We’ve all been there – you’re at a bar, or a party, or a work event and you just can’t figure out how to walk away from a never ending, terrible conversation.
It’s tough, and I think most of us tend to just wait it out because we don’t want to be rude.
There are some ways to get out of it politely, though, and these 18 people have some very good advice.
18. Interrupting isn’t always rude.
As a teacher, I have learned how to interrupt people who do not leave any pauses when they’re speaking: start nodding and verbally agreeing with them, “Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh…”
You can’t interrupt these people, but you can start agreeing while they speak, then raise your voice and say, “Yeah, wow, excuse me but I must go.”
17. Sometimes, you can’t.
With some people it’s impossible. I worked with a guy who wouldn’t stop talking, long boring stories with no point and no end.
I was doing a course through distance learning at the time so any downtime was spent studying. I politely asked him to be quiet, and explained the importance of the assignment I was working on.
He agreed not to talk but then sat there humming, this lasted about 10 minutes until he couldn’t bear it anymore and started jabbering on again with his incessant nonsense.
16. They might need to practice.
My friend has Aspergers and I actually asked him about how he knows a conversation is too long and we discussed how he can’t recognize subtle social cues.
So I started practicing with him, I’ll literally put my hand up in a stop motion in front of him and say “can I stop you here?” or “sorry, I have to stop you there” and once he pauses I say my excuse and tell him that “we’ll talk more later”
15. Everybody just knows.
In Flanders we have a word for it.
“Bon” and then you say something i have work to do, it’s time to go home, it’s time to get drinks.
And people realise the other person wants to leave without being mean
14. Or you could just walk away.
“Wait. What time is it?”
The proceed to robot dance away until out of view.
13. Every culture should have this.
In the UK, our method is to slap our thighs and say “right”.
Sadly this usually leads to the next hour of increasing levels of trying to leave.
12. It worked for Homer.
Find a hedge and slowly disappear into it.
Neighbor across the street is just the sweetest guy but quite a talker. And has serious ADHD and is mostly deaf and some eyesight issues, so he will randomly start talking about another topic, then jump to another, and another, and won’t hear/see when you try to squeeze in an excuse to leave.
I sometimes look out the window when he’s talking to joggers or someone just asking about his lawn, car, weather, etc. They start nodding politely, stay there a few minutes, start making motions like pointing showing they have to leave, etc. shuffling backwards.
SEVERAL times I have seen people literally back into his hedge.
Neighbor helps them out of course. I think the poor guy realizes what he’s done at that point but he can’t stop talking. And then he notices a rip in their shirt or something with their hair and starts talking about where he gets his shirt or does his hair or something else.
11. Wait for a pause.
When they draw a breath, politely say:
“On that note, I must be on my way.”
Then, simply leave.
10. Short and sweet.
My go to is “I don’t want to cut you short but I really need to get going. Let’s connect another time.”
And that’s it.
9. Some people just don’t get it.
If they keep talking over polite cues, I have found there really isn’t a polite way to exit the conversation.
My workplace has someone like this and it’s pretty much become a part of our culture to monitor who is trapped talking to her, for how long they’ve been stuck, and to rescue them after an appropriate amount of time has passed.
She doesn’t get it, and probably never will.
8. I think this could work.
“Oh my gosh I have already taken up so much of your time—I am so sorry! I’m even running late myself!”
7. Tit for tat.
I learned a trick. Most excessive talkers hate listening. So I simply participate and tell my own stories.
After one or two stories they are usually ready to leave themselves to seek their next victim.
6. Give it a shot.
Source: am a therapist
What you do is recap their last story and in the same breath add a goodbye.
I.e. “sounds like you guys found a bunch of great deals at the mall, that’s awesome! Thanks for meeting with me, you’ll have to tell me more next time we run into each other. It was great to catch up!”
5. The walk and talk.
You could try the walk and talk. Usually this works in an office, if someone comes to your desk – you keep talking with them but stand up. Then walk with them back to their desk, let them talk the whole while but when you get there say ‘alright thanks bye’ or whatever and leave them there. I’ll say I have to go to the restroom too and just go in and stand there until they go away.
Bet you could walk people back to their car or wherever they came from. I’ve never had anyone notice. 🤷♀️
Another tip is dropping something, you can derail the conversation by dropping a pen, making a “oh gosh” kind of remark while picking it up and then say so sorry I have to run. Breaks up their rhythm and gives you a chance to interject. Could be anything, doesn’t have to be dropping a pen. Trip a little, knock into a door. Whatever works.
I had a colleague who would easily take up an hour of my time pretty frequently so I did some research.
4. It’s not pretty, but it’s effective.
Just start coughing these days it’ll clear a whole room in seconds.
3. A bit of self-awareness.
A friend of mine discovered that if someone is endlessly talking to you, you can hand them random objects and they will usually accept them without noticing. So she would start quietly handing them anything she could get her hands on within arms reach. Sometimes it took them quite a while & several objects to suddenly realise they were holding an armful of stuff. Really funny to watch!
Just a nice way of making them a bit more self-aware of talking at length. Especially after the third time they’ve fallen for it.
You need to grab something, hold it for a while, then pick the right moment to quietly hand to them & they’ll just take it & carry on talking. Forks, bits of paper, little stones, pens, erasers, books, anything really. 1 point per object 🙂
2. They might just expect it.
People who are like this expect folks to just walk away from them while they are talking because that’s the only way the conversation ends. It’s not rude to them, it’s normal.
So, it’s entirely okay to say, “all right this has been great, see you later,” and then just walk away smiling.
1. Everyone knows what this means, right?
Say “wwwweeeelllllppppp”, slap your knee and stand up to leave.
I’m definitely going to keep some of these in my back pocket.
How do you slip away without causing a ruckus? Let us know in the comments!