Often during a first date, you're just waiting for a "spark," connection, or literally any sign that justifies you spending your time with this person you barely know. But sometimes (a lot of the time) that doesn't happen. It might take a few drinks or a handful of first-date questions for you to realize that you're not feeling it, or it might hit you the second you see the person IRL. And when that happens, how do you get the hell out of there?
Don't be vague, says Kendra Knight, PhD, assistant professor of communication at DePaul University, who studies communication and relationships. "People don't communicate clearly enough when they aren't attracted to a person," Dr. Knight says. It can feel easier and kinder to just be vague and let someone down easy, but that often leads to more uncertainty, she says.
"Sometimes to avoid hurt feelings, people use euphemisms like, I'm not feeling the spark, or I'm not looking for a relationship," she says. "That may make for a smoother exit, but it can leave the other party's head spinning." Comments like those also make you wonder if everyone in the dating scene is looking for "love at first sight." (Hint: Not necessarily.) "Ambiguity and uncertainty come up again and again as major challenges in contemporary dating, therefore I'd advise against euphemism or subtlety," Dr. Knight says.
That said, being honest isn't a license to be unkind. "Rather, it's a choice to be fair and transparent," Dr. Knight says. Ahead are some exit strategies that you might want to try, according to Dr. Knight and dating and relationship expert Anita Chlipala, LMFT.