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How Much Time Should You Give a First Date Before You Bail?

More or less than 20 minutes?

Excusing yourself to “go to the restroom” and never coming back is OK only if your date is a complete jerk. Otherwise, let’s have some human decency and tell the person you’re just not really feeling it. Or, if you’re not into that much honesty, just say you’ve got to be somewhere else.

You know you want to leave … but how long should you really give it before giving up?

Some people say 20 minutes (or less) is all you need to know if you’re feeling the vibe, others say give it an hour, as nerves and shaky first impressions can make people act (or seem) different than they truly are.

We asked a dating expert to weigh in on how long you should stick out a first date before making up your mind that the person isn’t worth spending some more time with.

“A first date should last one to two hours tops,” says Philadelphia-based matchmaker Kristi Price. “I recommend a cocktail or two and possibly light apps, never dinner for the first date.”

Price says you can’t create chemistry with a dinner table between two people, rather, at a a bar, you can lean in to hear each other, brush each
other’s shoulders, and touch each other arms without feeling like you are invading the other person’s space.

“It’s important to have some level of physical contact to feel if there is any chemistry,” she adds.

If you don’t want to or just don’t drink, a walk, hike, or bike ride is a good way to spend an hour with someone.

“Activity dates help prevent those uncomfortable silent moments by inspiring conversation about the activity and their feelings about whatever they are doing,” Price says.

Keep this rule: Regardless of how well the date is going, cut it off at two hours.

“By not dragging the date on for hours, you keep the spark and wonderment alive,” Price says. “A little mystery is sexy and fun so leave topics for the next date.”

Don’t go home with them.

“If you like the person, give them a little kiss goodnight,” says Price, and, “If you like each other, say it. There is no three-day rule. That is silly and people know you are playing games if you incorporate this stupid practice into your dating life.”

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