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Having a bad date can be debilitating, as you build up such anticipation to meet someone new, hoping they’re different than anyone else you’ve met and there’s going to be a spark, and, boom, just like that you walk away thinking to yourself, “why the hell did I just waste my time?” We know it can be hard, but don’t let a bad date get you down, they happen to all of us.

Unfortunately, just because we all know bad dates happen, doesn’t mean they’re any easier to deal with or accept. However, there are some ways to get yourself out of such a bad situation, but it takes some planning and a little strategy, understanding how to bail on a bad date without totally being a jerk. No, going to the bathroom and jetting out of the restaurant isn’t the proper way, gents.

Since we have a strong feeling you’ll have a bad date at some point again, here are ways to get out of dodge when you’ve got a feeling it’s going down a path you don’t want to travel. Hey, not everyone’s compatible, so don’t sweat it if you’ve got to jump ship.

Pull the “I’m not feeling well” card

We’ve all faked sick to get out of school or work before, so getting out of a bad date should be no different. When you feel as if things just aren’t clicking and you need a little relief, go to the bathroom a few times within a 10-minute span, then come back and tell her you’re just feeling awful and should probably just go home. Stand firm on the excuse, too, so not to have her offer to come home with you.

Tell them you’re on limited time

Whether you met in person or on an online dating app, if you’re a little hesitant to go on the date in the first place — or realize the girl doesn’t look like her pics suggest or you remember — make sure you tell her you have time for one drink. That way you’re giving her enough time as respect, but aren’t committed to anything more than that. Who knows, she may be way different than you think, but, if not, at least you’re only giving some stranger about 45 minutes of your time before bolting.

Have a friend text you during it

This is probably the most common technique to get out of a bad date, as girls seem to have been doing it for years. When you go to the bathroom, text a buddy and have him text you back in 10-15 minutes, acting as if it’s a total surprise once you receive it. Check your phone and tell your date something’s come up and you need to close out. She’s going to ask questions, but just let her know it’s work related or something with family. Sure, she’ll read right through your act and get the hint, hopefully, but it’s sort of letting her down easy.

Pay the bill as quick as possible

Order some drinks and maybe an appetizer and simply get up and tell the waiter you’ll close out. This is a bold move if you’re doing it in front of your date at the table or bar top, so it might be best to privately do it when you walk towards the bathroom or something. Like others on this list, you’re letting her down easy by getting out of there as quickly as possible without being a total jerk and just leaving her there solo.

Say you’re just tired from the day and need to leave

We all have days when we’re just too tired to function, and, whether that’s true or not isn’t for someone else to judge. When on a bad date, simply pull this move to let the girl know that you’re just not feeling like yourself and that you might want to try another night. Of course, she may get the hint and never try again, or she may reach out and hope to meet up, but that’s when you can reply by telling her you just aren’t feeling it. In the moment, though, pull the sleepy or exhausted card as hard as you can to get out of there.

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