How to End a First Date the Right Way

First date goodbyes
Stock-Eye/E+/Getty Images

Going on a first date can be fun, exciting and full of intrigue. Will the two of you hit it off? Will you have a lot in common? Will the conversation flow? While you may be spending all of your time and energy thinking about how you should act when you're on the date itself, it's just as important to focus your attention on how to end the first date. After all, you may leave the date truly wanting to see this person again (or not wanting to see him or her again), but it's possible that you're sending out the wrong signals.

No matter how the date turns out, it’s important to understand how to end a first date the right way so that you’re being your best self — even if it was the best or the worst first date that you’ve ever had in your life.

1. Show Gratitude 

If you want to win big points when you end a first date — as well as do the right and polite thing —, you should always remember to say, “thank you.” For example, if the other person paid for your drinks, frozen yogurt, popcorn, or dinner, you should remember to thank him or her at the end of the date. If this person drove across town to come out and meet you for a comedy show, bowling, or a walk in the park, you should thank him or her. If you enjoyed your time with this person, you should thank him or her.

The bottom line is that ending a first date by thanking this person for coming and meeting up with you is a simple gesture that can go a long way. And even if you don’t ever want to see this person again and don’t really care one way or the other about the impression you make, it's always a good choice to be well-mannered.

Showing gratitude is always a good way to end a first date.

2. Try to Set Up the Time for the Next Date

If you’re interested in seeing this person again in the future, another important tip when ending a first date is to try and lock down the second date before you leave. While you may be used to speaking in generalities with phrases such as, “We should do this again sometime,” or “It’d be fun to meet up again at some point,” you shouldn’t hesitate to take it a step further and get into specifics regarding your next date.

This technique can be a helpful indicator regarding your date’s feelings for you as well. For example, if he or she’s eager, excited or looking forward to seeing you again, then you’re more likely to leave a first date with concrete plans already intact regarding your next hang out session. On the other hand, if he or she’s unsure, uninterested or says that he or she’ll let you know, this can help to clue you in that a second date isn’t necessarily something that’s likely to happen in the near or distant future.

And while there are cases when someone will make plans with you only to cancel them later in the hopes of avoiding any awkwardness, it still works in your favor to try and set something up before you go your separate ways. 

3. Be Kind

And speaking of not wanting to see your date again, it’s always in your best interest to be kind and respectful when ending a first date. Even if you had a terrible time, were counting down the minutes until the date ended, and would’ve loved to tell him or her exactly how you felt, it’s still better to put your best self forward and act in a kindhearted way.

Even if your inclination is to point out that he or she didn’t look like his or her profile pictures, is conceited beyond belief, or is simply boring, you should always opt for maturity and kindness instead.

In other words, you can end the date by saying, “Take care,” rather than saying, “Take a hike!”

It's also important that you don't lead someone on and give false hope. For example, while he or she may want to set up a specific time and location for the next date, it's unkind to make specific plans and then cancel them later.

When it comes to dating, it's important to follow the golden rule and treat others how you'd like to be treated.