wikiHow to End a Conversation

Have somewhere to be but can't get out of a conversation? Running out of things to discuss? Maybe the person doesn't realize you just don't care about the latest episode of "The Office"? Here's how to end a conversation in a friendly way!


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    Briefly think about what got you into the conversation. Did you start it with a comment on something? Or did the person you're speaking to start it?
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    If you started the conversation, it's more important to be polite. You don't want the other person thinking you're rude for blowing them off after YOU started the conversation, right?
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    If they started the conversation, wait for a break in topics. Pauses in between thoughts are good places to tell the person you have to be somewhere or have to get something done. Note: Pauses in between thoughts does not mean waiting for the person to simply finish a sentence or say "Um..." You really should wait until they finish a thought, out of courtesy.
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    Do not say anything bad; just say, "I have to go. I'll talk to you later, bye."
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    If you are waiting for a gap in the conversation, and there doesn't seem to be one, wait for them to take a breath, and then quickly -- but politely -- explain that you have work to do, and that you'll catch them later. Saying you'll talk later is friendly, and most of the time, the person will have time to organize thoughts, so your follow-up conversation is shorter.
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    Think about what kind of person you're talking to. Certain people will have no problem with letting you go for awhile, while others will wait for you to get to your car, your class, or even just the bathroom before insisting on texting you. Hopefully YOU know the people you're dealing with!
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    Try to not lose your cool UNLESS this person is being derogatory, talking about someone else behind their back, or is severely interrupting your life or work. Other people need to understand boundaries too, and cutting too much slack can make them think it's okay to monopolize your time. There are just some situations where manners have to be put aside.


  • Don't sigh or groan in conversation. It's rude, and sometimes it'll just anger the person, especially if they aren't having a good day, which might lead to an argument and MORE wasted time!
  • If someone is persistent in calling or texting you, tell them that you don't really feel like having a conversation at the moment in the most polite way you can. If they persist, firmly tell them that you don't want to talk right now.
  • Phrases such as, "Can we talk later?" are the best lines to use, because they still maintain a level of interest. But you have to at least ACT like you mean it. Don't be annoyed if the person calls later or tries to start up a conversation again. If you're already ducking the conversation with this person, don't be dragged in a second time! Quickly abort the situation by saying how swamped you are with work or school or home problems. Acting like you dislike your work, whatever the case, and seeming like you'd rather be talking to the person are good attitudes to try in this situation.
  • Looking away at something OTHER THAN A CLOCK is a good technique for ducking conversation. The key to it is seeming engrossed and then suddenly get distracted, then say that whatever the distraction was reminded you of work you had to get done.
  • Above all--SMILE! A friendly smile is your golden ticket out of a conversation.
  • If the person you are speaking with is the type to usually blab on and on in conversations you often wish to escape, make sure that they understand why you avoid those conversations. Make it clear that you do respect their opinions and that they like to share their thoughts with you, but some times are better than others for shooting the breeze!


  • Looking at a clock is a bad move because it shows that you've been keeping track of the time talking to the person, which can come across to some people as offensive. However, if your watch beeps or a clock chimes on the hour, that's a handy way to seem suddenly jolted from your conversation.
  • If you've always let people talk up a storm at you, these tips may not work right away, particularly if someone is interested in you and tries to start conversation a lot. In this moment it'd be better to make them understand that you find them flattering, but distracting sometimes.
  • Cutting off conversation with someone who is upset, and not just over which team won last night, can be problematic. If a person is discussing a family crisis or intense political debate and is unhappy, abrupt conversation halting can irritate them more. Don't be surprised if they don't open up to you again directly.
  • If the person says, "Wait, one more thing!" after you've tried to hightail it, be a little more firm in telling them you're busy. Failure to understand on their part is reason enough to be stricter.

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Categories: Conversation Skills