4 genius ways to get yourself out of a bad date unscathed, according to a pyschologist

Bad dates are awful. But sometimes we endure more than we should out of politeness. So what’s the best way to get out of a bad date unscathed? Psychologist Dr Amantha Imber explains.

If you are currently on the dating scene, you will know the awkwardness of meeting someone who you know, within the first couple of minutes, is not someone you want to spend time with even for the length of a drink. But thanks to human decency, fear, and social norms, we generally force ourselves to endure the situation for what can feel like an eternity (even if it’s only for one drink).

If you are tired of sitting through bad dates, here are some strategies to avoid the many uncomfortable hours that single folk can clock up on horrible, boring, and just plain awful dates.

#1. Pre-prepare an excuse

I recently interviewed Alita Brydon, the creator of Bad Dates of Melbourne and Bad Dates of Australia Facebook Groups, on the How To Date podcast. Brydon’s pages have been called a “national phenomenon” by the media with a cult following of over 180,000. And Brydon has read about and been on her share of bad dates.

Like what you see? Sign up to our newsletter for more stories like this.

Brydon’s number one piece of advice is to go in prepared.

“Have an excuse lined up in your head so that you’re ready to pull it out if you need to pull it out,” she says.

For Brydon, having a headache is one of her go-to excuses – and given she occasionally gets headaches, it doesn’t feel too far-fetched.

#2. Have an escape plan

Many of us feel anxious before a date, especially when it’s the first time we have met someone face-to-face. Part of that anxiety comes from worrying it will be a disaster.

To help reduce our anxiety, Brydon recommends going in with an escape plan.

“Sometimes it can be as simple as saying, ‘I’ve got another engagement to go to after this,’” Brydon explained on the How To Date podcast.

“So you sit down and you say, ‘Just letting you know that I’ve got to head off after the first hour because I’m meeting up with a friend.’”

#3. Get creative

While it can be easier to use a well-worn excuse such as having to leave to meet a friend or go to a work engagement, some situations call for a bit more creativity.

“We actually had a story on Bad Dates of Melbourne where a woman brought a guy back to her house and it wasn’t going well,” Brydon recalls.

“So she texted her friend and said, ‘You’ve got to get me out of this date – this guy’s not leaving my house. What do I do?’ The friend called her back and says, ‘I’m giving birth, you need to come to the hospital.’ So she says to her date, ‘You’re going to have to leave immediately, I have to go to The Royal Melbourne.’

So she kicks the date out, gets into an Uber, the Uber driver’s like, ‘Right, off to the hospital,’ and she says, ‘Nope, we’re not going to the hospital, we’re going to McDonald’s.’ So she went through the drive-thru and came back home with her Quarter Pounder and went back into her house minus the bad date. So, I mean, whatever works.”

#4. Remember, excusing yourself early is a skill

For many single people, it can be easier to endure a bad date for a socially acceptable amount of time instead of making an excuse to leave early. But Brydon reminds us that leaving a date early is a skill that can be learned and practiced.

“I think for a lot of women, the confidence to leave a bad date early is something they have to work up towards. It can be hard for a lot of women,” she says.

“But be confident and do your best and pull out whatever excuse you’ve got to do to get out of there.”

Dr Amantha Imber is a psychologist and the co-host of How To Date, a podcast about how to master the messy, complex, and downright bizarre world of dating.