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How To End A First Date: 13 Ways To End A Date Without Feeling Awkward

by Sonya Schwartz

First dates are odd, aren’t they? They can be exciting. You are full of anticipation and hope. You have first date butterflies in your stomach and can’t wait for the evening to start.

On the other hand, your nerves are racked up to the max and you worry about the smallest details. 

All you can think about is the preparation, the start, and the actual date itself. What will you wear? How will the conversation flow? What will you talk about? Will you hit it off or will it be super awkward? 

No one really stops to think about how the date will end. But ending a date on the right terms is just as important as the date itself. Why? Because this is the lasting impression you give your date before you leave. 

But a date can go several ways. Perhaps you had an amazing time. You felt there was a solid connection and you want to see this person again. 

On the other hand, maybe you had nothing in common with this person. You could tell by their body language that it didn’t go well and now you feel awkward in the last few minutes of the evening. 

Then there is the scenario where your date likes you more than you like them. For you there just wasn’t a spark and you don’t want to give them false encouragement. 

You see, there are lots of different ways to end the first date. 

So how do you avoid the end of date awkwardness? 

13 Ways To End A First Date

If it went well and you want to see your date again:

1. Offer to split the bill

offer to split the bill

If you are in a restaurant it is easy to see when the date is coming to an end. You will have finished eating and the waiter will present you with a bill. Now is the time to offer to pay half. 

Typically a guy will pick up the tab for a first date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer to pay your share. 

You can say something along the lines of:

“I had a great time, why don’t we split the bill?” or “Can I pay half?”

Don’t insist on paying half if a man wants to pay. It is still seen as a tradition and a gentlemanly thing to do.  

2. Talk casually about a second date

If the night wasn’t too bad, maybe you think you’d like to see this person again. If so, then as the night is winding down, throw in a few hints that you’d be up for a second date. Keep it nice and casual so that you don’t come across as too demanding, but not too vague so that it seems as if you are just being polite

For example, you can use the following:

“I really enjoyed your company, I hope we can do it again soon.”

“Thank you for bringing me to this restaurant. I know a good place in town if you fancy going.”

3. Arrange a second date

Then again, if you feel confident and it was the best date ever, you can be direct. Tell your date you’d like to see them again. Make eye contact, touch them on a non-sexual part of their body such as an arm or knee. 

Say something like:

“I had an amazing time tonight, are you free this weekend?”

“There’s a party at my friend’s club on Friday night, would you like to come?”

Be specific about a time and a place for the next date. 

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4. To kiss or not to kiss?

The end of the night can be the most awkward, and it all revolves around whether to kiss your date goodnight. The trick is to not place too much importance on it. 

Say to yourself that you are not setting this kiss up to lead anywhere, and certainly it is not a route to sex. The end of a date kiss is a goodnight kiss and that’s all.

Now that we have established that it is merely a goodnight kiss, a simple ‘Thank you for a lovely evening’ you can give them a quick goodnight kiss on the cheek. 

5. Send a text saying you had a good time

send a text saying you had a good time

If you had an okay time, leave it until the next day before you text to say and message that you hope to meet up again. If you had an amazing time and it was the best date, text that evening.

Women love men that are direct and don’t play mind games. Also, if you text a polite thank you message you are more likely to get a positive answer to a request for a next date

If it didn’t go well and you don’t want any further contact:

6. Insist on splitting the bill

Unfortunately, there are still some people who think that because they have paid for a night out it entitles them to something more. By paying for your half you are sending a very clear message that you don’t owe anything.

You are also sending a direct signal that you are not interested. If your date insists on paying the bill say ‘I’m sorry, but I have to insist on paying my half.’ Even if you sound like a broken record, stick to your guns and go your separate ways.

7. Politely decline a second date

It is very difficult to say no to people. Women, in particular, find this tricky because we have been raised to be polite. But it is much better to be honest and polite. 

When we are dishonest we raise a person’s hopes. Although we might have eased the situation in the present for us, we have given this person false hope that they might consider dating us again, and that’s not fair.  

So if you are asked whether you would like to go out again:

“That’s flattering but I don’t think we are a match.”

“Honestly, I think we would be better as friends.”

8. Avoid kissing or hugging as you part company

It is easy to get the wrong impression on a first date. If you genuinely don’t want to see the person again don’t make body contact with them. This includes a goodnight kiss or hug in the last few minutes of the date. 

We can tell a lot from a person’s body language, so even a handshake at the end of the night will signal you are not interested in a romantic relationship.

9. Don’t say you’ll call

What do you say to end the first date if you don’t want to see this person again? It is tempting to say “I’ll call you” or “I’ll be in touch” or “See you soon”. But people take this as an indication you will do as you say. 

You might be saying it as a way of easing away and avoiding awkwardness, but this person is now waiting for that call or text. 

Instead, have some stock ‘goodbyes’ ready, such as:

“Drive safely”, “Get home safe”, “Good luck with that ____ next week”, “Give your dog a hug from me”.   

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if the date is going badly and you want to leave early.

10. Be honest and call it a day

be honest and call it a day

Sometimes it is obvious to both parties that the atmosphere is super awkward, and there is no point in carrying on. If you feel that you won’t cause offence you can call time on the night. 

Be polite by saying ‘We don’t seem to have much in common do we?’ ‘Shall we call it a night?’ You can be a little light-hearted to ease any tension and say ‘It’s going well isn’t it!’ 

11. Have some ‘go-to’ excuses

It is always a good idea to have some ready-made excuses or reasons why you may have to leave early. That migraine that’s coming on because you had red wine for the first time in months. Or you have an early meeting across town that you need to prepare for. 

Keep the reason simple and stick to your guns. Don’t be persuaded to stay for ‘just one more drink’. 

12. Don’t agree to extend the date

If you have arranged to meet for coffee or drinks and this person now wants to take you for dinner or a club you are perfectly entitled to decline. You can say ‘Oh I’m sorry, I am meeting friends for dinner’ or ‘I can’t, I’ve made alternative plans for the rest of the day.’ 

13. If you don’t feel safe tell staff

Unfortunately, some people can take rejection pretty hard. Perhaps they are narcissistic and are not used to someone saying no to them. Thankfully, establishments are taking our personal safety very seriously now. 

If you feel threatened by your date, go to the staff and ask for assistance. If you have a feeling that something isn’t quite right, discreetly leave and phone for a taxi or a friend, then come back and say an emergency has come up and you have to go. 

FAQs

How do you politely end a date?

If it all went well and you want to see the person again you can arrange the next date. If there was no connection, simply thank them for the evening, tell them ‘safe journey’ or ‘take care getting home’ and don’t say that you will call or text if you have no intention of doing so. 

Should you kiss at the end of a first date?

A quick goodnight kiss is up to you, however, do not use a goodnight kiss as a means to instigate sex. If you don’t want to kiss, use your body language to avoid awkwardness. 

Should you hug at the end of a first date?

Not if you don’t want to. If you had fun and you are looking forward to your next date then it is nice to end a first date with a hug. But watch for signs that this is appropriate. 

How do you start a conversation at the end of a first date?

Ask questions that prompt natural conversations. For instance, what are their passions in life, what do they like doing when they are relaxing, are they an early bird or night owl, where’s one place they’d love to visit, what books do they like reading, what is one film they would recommend?

How do you say goodbye on a first date?

If you want to end the first date on good terms, whether you want to schedule another meet-up or not, be polite, thank them for their time. If you want to see them again say ‘I enjoyed our night, I’d love to see you again’. If you don’t want to see them again say ‘ Thank you, it was nice meeting you, goodnight.’

The Bottomline

The dating world is difficult as it is. So whether you end up making a second date or not, always treat someone with respect and be polite. 

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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