Here's exactly what to say when you're running really late to a first date

The only thing worse than being stuck in gridlock and imagining your date waiting awkwardly outside a bar is figuring out how to tell said date that they may be waiting even longer.

Which is why a natural impulse here is to avoid texting or calling at all to say that you’re running super late.

This is a great idea — if you want to make the situation even more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

That’s according to relationship expert Andrea Syrtash, author of “He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s A Good Thing): How to Find Love Where You Least Expect It,” who says that she often sees people “procrastinate” on admitting that they’re running late.

“The irony,” Syrtash said, “is that the more we try to avoid an awkward situation, the worse it is.”

Here’s an example of what you should tell the person waiting for you:

I’m stuck in traffic. I’m so sorry. Please feel free to order an appetizer or a drink and I’m excited to see you soon!

Syrtash recommends sending your date a heads-up text as soon as you know you’re going to be late.

If you realise in the afternoon that you might get stuck at work this evening, let the person know so you two can move your date later. On the other hand, if it looks like there’s traffic or train trouble ahead and your date is already on their way, at least tell the person so they don’t think they have been stood up.

Above all, don’t freak out. Yes, first impressions matter, but your date is (presumably) a human being just like you and has been in a similar situation. Apologise when you get there and move on.

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