A couple ending a date with the woman walking in her door smiling

How to End a Date Gracefully

by Eharmony Editorial Team - October 24, 2008

The end of the date doesn't always have to be awkward. Use these tips for ending a date with grace and you'll come off as confident and classy.

For the savvy single, dating someone new can be both exciting AND excruciating. On the one hand, there’s the exhilaration that comes with meeting and getting to know someone new, someone you could really like.

On the other hand, there’s the uncertainty of how to secure those first few dates − and once you’re on a date, how to make a graceful exit that leaves you both either wanting more or agreeing to part ways without hurt feelings. What follows are five easy exit strategies that’ll ease your end-of-date anxieties.

Set a Specific end time for your Date in Advance

When dating someone new, your first few dates should always be short – an afternoon coffee encounter, a casual lunch, a drink or two at a bar, etc. In addition to making these initial get-to-know-you outings brief, you should also set specific end times for your activity ahead of time. That way, both you and your date have similar expectations about how, where, and when the date will end. Then, when your date comes to a close, politely thank the other person, offer him or her a quick handshake or hug (whatever feels right), and be on your way. When appropriate, let your date know you’d like to go out again. If that person feels the same, he or she will most likely respond favorably. At that point, let your date know when and how you’ll be in contact again (and keep your word!). If your date is not interested, he or she will probably be honest, letting you down easy. Either way, keep this exchange brief, thus avoiding any awkwardness from a lingering/stammering/downward spiral at the end of the date.

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

The key to ending any date successfully is to be honest and direct about whether or not you’d like to see the other person again. Don’t ever tell someone you’ll call or that you’d like to set another date if you don’t genuinely feel that way. Leaving someone hanging emotionally will only cause confusion on his or her part and invite bad dating karma to come your way. After all, what comes around goes around. So unless you’d like to be strung along by a potential partner you’re interested in, don’t lead someone on when you’re not interested. When in doubt, practice honesty, kindness, and consideration. Your date will thank you.

Always Have your own Transportation

Until you’ve established a comfort level with the person you’re dating, you’ll want to provide your own transportation to and from your date. That way, you’re both free to come and go as you please. Plus, you’ll avoid a lot of end-of-date awkwardness involving trying to get the other person out of your car if he or she wants to prolong the date but you’re ready to call it a night. (And vice versa!)

Keep Things Fun and Casual

One of the best ways to avoid end-of-date awkwardness is to keep the entire date relaxed and fun. By maintaining a casual approach to your dating life, you allow both yourself and the other person to feel comfortable during your time together. By being yourself (and giving your date the space and comfort to do so, too), you create the ideal environment for getting to know someone new. Ultimately, you both get to make an educated decision about whether or not you’d like to see one another again. This is essential to a successful dating future.

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Pay Attention to your Date’s Body Language/Verbal Cues

Wondering how to know if and/or when a goodnight kiss is in the cards? Chances are good that your date will give you some kind of verbal or physical cues toward the end of your encounter. For example, if he or she steps closer when saying goodbye, leans in during your parting conversation, tells you that it was a great date, or lingers while giving you a goodbye hug, these are all signs that suggest that your date just might want you to make the next move. If you pick up on such a signal, proceed according to your own comfort level. For example, if you’re interested and ready, go ahead and lean in for a gentle goodnight kiss. Most likely, your date will respond by kissing you back or by pulling away if you read that person wrong and he or she is not interested. Keep in mind that a first kiss should be brief and tongue-free, showing your date that you like AND respect him or her. There will be plenty of time for a more passionate kiss as you continue dating.

So there you have it − five easy-to-follow tips for how to end a date gracefully. By implementing these simple strategies, you’re more inclined to achieve future dating success.

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