15 Ways to Leave a Conversation Without Being Rude

We’ve all been there – we’re talking with someone, and for one reason or another, we don’t want to be. We’ve got this fake smile plastered on our face, our mind is elsewhere, and we can barely manage to insert the proper interested noises.

It always seems like there’s no good way to extract yourself, though, doesn’t it?

Well, let me save the day – here are 15 ways to get out of those painful chats (and none of them include saying you’ve seen the Bat Signal!).

15. More people should do this.

“This is not a productive area of discussion.”

But in all seriousness, I used to have a coworker that would cut people telling him rumors off with “Why are you telling me this?” and it seemed to work pretty well. Not sure how rude you’d consider it but it stopped talebearers in their tracks.

14. Lean into the cat lady persona.

I start talking about my cats. I only have one cat, but I talk about all the cats I’ve had in my lifetime, and I’m in my late fifties, as if I still have them all. So, it sounds like I have about ten cats. No matter what they say, I relate it back to a cat story. “Oh, wow, that’s like that time my polydactyl cat….” And, this is always a permanent remedy.

In Caddyshack, Chevy Chase was being bored to death by somebody, looked at his wrist (he wasn’t wearing a watch) , said, “I’ve got a thing,” and walked away. Another one from a movie was, “I just remembered something. You’re boring and my legs work.” Two top notch escape strategies.

13. I need this to be a thing.

Get a button that is always hooked up to your phone’s Bluetooth system.

Pressing the button makes your phone ring.

Take the call and walk away.

12. Drop a (figurative) bomb.

If you cannot get a word in, the best thing to do is drop something which typically leads the person to stop talking, giving you a break to say that you forgot that you needed to do something.

11. A masterclass right here.

My trick at the office is just keep them talking while I walk.

Then we miraculously end up in there office.

Then I just turn around walk back to my office.

10. This should be universal.

In the UK you slap your thighs, announce ‘right’ and stand up to leave.

9. Just make sure you don’t get caught.

If you don’t know the person, act like you don’t speak their language.

While I was traveling in Leipzig as a college student, got approached by a weirdo who said something to me in German, so I shook my head and tried to leave.

He then said in English that he wanted me to buy him alcohol, so I panicked and said “¡Solo hablo español!” (“I only speak Spanish!”) It was a gamble but it worked, and he shrugged and walked away.

8. Who doesn’t have one of those?

Just interrupt them and start talking about your thimble collection.

7. I really enjoy both answers.

Lawful answer: say you have a pressing prior engagement and end with “we’ll have to catch up when I’m not so busy!”

Chaotic answer: sh^t yourself.

6. I feel like this was an episode of Seinfeld.

I start signing at them. I can read lips and hear some, but sometimes I’m lazy (especially if I don’t have my hearing aids in) and just don’t want to talk to them.

Confession: My favorite people to do this to are delivery drivers or people who show up at my house randomly. They will come up to the door (which has a huge window) and start talking and I’ll just start signing back. It makes them suuuuper uncomfortable and then they leave. Hahahaha!

5. They might know you’re lying, but…

I play the “oh shoot!” game. “Oh shoot! I totally forgot I told Sarah I would send her that spreadsheet!” Or “Oh shoot! I forgot to pay my tab!” Usually when you stop someone dead in their tracks to do something else, they tend to wait until they are “re-engaged” to start talking again.

4. It works with my toddler.

Put any random object to your ear and say “hello, oh it’s for you” then hand them the thing.

3. This sounds suspiciously mature.

Be honest.

Say that you can’t do this right now.

Be nice and be strong.

People want and need boundaries.

2. Or just change the subject to something boring.

“Sorry, can I stop you right there?” and then walk away quickly.

1. I think this would do the trick nicely.

Pick your nose actively.

I’m definitely going to use (some of) these!

Do you have a trick that works? Tell us about it in the comments!