When I went to grab drinks with Josh* at an Irish pub near my work, we had decent chemistry. It wasn’t “Omg, I found my soul mate” chemistry, but it was the kind that I sometimes gaslight myself into believing could potentially develop over time. (Note: Dudes do not do this.) In this specific case, it was because we had a mutual love of Kacey Musgraves and he could hold a conversation without awkward pauses...yes, the bar is really that low, people.
But after one drink, I was ready to call it a night. We parted ways, said our goodbyes, no kiss (although, he did plant one on my cheek, which I guess in hindsight reads, “Hi, not interested”) and then I turned and started walking the other way. But before I was completely turned around, he hesitated in one of those awkward, first-date fidgety moves and said with a smile, “We should do this again sometime.” I nodded and started walking away à la my own Sex and the City moment. In my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, I thought: Damn, Tay, you still got it.
A week later. though, when I texted Josh: “Hey, Josh, how are we this week?” I was left on read. Now, I normally have a great gut instinct (weird flex, sorry), but I wasn’t getting ghosting vibes from Josh. He said he wanted to see me again? We had good conversation? What about Kacey?! I mean, I genuinely thought it was one of those one in a million chances that Josh had actually lost his phone or was out of service range or didn’t get my text for some reason (I know, I know: Insert my clown face here). But when he still didn’t text me back, I realized I was being ghosted. The worst.
So, in honor of my personal experience with the phrase: “Hey, yeah, we should do this again sometime,” (both me doing it and receiving it with no intent of following up), I want to make the bold plea: Can we *please* stop ending dates with this empty promise if we don’t, like, actually mean it?
I understand that closing out a bad date can be super awkward. What do you say? How do you finagle your way out of a kiss? How do you end the date pleasantly without being mean? Sometimes, if you’re like me, it really is just easier to blab out “Oh, I’ll text you!” or “Let’s do this again!” because as humans, we don’t know WTF else to say. In order to prevent this—and giving someone false hope for date number two—here are 7 other things you can end a date with instead:
- “Let me know when you get home safely!” Not only does this show interest in the person’s well-being (or, in my case, that they didn’t get pushed onto the subway tracks by someone), it’s also a pretty friendly way to get them to text you when they get home. That way, when they do, you’ll have the confidence to tell them through a text you weren’t feeling things because it’s *so* much easier behind a screen.
- “Good luck in that ______ this week!” You’ve just been talking for the last hour, maybe two, about the other person, so they’ve probably mentioned what they’re doing the following week. Wish them luck on whatever you can recall—whether it’s a work presentation or calling to make their own doctor’s appointment.
- “Thanks for the drinks!” or dinner, or coffee, or whatever. If you picked up the tab, “Thanks for the company!” works too. This type of statement is clutch because it doesn’t elicit any response other than “You’re welcome!” But if you really can’t think of anything to thank them for because they were a grade A douche, how about “Thank you for paying for the buzz I now have and will use to drunkenly swipe on other dating appers as soon as I get into my Uber after I unmatch you”?
- “Do you know how to get home?” It doesn’t have to be condescending (or it totally can be if your date asked if you knew how many carbs were in the bread basket you ate), but it’d be perfectly okay to end the convo with directions, a hug, and then a good ol’ pat on the back.
- “Give your pup a kiss for me!” …because you will, very, unfortunately, never meet their cute pup to do it yourself, considering you despise anyone who chews with their mouth open.
- “Here, take my leftovers!” Let’s hope that your date isn’t awaiting your text for round two, but if they are (because you’re just that much of a catch), at least they’ll have some leftover Bolognese to snack on that can temporarily make them happy.
- “Gentleman (or ladies), if you are without a rose tonight, it’s time to say your goodbyes.” Hug them, kiss them on the cheek, and then offer to walk them down to their subway station.
- “Honestly, you’re kind of a shit date.” Hey, I’m always one for full-frontal honesty. How else do they learn?
In my case, I didn’t really know what was in store for Josh’s and my future, which is why I was fully ready to leave our date not expecting anything in return. But when I’m told, “Oh, we should do this again sometime!” that sends me—and I’m assuming other people too—into a spiral of “Oh, okay, I guess they had a great time and are into me.” Had Josh not said anything to me at all, I probably would’ve been more okay with the slow-fade from our date. But when someone gives me an unsolicited promise, I’m inclined to expect them to keep it.
*Name has been changed.