As much hope as we sometimes invest in a date, there is rarely any guarantee that it will go as we had hoped. The very reason that you go on a date is to find out if you like the other person enough to spend more time with them – and if they feel the same way about you. Sometimes, however, a date can go so badly that you want to end it prematurely. If both parties can agree civilly to do this, then it’s better for all concerned. If, however, the decision to call a halt is unilateral, it is worth having an exit strategy in place. This does not need to be planned like a military operation – but it is worth having back-up in case things go very badly.

Taking a cell phone with you is always wise. Planning with a friend that they call you at a pre-ordained time to make sure all is well allows a possible exit strategy. When the phone goes, look at the display and say “Sorry, I have to take this”, and answer in such a way as to make the escape easier. If you could do with back-up, a code word is an idea. For example, the code word is “fish”. You answer the phone, say “Hello?”, allow your friend to speak and then say “Oh no! Are the fish OK?”. They can then come to your rescue – in case the date turns nasty. If, however, you just want an excuse to leave without being too cruel to the person you are with, you can use the phone call as an excuse to leave. It may not be a nice thing to do, but sometimes you need to look out for yourself.

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