1. HAVE A PRE-DATE PHONE CALL.
The best way to get out of a bad date? Don’t go out with someone who isn’t a good match for you in the first place. A good way to get to know someone beforehand is to have a pre-date phone call. Never meet someone in person unless you’ve had a number of long telephone conversations with them.
2. GO ON A “NON-DATE.”
One of the best ways to avoid the potential awkwardness of a bad first date is to arrange a platonic meeting first. Make it casual, make it coffee, and make sure you have a hard out. If all goes well, go ahead and set up a real date. But if the coffee date is awkward, just try to get through the 30-minute coffee meeting as quickly as possible before politely calling it a day.
3. BE DIRECT, POLITE, AND POSITIVE.
Part of the fun of meeting someone online is that you never really know what you’re going to get. If you end up sitting across the table from someone who’s clearly used an old (sometimes very old) photo for their dating profile (or even if you suspect they weren’t using their own photos at all), do not make a comment to that effect. Just sit down, have a drink, and try to enjoy the evening before you politely call it a night.
4. ESTABLISH A SOLID BACK-UP PLAN.
If your date isn’t taking kindly to your polite but direct approach, or if they’re showing some serious red flags (for instance, if they seem emotionally unstable), you should ask a friend to send you an “emergency” text to give you an easy out. Is this necessarily original? Nope. Is it honest? No. But in a handful of cases, when someone is not picking up on your signals, it’s OK to turn to your last resort.