If you and your date don't hit it off right away, or if a pleasant date suddenly takes a turn for the worse, you may want to end it as quickly as possible. It's bad form to leave someone in the lurch, especially if you agreed to spend a certain amount of time together and have concrete plans, such as to have dinner and then visit a cafe for coffee and dessert. It's also rude to feign sickness or to arrange for a friend to call you in the middle of the date with an "emergency." If your date is being impolite or aggressive, you have the right to cut things off immediately; otherwise, tough it out and depart only after you've spent the allotted time or done the activities you agreed to. Avoid an awkward situation by planning a casual date in the first place: a cup of coffee, a quick lunch or something else that doesn't entail a big time commitment. You can always extend the date if it's going well.
You may be tempted to let basic decorum slip during a bad date by looking bored, staring at the game on the restaurant's television or playing with your cell phone while your date is talking. Even if it's hard to do so, stay focused on your date and try to maintain an pleasant attitude until the date is over.
Don't attempt to drive your date away with hot-button topics like religion or politics if the date isn't going well. If you don't know your date well, it's not a good idea to bring up these topics on a good date, either, as awkward or overly heated conversation can turn a good date bad. Also avoid using foul language and being rude to waiters or other people nearby. Look for topics of mutual interest that can engage the two of you in pleasant conversation whether you are waiting to make a graceful exit or truly trying to get to know the person better.
Few things reflect poor manners more than making your date wait for you or, worse, standing him up. Being late shows disrespect for your date's time and efforts, as well as inferring that you don't really care about the date. Always be on time for your date, and make plans to account for traffic and other variables to give you enough time to get there. Don't cancel at the last minute, and never just "not show up." There are more appropriate ways to indicate that you're not interested.
Breaking the News
When ending a date that isn't working out, acting curtly or with undue cruelty may feel like "a clean break," but it's actually quite hurtful. You may not get along well with this person, but consider her feelings and treat her with common courtesy. Be cordial and honest, but not rude. If she wants to date you again but you're really not interested, be firm about saying no. "Pity dates" can be even more hurtful in the long run.