4 Steps To Politely End Any Conversation That Has Run Its Course

Photo: @justaskjefferson / TikTok
Jeff Fisher, TikTok

If you’ve never had the displeasure of getting stuck in a conversation with someone, you know how hard it is to avoid awkwardness when trying to make your exit. You can feel bad after you lose interest and are forced to wait for a lull in the conversation to get out of there.

Extended and unnecessary small talk can dampen your mood and keep you away from interesting conversations you’d rather be having. If the communication is taking place in a phone call, exiting the conversation is even more difficult without non-verbal cues to give.

But there are some polite ways to end a conversation that can help you in the future.

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How do you know when it’s time to end a conversation?

A conversation can start off in an exciting way, but there are times when you will be ready to move on or simply have nothing else of value to say.

A few telltale signs that a conversation has run its course include:

  • Boredom on the face or in the body language of either party
  • A welcome interruption comes, or you look for a person to introduce them to
  • You or the person you are talking to start repeating themselves
  • You need a break from the interaction
  • You both stop talking and are in search of something "good" to say
  • One of the parties uses the old “It was great talking to you” line
  • Someone whips out a business card

Knowing when it’s time to end a conversation is great, but what’s more important is the "how." Ending an interaction properly is important, even on social media. No one wants to be rude or hurt another person’s feelings.

TikToker and attorney, Jefferson Fisher, shared the proper way to gracefully leave a conversation.



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How To Politely End A Conversation

1. Close the loop.

The first suggestion that Fisher makes is to tie up any loose ends in the conversation. “If we first start talking about family, then work, and then the weather, I will bring the conversation back to how it first started,” he says.

To do that you could say, “It’s good to hear everyone is in good health and thriving. It was so good to catch up.” You are inviting the person to conclude talking to you and move on to other things.

2. Check off items on 'the list.'

The next thing Fisher proposes is to check off the items discussed. You are treating the conversation like you had a to-do list and it was part of it. It is an indication that you’ve concluded your business and are ready to move on.

You might be in the grocery store and stop to chat. When it is time to wrap up, you say, “Well, I’ve picked up everything I need and got a chance to chat with you about the new house. I’m going to head on home now but seeing you was the highlight of my day.”

3. Get out of their way.

Another method is to put the onus on them by assuming they have better things to do. They might be looking for help with something specific and you end the conversation by introducing your conversation partner to someone else.

Fisher’s example is to tell them, “Look, don’t let me hold you up. I know you’ve got a lot going on today,” or say, “I don’t wanna keep you. I know you have a lot of people to talk to tonight. It’s been good to see you.”

4. End the conversation with a compliment.

According to Fisher, no matter how you choose to end the conversation, add a compliment using the person’s name. Fisher adds that saying their name leaves a positive impression.

People may not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington who specializes in content self-love, interpersonal relationships, and lifestyle topics. She strives to deliver informative and entertaining news you can use to help navigate life.