TIP: Exit a Chat Politely

Do you tend to stay in conversations way too long simply because you don’t know how to get out of it without it being awkward? Or maybe you’re the type to shut down a conversation too early and make whomever you’re talking to feel like you’re a jerk. Here’s some good news for anyone who doesn’t know how to end conversations. You’re not alone and it’s a pretty easy fix.

A recent study found chats rarely end when people want them to and it’s mostly due to a “coordination problem.” Since we don’t want to come across as rude, we mostly avoid telling other people when we want to end or continue a conversation so things generally go on longer than they have to. Here are some tips on how to fix this issue:

Leave Them Wanting More.The study found the majority of people wish their conversations ended before they usually do. So give everyone their wish and wrap up chats sooner than later.

End a Conversation with a Stranger.Therapist Nick Bognar says to try the “timer” technique. When you know you want out of a conversation, politely interrupt to tell someone that you’ve only “got a few more minutes to chat before a meeting.” This will tell them that you care about what they’re saying and to wrap it up. It’s like the verbal equivalent of the orchestra coming on during an award show acceptance speech.

How a Conversation with Your Significant Other.According to Bognar, if you want to be done with a chat with your partner “it’s better and kinder to get out of it, even if the exit is rocky, rather than sitting and feeling frustrated and resentful with another person.” Let them know you want to hear them out but you’re too drained to give them your full attention right now. Then say you want to pick things back up later. And then don’t forget to actually circle back.


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