I’ll start to forget you!’ Team it with a confident, flirty smile. That way he knows what he needs to do if he wants to see you again and you won’t spend days waiting for a call which never comes.

Men like challenges.  It helps to build attraction and rapport, and it’s attraction and rapport that will lead to a great relationship. Find out more about how to do this here.