Ingenious ways to escape boring conversations without appearing rude

ingenious ways to escape boring conversations without appearing rude

Ingenious ways to escape boring conversations without appearing rude

Perfecting the art of conversation is a powerful tool – but so too, it seems, is learning how to escape them.

Most people will have found themselves trapped in a tediously boring chat at least one point in their lives. But startling Harvard research shows that in fact, just 2 percent of conversations wrap up when both parties want them to end.

The study chalks this up to ‘incompatible desires.’ Simply put, one person wants to keep rattling on about whatever nonsense interests them, while the other is desperately looking for a clean exit without appearing rude or insensitive.

As experimental psychologist Adam Mastroianni, told the Wall Street Journal: ‘A conversation is a little bit like driving down the freeway. There are only certain points where you are allowed to enter or exit without doing considerable damage.’

The WSJ column suggested we might learn a thing or two from rats. When put in a maze, they are happy to hang around. But with the right motivation – be it heating the floor or giving them a little electrical shock – they soon get moving.

To avoid resorting to electric shocks, the general advice is to use your boredom as a sign you need to gracefully initiate an exit. But just how can you do this without causing offense…

Fortunately, a host of TikTok influencers have made a hobby out of providing useful tips to duck conversations you find boring.

Jefferson Fisher, a trial attorney in Texas who creates videos focusing on how to be an effective communicator, offered some gentle ways to shut down a chat.

Fisher calls one of his techniques ‘closing the loop.’

‘If we first start talking about family, then work and then…whatever else, I will bring the conversation back to how it first started, which would be family,’ Fisher said.

‘For example, I might say, “Well I’m glad to hear that everybody in the family is doing great. It’s been good to see you.”‘

His final piece of advice to his followers was to leave a positive impression simply by complimenting the person you’re talking to and saying their name as you end the chat.

Another TikTok creator, Josh Otusanya, agreed with Fisher’s idea to compliment the person you’re about to flee from, but says you should pair it with the magic words: ‘One small thing before I got to go.’

Hit the person with that phrase, then lavish them with a quick bit of flattery before absconding away, Otusanya explained.

Others on social media said when at a networking event, an honest way to abandon a conversation that’s going nowhere is to wait for a lull and then say something like, ‘I’m going to go mingle a little bit. It was great meeting you.’

AdviceWithErin, who primarily posts short comedy sketches about navigating corporate office culture, also weighed in, providing the do’s and don’ts of freeing yourself from the grips of an unwanted discussion. She says inching away slowly while the person is talking or abruptly going to bathroom aren’t the best tactics.

If you want some excuses that aren’t so honest and require some confidence to pull off, TikToker rjmclok suggested picking up a fake phone call, saying your kid is waiting in the car or that you have ice cream in your bag.

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Crain, a psychotherapist, told the Wall Street Journal that giving the person you’re talking to a time limit can be effective.

Crain said to try: ‘I’m afraid I have to be leaving in the next few minutes, but I want to hear the end of your story before I go.’

Other – perhaps more obvious – tips include not asking any more questions, keeping your responses short or even curt, glancing at your watch or phone or anyone else walking by – or trying the classic line ‘Well, I don’t want to keep you any longer,’ Chicago Tribune reported.

Even still, most people have no doubt encountered persistent individuals who don’t see talking your ear off as ‘keeping them.’

So when one is stuck in that situation, a more direct approach might be more prudent.

One man, Peter Wagner, told the Wall Street Journal he swears by a phrase that can change the topic from a boring one to something more engaging.

‘We’ve just about exhausted my interest in this topic. What else have you got?’

That line certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

Read more

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