You Had Me At Goodnight: How to Say Goodbye on a First Date

By Jessica Hartman, Certified eFlirter

It’s the moment that haunts us — the end-of-the-date goodbye scene. Do you go in for the kiss? What if the date was bad? What if you thought it was bad but your date goes in for the kiss anyway? What if you had a good time but have a fierce, “no kissing on the first date” rule? So much pressure!

Take a breath and relax. Think of us as your dating compass. Follow these guidelines on how to end your first date and you’ll get through the evening without having a panic attack.

Situation: The stars have aligned and you both had a fabulous time.
Guys: If you’ve never watched the movie, “Hitch,” now is the time to put it in your Netflix queue. Everything Will Smith says in the scene where he’s teaching Albert about a good night kiss is true. A lady will give you subtle hints to let you know she wants you to kiss her. Playing with her keys, lingering around the door and waiting to leave are telltale signs it’s time to pucker up.
Gals: Repeat after me: men cannot read your mind. If you want him to kiss you goodnight, you have to tell him without actually telling him. Be as affectionate as possible without going overboard. Touch his arm while walking, subtly brush his hand during dinner, and if it’s cold outside, cuddle up close — all these things will let him know you’re OK with the physical boundary being broken and will make him more at ease and confident when you part ways at the end of the night.

Situation: You’re not really sure yet how you feel. You had a pretty good time, but a second date isn’t a definite yes.
Guys: A polite goodnight hug is always a safe way to end a date. It’s nice, but noncommittal. Even if you’re not sure you want to see her again, you don’t want to burn your bridges in case you find yourself saying goodbye to her on your second date next week.
Gals: Similar to the fellas, a quick hug is the perfect way to end things if you’re not sure whether he’s in the friend zone or not. Once you’re home, you’ll have time to dissect your feelings better versus feeling pressure to commit when he’s still a maybe.

Situation: You just went on the worst date ever and you hope you never see this person again.
Guys: Still try to be polite, but you want to make sure she gets the message that the evening — as well as any notion of continuing — is over. A goodbye wave and saying, “Have a nice night” will do the trick. There are no promises of a follow up call or second date.
Gals: If it’s really horrible, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave after your drink is finished. Since you’re following our tips and not doing dinner on a first date (right?!) you can give the old faithful, “I have to get up really early tomorrow,” line and duck out. Again, be as polite as possible, but don’t leave any room for questions.

Situation: You had a good time but you’re not sure if he or she did.
Guys: Go back to the standby goodbye hug. If she welcomes it and hugs you back, that’s a good sign that she had a good time, too. It’s quite possible she’s just shy and will open up later. If you’re feeling more confident after that, a kiss on the cheek is a sweet way to end the date.
Gals: Wait for him to make the first move. Don’t scare him off by being too aggressive. If you’ve given him a few arm touches and he doesn’t at least give you a hug, stay cool. However, he too might just be shy. It’ll become obvious after the date if he likes you based on your communications.

Situation: You had a horrible time but he or she seems to be oblivious and had a blast.
Guys: Let her down gently. Still be polite and give her a quick hug, but then leave ASAP. Hopefully, when you don’t make any promises of a call or date in the future, she’ll get the hint.
Gals: Try not to be a total biotch, but leave as soon as the situation allows. Don’t give any fake excuse; just tell him you’re going home.

Do you have any other fail-proof goodbye secrets, or do you have a horror story of a goodbye gone wrong? Share them below!