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1. Tell your date the truth
Honesty is certainly the best path to choose. Tell your date you're just not feeling the spark you anticipated. Spiwak recommends coupling honesty with kindness: "If you're on a date and half an hour in you just know it's not going to work out, don't let it drag on," she says. "Let the guy know how you're feeling."
If he's a nice enough person, apologize and tell him that you've enjoyed his company, but that you simply don't feel the chemistry. Don't go into details on what it is about him you're not into, though, as guys "they may feel the need to defend themselves if they're told they're inadequate," Spiwak notes.
If your date is being aggressive or arrogant, you may not be comfortable giving him the facts. In this case, Spiwak suggests telling your date that you're not feeling well and excusing yourself. "I don't advocate lying or excuses," she says, "but it's not untruthful because she's not feeling well in his presence."
2. Use body language to communicate your feelings
As soon as you decide the date is over, start sending him physical cues that show you're disengaging. Try cooling things off by avoiding warm body language: refrain from leaning in and smiling a lot.
"Just being more serious should signal to him that something is up and he may ask if something is wrong," Spiwak says. By putting the ball in his court, you're letting him bring up the awkward topic of whether or not the date is going anywhere.
3. Demonstrate how you and your date are different
If you feel like you're just too different from your date, Spiwak suggests raising a topic that tends to be divisive, such as a political or social issue.
She shares her personal success doing this while on a date with someone more conservative than herself: "He was not a very kind-hearted or generous person, which was always very important to me," says Sipwak. "We were walking down the street and there was a homeless man asking for money, so I gave him some, as I occasionally do. I knew this was going to prompt a conversation."
Spiwak explains that her date referred to the homeless man as a "bum" and accused her of not helping him by offering a handout. "And that worked like a charm," she says, because they parted ways soon after.
While the universe may not always offer these perfectly timed opportunities, Spiwak says you can sometimes create them yourself. She recommends asking your date what kind of person he is looking for and then telling him all of the ways you're not that person.
4. Offer to stay friends
If you're having a great time with your date, but genuinely do not feel a romantic connection, Spiwak suggests becoming friends. "I've done that many times while I was dating, and I've made some really great friends out of it," she says. The date may be over, but you'll leave happier and you'll both be a companion richer.
Before you make this suggestion, however, Spiwak recommends ensuring that you and your date are on the same emotional level. "If it seems like the guy is really smitten with you, keeping him there for another couple of hours could be detrimental because the feelings he has are going to continue building," she warns.
5. Consider introducing your date to a friend
If you think your date is a great person, but you don't think the two of you are going anywhere romantically, let him know. However, if you have a single girlfriend who you think would be a more suitable match for him – a great one, even – Spiwak recommends asking if he'd be interested in meeting her.
"He'll know that it's not going to work out between the two of you," she says, "but he'll also know you really think highly of him."
Being honest can be a difficult task, especially if the news you're delivering isn't great. Take a look at our five keys to better communication in a relationship for tips on easing the blow. If you find yourself stuck in a dating dry spell afterwards, check out our tips on how to find the right guy in the right places.