We’ve all been there—trapped in a seemingly endless and dull conversation at a party or a meeting. It can feel nearly impossible to escape without coming off as rude, so many of us tend to stay just to be polite (a golden rule of etiquette, even outside the dining table). However, you don’t have to remain stuck in that conversation indefinitely. Learn how to end a boring conversation politely.
Put it off by Planning Ahead
These plans don’t necessarily have to become reality; they’re simply strategies to gracefully exit a conversation without appearing impolite or abruptly ending it. You can try something along the lines of, “I’d love to discuss this further!
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How about we grab a meal together next week?” We all know that “next week” is more of a concept than an exact point on the timeline. Or, if you prefer to keep it even more vague, you could offer, “I’ll be going on a trip next week, but I’ll be sure to reach out when I get back.” No one will hold you to these plans, allowing you to make a quick and easy exit.
Say you See someone you Know
It’s considered good party etiquette to approach someone who has just arrived. This person could be the host, and you could use the excuse of wanting to check if they need any assistance.
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On the other hand, if it’s another guest, you could claim that it’s been a while since you last caught up, so you should go and say hello. The implication here is that you’ll eventually return, even though you don’t explicitly state it, and once you make your exit, there won’t be any need for further explanation.
Get Others Involved
The most effective way to gracefully exit a tedious conversation you’re not enjoying is to involve another person. Keep an eye out for someone you think would be a good fit for the discussion, and introduce them to the folks you’re currently engaged with. It’s a subtle way to shift the conversation’s dynamics and potentially create a more engaging group discussion that suits everyone’s interests. Just be cautious to ensure it doesn’t veer into argumentative territory.
Limit Interaction Time
One clever way to smoothly wrap up a conversation, whether it’s from the start or halfway through, is by setting a timer. You can do this by introducing a task you need to attend to or mentioning that you have to speak with someone within a specific time frame. For instance, you could say, “Hey, please remind me to go check on ‘such and such’ with ‘such and such’ in 10 minutes, alright?” This way, you’ve prepped for a clean and polite exit.
Receive an “Inevitable Call”
One of the conveniences of being a millennial is that modern technology can be a lifesaver. When all else fails and you find yourself stuck in an unbearable conversation, simply glance at your phone and press any button that you know will illuminate the screen. If you act swiftly, it will give the impression that you’re receiving an incoming call, allowing you to gracefully exit the conversation by making a polite gesture indicating that you need to take the call.
Ask About the Restroom
One universally accepted reason to excuse yourself from a conversation is the call of nature. If you’re in a situation where you’re chatting with someone you find unbearable, it’s perfectly acceptable to use this excuse sparingly for a quick bathroom break.
Empty Your Drink and Point to the Glass
Carrying a full glass is often customary when you’re at a party. If you happen to find yourself in an exceptionally dull conversation, here’s a trick: take one for the team (in this case, you are the team). Empty your glass and give it a tap to signal that it’s in need of a refill. If you’re feeling particularly generous, you can even offer drinks to the others in the conversation and promptly pass them around (or ask someone else to assist). It’s a subtle way to change the dynamics and perhaps make the conversation more enjoyable for everyone involved.