How to Get Out of a Boring Conversation

Three Parts:Adding Other People to the MixMaking an Excuse to LeaveWrapping It Up

We've all been there. You're standing there listening to a guy at a party drone on about his collection of exotic beetles, or hearing your coworker talk about her shingles for the 80th time. You're desperate to get out of it — but you don't want to be rude or to hurt any feelings. So how do you get out of a boring conversation without looking like a jerk? See Step 1 to find out.

Part 1
Adding Other People to the Mix

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    Introduce the person to somebody. This is a quick and easy way to get out of a boring conversation. It works great whether you're at a party or a networking event. Simply look around for someone to bring into the conversation and then ask the person if they've met that person and quickly introduce them. Ideally, the people should have a reason for meeting, like a common interest or a business opportunity. You can stick around for a little while as the two people get to know each other and then excuse yourself. Here are some things you can say:
    • "Hey, have you met Chris? He's actually also in an a cappella group. Small world, huh?"
    • "Have you been introduced to Mark Stearns yet? He's the head of the Boring Corporation."
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    Get help from a friend. Though this isn't the most mature move in the world, you may just be feeling desperate enough to catch a friend's eye and give him or her the save me look. Your friend should understand that it's a social emergency and should come to your aid. If this is the kind of thing that happens to you all too often, then you should have a signal with your friend, such as tugging at your ear or clearing your throat a lot. Though you don't want to be too obvious about it, you should let your friend know that he or she should come over and help you extract yourself from the conversation.
    • The friend can come over and say, "I'm sorry, but I really need to talk to you." Then you can apologize profusely as you leave.
    • Your friend can also join in to the conversation and make it more exciting, if it's impossible to escape.
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    Ask to be introduced to someone else. This is another creative way to get out of a boring conversation. Look around the room for someone you'd like to be introduced to — even if you're not completely dying to be introduced to that person. It could be a work-related connection or a person from your social circle that you haven't actually met yet. Ask the person you're talking to to introduce the two of you, and you could be on your way to having a much more interesting conversation. Here are some things you can say:
    • "Hey, is that John, Mary's boyfriend? I've been hearing her gush about him for months and I haven't actually met him yet. Would you mind introducing us?"
    • "That's Mr. Steele, the director of production, isn't it? I've been emailing him all week but we haven't actually met. Can you please introduce us? I'd really appreciate it."
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    Leave when other people join the conversation. Though it may take a little while for this to happen, if you're too shy or embarrassed to excuse yourself, then this is an optimal move. Wait for another person or two to come up to you and for the conversation to return to a natural pace. Once that happens, say goodbye to everyone and excuse yourself. That way, the one person you were talking to won't take it so personally and will think that it was just time for you to go.
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    Ask the person to join you in doing something. This is another classic move that is tantamount to excusing yourself, but is just a bit nicer. Tell the person that you're going to do something and ask him or her to join you. If he doesn't want to join you then congratulations — you've just gotten yourself out of a boring conversation. If he does join you, then see it as an opportunity to meet or run in to other people along the way and to lose the thread of your original conversation. Here are some things you can say:
    • "I'm actually starving — I need some cheese and crackers ASAP. Want to come with?"
    • "Looks like my glass is almost empty. Care to hit up the bar with me?"
    • "Oh, there's Jack Jones, the famous writer. I've been wanting to introduce myself all night, and he's finally alone. Would you care to join me?"

Part 2
Making an Excuse to Leave

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    Say you have to talk to somebody. This is another classic move that never fails to work. If you really want to get out of the boring conversation, then you can say that you need to go meet or talk to someone else. Though this can come off as a little mean, make it sound important, so the person thinks you really are serious about it. Here's how you can say it:
    • "I've actually been meaning to ask Mr. Peterson a question about the annual report. Excuse me."
    • "I need to talk to Marnie about carpooling to Austin this summer. I'll talk to you later."
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    Excuse yourself to use the bathroom. This is probably the easiest way to get out of a boring conversation. It can be a little awkward to say, "I have to use the facilities" or "I've gotta pee," so you can just say, "If you'll excuse me" and nod in the direction of the bathroom or just make it pretty clear that this is what you're going to do. No one can doubt the fact that you have to relieve your bladder and this is pretty much the most solid excuse you can have.
    • You can come up with a more elaborate reason to use the bathroom, like having to take your allergy medication, having something in your eye, or needing to do something else that can only be done in private.
    • Just make sure you actually go inside the bathroom if you say that's what you're going to do. If you don't, you may really hurt the person's feelings.
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    Say you're going to get more food or drinks. This is always another solid option to get out of a boring conversation. If you're talking to someone and feel the conversation going south pretty fast, then buck up, surreptitiously chug your drink, and say that you're going to go refill your glass or get another snack for yourself. These are always legitimate reasons to leave a conversation at a party, if you're nice about them. It's ideal if you spot a friend or acquaintance standing next to the bar or the chips and salsa. Here are some things you can say:
    • "I'm just so thirsty today. Excuse me — I need to chug some water."
    • "I just can't stop eating those Christmas cookies! They are so addicting. I'll talk to you later."
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    Say you're helping a friend. This is a more outlandish excuse, but you can go for it. Be clever and act like your friend, who is having a perfectly nice conversation, is the one who needs to be rescued from the land of Boredom. Just look at your friend and then back at your conversational partner and say something like this:
    • "Oh no, Hannah isn't giving me the signal that she needs to be rescued ASAP. It's been great talking to you, but she needs me over there."
    • "Oh man, I promised Eliza that I wouldn't let her get stuck talking to her ex-boyfriend at this party. I need to go break that up before she gets mad at me."
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    Say you have to make a phone call. Though this isn't the greatest excuse to end a conversation, it can definitely do in a pinch. If you're a good actor or actress and can really make up a good story, or are able to make this comment really casually, then your conversational partner won't think twice about it. There are lots of good reasons to make a phone call, especially if you're in a conversation about how to properly make zucchini bread. Here are some nice ways you can excuse yourself:
    • "I'm sorry, but I've been playing phone tag with this real estate agent all day. I need to call her back to see about a bid on a house."
    • "It looks like my mom just called me back. I have to go give her a quick call to figure out what I should bring to dinner."
    • "It looks like I just missed a call from the man who interviewed me for a job today. Let me go hear what the voicemail says."
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    Say you have to get back to work. This is another age-old excuse for getting out of a boring conversation. Of course, if you're at a birthday party, this won't do the trick, but it works in just about every other situation, whether you're gardening or taking a lunch break at school or work. Here are some nice ways to end the conversation for this reason:
    • "I'm sorry, but I have to get back to work. I have to respond to about 30 emails before I can go home."
    • "I'd love to keep chatting, but I have a huge chem exam coming up, and I haven't studied at all."
    • "I want to hear more about your love for stamp collecting, but I actually promised my dad I'd help out around the house tonight."

Part 3
Wrapping It Up

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    Give cues with your body language. As the conversation is about to come to a close, you can use your body to do some of your dirty work for you. Just back away slowly, start to distance yourself from the person who is speaking, and try to turn your body away from the person a bit. You should do this without being rude, but just to send the message that it's almost time for you to go. You can do this just before you make your excuse to leave or announce your exit.
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    Bring back the reason the conversation started. If you started talking to the person for a specific reason, then you should refer back to it to wrap up the conversation so everything comes full circle. This will make the person feel like you actually cared about the subject of your conversation, and that you weren't completely bored out of your mind. This will also give the conversation a sense of closure. Here are some ways to end it:
    • "I'm glad we got to catch up about your trip to Tahoe. Next time you head out there, give me a call!"
    • "Well, it looks like you've figured everything out about the Peterson report. I look forward to giving it a read soon."
    • "I'm glad you're starting to love living in Oakland. It's always great to see a new friendly face in my favorite neighborhood."
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    Close the conversation physically. Once the conversation is really over, you should give the person a handshake, a wave of the hand, or a playful pat on the shoulder, depending on the context of the situation. This helps send the message that you're really heading out. If you actually did like the person and would want to see them again, then you can exchange numbers or business cards. Give the person the benefit of the doubt — maybe he or she won't be so boring next time.
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    Say goodbye on a kind note. Even if the person was totally boring, there's no reason to be rude if the person was trying to be nice. Compliment the person, say it was nice talking to him or her, or say that you're glad to have met. This is just a part of being polite and you don't have to feel bad if talking to the person was actually about as enjoyable as watching paint dry. It won't hurt you to be nice to the person. The only reason you shouldn't be is if the person just won't leave you alone; in that case, you should politely explain that you don't have much time and wanted to catch up with a few other people. Here's how to say goodbye on a kind note:
    • "I'm so glad we finally got to meet. It's great to know that Sam has so many wonderful friends."
    • "It's been great talking to you — it can be pretty hard to meet a fellow Knicks fan in San Francisco!"
    • "It's been great catching up with you. I know I'll see you again soon."
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    Do what you said you were going to do. This is one of the most important parts about ending a conversation. It may sound obvious, but many people get so relieved to exit a conversation with a boring person that they forget to follow up on the excuse they made. If you said you had to use the bathroom, use the bathroom. If you said you were going to talk to Craig, then catch up with him. If you said you were desperately hungry, eat at least a handful of carrot sticks. You don't want the person you're talking to to feel bad when you make it clear that you were blatantly lying just to get away from him or her.
    • Once you do whatever you said you were going to do, then you're free! Enjoy the rest of your day or your evening without the threat of another boring conversation.


  • Remember that if you're in a boring group conversation, walking off spontaneously is alright. Its generally more accepted that during a social gathering, you drift between conversations.
  • Smile politely and nod, in an uninterested way.
  • Pretend that someone's calling you from the other side of the room or that your cell phone is vibrating. Excuse yourself and walk off.
  • If you really don't like this person, and don't want to talk to them, tell them you are not interested in talking to them.


  • Be careful when telling someone you're not interested. They may be talking to you because they're lonely, or have little experience in conversation making.
  • Don't just stop talking to them and ignore them. This is mean, and it could make an enemy.

Article Info

Categories: Conversation Skills