Here's What Men Are Really Thinking at the End of Dates


Dating is damn hard. That's one of few universal truths people can agree on. But we often fixate on the difficulty of getting a date in the first place, when in reality, the most emotionally trying part can be the end of one.

Not everyone can end a first date by heroically saving someone from a burning car. For most of us, it's all foot shuffling, hands in pockets and awkward hovering. Do you mention a second date right then and there or text later that night? Or not text at all? Do you hug goodbye? Go in for a kiss? Do you go upstairs?

The confusion is rooted in our fear of being upfront and honest with one another. In fact, a 2015 study of worldwide dating habits found that 53% of people end dates with a kiss, whether or not they intend to go out again.

Dating might end less awkwardly if we knew what the other person was thinking and feeling, so Mic spoke to a few straight guys for a glimpse into their thought process during those final moments. What did we find? The best move anyone can make on a date is confidently speaking up.

No one knows what the protocol is.

Ben, 28, is in a relationship of five months.

"At the end of a first date, I am always very nervous and awkward. And it doesn't really matter if I like the woman a lot or not. If I know I like her, I get worried I am going to come on too strong, go in for a kiss and if she's not into it, blow the whole thing. I get worried she wants me to make assurances that I want to see her again, and so I try to do that — but then I've had women tell me I shouldn't do that because it is too much pressure to put her on the spot, and it's better to wait and text her the next day."

Each person's reason for not "making a move" is different.

Robert, 26, is recently single after a long-term relationship.

"Since I started dating, I have always let the woman make the first move at the end of the date. I don't want to push my luck, especially if things are going well, and I'd rather not make her feel like she's in a compromising position. I like handing over the power to her. If she's goes in for a kiss, then that's my green light that the night was a success."

Someone's confidence might be lower than you think.

Sean, 33, is in a long-term relationship of five years.

"It's laughable, but I've never been very good with making the move on dates. I've always had self-esteem issues, so I've always assumed the date is going nowhere by that point and been ready to wish her a good night and leave, regardless of how it actually went. The most I've ever expected was a 'Thanks, I had fun,' paired with a high five. The first real date I had with my current partner, we were lying on her bed face-to-face, and she finally had to say, 'You could kiss me any time now,' before I would budge."

Not everyone has sex on the mind.

Hashim, 34, is single.

"Usually, at the end of a date, I expect to go home alone. That is, unless it's someone I know and dated before, then it's 50/50. I'm shy by nature and tend to let the woman take the lead on an invitation, because I hate the idea of being an imposition in any way. I always hope to get invited in, but in my mind I feel that's usually more fantasy than reality. Then again, I think I suck at dating. My long game is way better."

End-of-date nerves might actually be a good sign.

Brandon, 30, is recently engaged.

"I've always dreaded the end of the date to a point that, if I really like the woman, I obsess about it through the entire date. I can go from being gregarious and confident, to just losing all self esteem. I think that's why I very rarely had second dates. I was too busy trying to get out the situation even if I liked her a lot."

The best move you can make: Just speak up.

Scott, 26, is in a long-term relationship.

"The best ending to a date for me, ever, was when I was walking the woman home and before we even got to her place she turned to me and said, 'We're going to fuck, right?' It was the most forthcoming a woman had ever been with me and the biggest turn-on. We've been together for two years now."