If they’re perfectly nice, but you have zero chemistry. If the case is that there’s nothing wrong with your date, per se, you’re just not feeling it, you should probably do the polite thing and see it through. That said, don’t feel bad about leaving quickly: stick it out for 40 minutes or one drink, whichever comes first.
If they’re making it hard for you to exit gracefully. If you can’t find a polite way to get out of a conversation, say something like why you need to be up super-early the next day, or you’re meeting an old friend and can’t cancel. Set a hard, out-of-your-hands deadline as an excuse and stick to it.
If you feel unsafe. If your date is making you uncomfortable and you don’t feel OK storming out, there are a few stealthier escape routes. You can head to the bathroom and text a friend to call or come meet you, or you can use the app Bad Date Rescue to get a fake phone call if you want a good excuse in a pinch. Some bars also have codes like “Angela,” that’ll summon help from the staff. But if you feel really freaked out and you’re not in a public place call the police.
If they’re getting the wrong idea. If you don’t think things are going well but your date seems to think it is, make sure your body language gives off a clear platonic vibe. Keep the conversation brief and avoid leaving together. If that doesn’t give them the hint, a handshake at the end should do it.
If they ask you out again, and you know it’s a definite nope. Be honest. Say something like, “You seem like a [great] person, but I don’t think we’re a match.” You can also use that script over text if they ask you out a few days later. If they don’t say anything about getting together again, feel free to stay silent on the matter. After all, it’s not ghosting if it happens mutually.