Date or dash – the top excuses Brits use to get out of a bad date

According to research people will only tolerate an average of 51 minutes of a bad date before making their excuse to leave

Alice Hughes
Friday 03 February 2023 20:57 GMT
<p>TV personality Denise Van Outen has set up a “Dateside Rescue Hotline” to help people make a swift exit from a boring date</p>

TV personality Denise Van Outen has set up a “Dateside Rescue Hotline” to help people make a swift exit from a boring date

The study of 2,000 adults who have ever dated also found it takes just 25 minutes to notice a spark or lack of it.

As for dates which have a bad vibe from the planning stages, a mismatch will typically be cancelled 19 hours in advance of the event.

The top excuses given to get out of a date include an emergency at work, unwell relatives and a broken–down car.

While the number one go–to for avoiding a meeting with someone is claiming they don’t feel well.

The research was commissioned by breakdown provider, Britannia Rescue, part of LV= General Insurance, which has joined forces with TV personality Denise Van Outen to set up a “Dateside Rescue Hotline”, generating excuses to help people make a swift exit from a boring date.

Denise Van Outen said: “Over the years I’ve certainly been on my fair share of bad dates.

"We all know there’s nothing worse than when you just don’t click with someone, and desperately want to be rescued.

"I had a lot of fun coming up with the excuses for this one and hope the hotline goes a little way to help elevate the pain of bad dates this February.”

The study found 44 per cent of those polled have used an excuse to get out of going on a date altogether, while a fifth have left halfway through.

Other reasons included work deadlines, friends or family showing up unannounced and being stuck in traffic.

Of those who have left mid–date, popular tactics to “escape” were friends phoning with a fake emergency, claiming to have a headache and even saying their pet is ill.

It also emerged 23 per cent admitted to “ghosting” someone by stopping all contact with them before a date, while three in 10 have been stood up.

But 58 per cent have sat through a meeting despite knowing there was no spark, because of a need to be polite (72 per cent), hope it might get better (37 per cent) and feeling uncomfortable saying anything (36 per cent).

However, for 48 per cent, honesty is the best policy, and they claim to be upfront with the other person about why they are leaving or cancelling a date.

Tell–tale signs a date might not be right before even arriving included poor conversation flow (52 per cent), struggling with topics to talk about (50 per cent) and no sense of humour (48 per cent).

While rudeness (48 per cent), constantly checking their phone (37 per cent) and an awkward atmosphere (36 per cent) are behaviours which would cause people to consider making an excuse and leaving a date.

For a meet-up to be considered a success, 68 per cent need to feel comfortable, 58 per cent require lots of laughter and 57 per cent simply look for a “spark”.

The study, carried out via OnePoll found 53 per cent claim to enjoy dating and would even travel an average of 24 miles for a really good date.

And the top dating venues or activities were found to be a restaurant dinner (38 per cent), drinks at a bar (29 per cent) and a walk (22 per cent).

Henry Topham, at LV= Britannia Rescue, said: “We’re all too familiar with knowing what it feels like when you need to be rescued, and while we’re traditionally in the habit of looking after broken-down vehicles, this February we’re happy to be stepping in to rescue daters from the awful pain of a bad date.

"Does your date not look like their picture, or won’t stop talking about their ex? Don’t despair because our rescue service is here to help.”

The hotline will run from the 1st to 11th of February, from 5-9 pm Thursday to Saturday - message “I need a Dateside Rescue” to 07830 794713 and wait to receive your excuse.

Top 20 excuses people have used to get out of a date:

  1. You’re not feeling well
  2. A family member is ill
  3. An emergency at work
  4. You have a headache
  5. You forgot about something important you need to do instead
  6. Tell them you realise you aren’t ready for a relationship
  7. Your car broke down
  8. You have a deadline at work
  9. Friends or family just showed up for a surprise visit
  10. You’re stuck in traffic
  11. You forgot
  12. Your pet is ill
  13. You accidentally already ate
  14. You can’t find the date venue
  15. You’ve had an allergic reaction
  16. You’ve been arrested
  17. Your date looks too similar to a sibling or other relative
  18. You’ve just been mugged
  19. Your date looks too similar to your ex
  20. A pipe has burst at home

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