So… you catch up with a colleague who just came back from a long holiday. It was all good—until the conversation gets a little bit too long for your liking. You’re getting really bored and you have to get back to your enormous pile of work and you’re thinking “Oh gosh, when is this going to end? Will it EVER end? Get me out of here!”.
We don’t want to appear rude to the other person. Hence, the conversation just goes on and on and on… Surely many of you can relate to this. We have all been there.
Fret not, here are some ways you could use to get out of a long conversation without being rude, be it at the office or even at a networking event:
In The Office:
1. Wait For A Lull In The Conversation
When the other person starts saying something like “Well” or “Anyway”, that’s your queue! People usually utter these words when the conversation has stalled momentarily. At this point, there can only be two possibilities—it’s either the ending of a conversation or the start of a new topic. In order to avoid the latter, we have to begin disengaging (DROP THE BOMB NOW). You could try saying something like “Well, it’s been nice talking to you, but I really should get back to work on [X project]. Let’s catch up again later!” and get going!
2. Bring It Back To The Reason You Started The Conversation
How did the conversation came about? Was it the pineapple tart that they brought to the office? You can always say “Wah, still can’t get over how tasty that pineapple tart was. Will surely contact the seller to get some for my own. Thanks!”
Or did they asked you to look into an issue on a recent project? End it with, “Anyway, I will definitely look into this matter and contact the organiser regarding this issue. Thanks for letting me know!”. Aiya, they will get the hint la. Hopefully.
3. You’ve Got Work To Get Back To
Alright, it is imperative to make sure that your conversation partner does not think that the conversation is ending because you’re finding him or her boring and annoying (however true that may be). This is where the excuse approach comes in.
For instance, you could say, “Hey, it was really nice catching up with you but I’ve got a meeting with a client in about 30 minutes and I’ve got to get going. We’ll catch up again soon!”. The tip here is to always give a reason (the more legit, the better) so that the other party would buy it. At least, he or she would think that you’ve got other things more important that requires your attention.
At A Networking Event:
4. Invite The Person To Do Something With You
Yes, the aim of all these is to get rid of that person. However, if in any case that person is more sticky than the elephant glue, you’ve got to find another way to deal with it right? Why not just invite them to tag along with whatever you’re about to do? If you’re about to meet the host of the event, just invite your conversation partner to tag along. This way, at least he or she won’t feel abandoned or #foreveralone.
If the person declines your invitation… *CONGRATULATION AND CELEBRATION*, mission accomplished. If they do accept the invitation, well at least you won’t be facing them alone. Just bring them along to do whatever you’re about to do or meet whoever you were supposed to meet. Introduce them, “Have you met Vincent?”, and you’ve successfully passed them to someone else.. *evil laugh*
5. You’re Delivering A Drink
There’s definitely a bar or drinks available at events. What you should do is always carry around two drinks. Why you ask? Let’s say you were to find yourself stuck in the middle of a long-winded conversation, you could just politely say “Hey, I’d love to stay and catch up but a friend of mine is waiting for me to deliver this drink to her. I’ll see you around alright?” *pray you don’t see them around*
6. Ask For Directions To The Washroom
What is the one thing that NOBODY can ignore? Let’s be real here, sometimes our bosses call and we just ignore because it gets annoying after sometime. What about mother nature’s call? Never, right? (But if you can hold in your number 2, kudos to you!) Easy peasy, just say “Oh no, I’ve got a sudden stomach cramp. I think it’s the chicken rice from yesterday, no wonder it tasted weird. Do you know where’s the washroom?” And… off you go! Run for your lifeee!
However, these methods can only do so much if your conversation partner is far from being an understanding person. No doubt, there is definitely a SLIGHT chance that you’ll meet this kind of people in life (just a very slight chance lah). If you’re unlucky enough to stumble upon one of them and all the above methods doesn’t work, just ditch the ‘good guy’ in you and stop beating around the bush with your conversation partner.
Be straight on honest with them, bid them good day and walk away. Time is precious and worth more than money. Why would you just stand there and let them rob your time?
Anyway, it’s been nice talking to you. We’ll talk again soon!