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How to End a Conversation (on the first try!)

Set the Scene

You are hanging out with a group of friends at a public space, perhaps a bar, or restaurant, a community hall. You need to leave. Not necessarily for another obligation. You are just ready to go. You’ve reached the tipping point. Time to head out. 

 

Closing Phrases explored: 

Would you look at the time. (It’s relative, long, short, always depends on the situation) 

Well, I need to let out the dog (cat, check in on kids etc)? 

I’m going to run some errands... (you have other things to do)

Someone else is expecting me...

My mom is calling...

I need to catch up on grading, work, homework… 

(Rescue me! )Would you look at that, there is __________ (famous person/someone I Know) 

 

Ending a Conversation. 

The following are a series of "Socially Awkward Skits" demonstrating the effectiveness of the above phrases/lines when trying to end a conversation. 

Y= You 

T= Them (person you are with)

 

SCENE 1: 

(Looking at their phone/watch/time telling device as they enter the room, it’s 5:00pm) 

 

Y: Well would you look at the time, I think I should get going. 

TH: You just got here! 

Y: Oh I did?! Seems like I forgot how to tell time. I was pretty sure that every time the short hand reached a new number it’s been an hour. 

TH: That’s now how it works anymore. It’s all digital. 

(Looking puzzled, because this comment is totally nonsensical) 

Y: UHHH… you know what it is….. I forgot to set my clock back for daylight savings. We didn’t have that growing up in AZ. My mistake! 

TH: I thought you were from MN? 

Y: Oh but I spend many winters in AZ. 

TH: Really? Interesting ….

(looks as if they are really considering what this means) 

TH:  What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Stay, Have another drink. The nights still young! 

Y: We are in a public library, a drink of what, water? I’m actually more of a morning person now. The early bird gets the worm they say, and that bird is not the night owl….so I’ve heard. 

TH: Wait wait, before you go, I didn’t tell you about my three day silent retreat to the mountains. 

Y: The one you went on when you were 5. Yeah, I’ve heard that a few times already. 

The thing is I need to let out my dogs. They’ve been home for a long time and one of them just got neutered so he has to pee all the time from the meds. 

TH: AWWW that is so sweet. Do you have any pictures? I love dogs! 

 

SCENE 2:

(20 minutes later) 

Y: Yeah that was when he was just 3 weeks old. I could fit him in the palm of my hand…

(Chokes up a bit) 

Y: I really should go. I actually wanted to run some errands this evening before it gets to late. 

TH: Where are you going? Groceries? Gas? Two in one? Costco?  I’ve been meaning to restock the fridge myself… 

(Quickly makes up some sort of errands outing) 

Y: You know I actually was needing yarn.

TH: Yarn? Like for a project? 

Y: Oh yeah, It’s getting cold, and I’ve been meaning to start crocheting again. 

TH: You crochet? 

Y: I will, once I get some yarn. It all comes right back to you. #musclememory  

TH: I’d love to learn, could I come with? 

Y: I’m actually meeting someone there. At the yarn store. 

TH: Who meets up at a yarn store? Which one? 

Y: That one that all the crocheters go to, the one down the street or so. It’s a HUGE hub for crafters in the area. 

TH: Oh is it like a class or something then? 

Y: Exactly, which is why I really need to be getting on my….

TH: You know what, I think I’ll go with you. What a great idea. Starting a new class! I’ve been meaning to get more involved in the community this year. It’s actually been my new years resolution since 1996. I reuse it every year because it just ends up going so well for me, always so much potential. I find there is always more to go to. No place better to start then from nowhere! 

Y: You mean you haven’t made any progress on a NYR since 1996? 

TH: Well it’s actually a funny story… 

 

SCENE 3: 

(pretends that Phone rings) 

Y: My mom is calling! Would you look at that. I really best be going. 

TH: O.MG. Mama SMITH. I love your mom! Totally miss her! Can I say hi!? 

(Wide-eyed at the determination exerted by their friend) 

Y: Definitely not.  We have serious business to talk about. The toilets clogged. Been making terrible sounds. 

TH: It just happened? Like right now? 

Y: Ah no… for weeks! It’s been really terrible for her. Lots of indigestion. 

(Call missed) 

TH: That’s just terrible to hear. 

(spoken thoughtfully as if were true) 

Y: She needs my support now more they ever. 

TH: Your relationship with your mother is just so admirable. We all could learn a thing or two from having a mother like that. It makes me miss my dear Aunt Adeline, she was the one real person I could go to for support….

 

SCENE 4: 

(35 minutes later) 

Y: I really best be going. I’ve got some grading to catch up on. So much for weekends off... 

TH: That bad really? Did you just give an assessment?

Y: oh yeah, and they were all short answer questions… minimum of 3 sentences each… graded on a rubric… Will take days at this rate. 

TH: Have you ever considered just throwing them… 

(Cuts off and finishes statement together) 

Y: Them down the stairs and giving the person who falls the farthest an A.

Y: I used to do that until I feel down the stairs because I slipped on the paper and had to continue grading by hand all through my unpaid medical leave.

TH: Wow, that’s sad. As much as I love to hear about your teaching sorrows I’ve got to go. So I’ll see you next week! 

Good luck with the crocheting class, errands and grading. Oh yeah, and tell your mom and neutered puppy hello for me! 

(you stare open mouthed at friend as they just get up and walk out the door) 

 

(Librarian voice is heard on the overhead speaker) 

 

L: We are closing in 5 minutes, anyone left in the library must leave. 

Y: That’s what I’ve been trying to say! 



Moral of the story:

Be direct. Just go for it. If you must, get up and leave. 

 

If you want to know what to say the next time you are stuck in a conversation, click here for our downloadable template and guide! 

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