Like life, conversations come to an end.
They’re cyclical in nature, a hilly ascent to chattery delight before tapering off to silence. This shouldn’t surprise any of us but still it can be so hard for conversations to end these days. Someone has to get in the last word or someone has to interject another take or someone needs to close the door, making it known that this conversation has ended (even if only for the time being). Add in never ending forms of conversation like texting and you might be left with a talk that never dies. That, really, is a maddening problem.
So how do you end a conversation without getting sucked into the push-and-pull of the “last word”? Here, take these ten ways to stop a conversation that I use or plan on using. None are prescribed to work and some are better to be used in-person than text: use at your own risk.
• A single emoji. Make it a simple smile or, better yet, the blunt pictograph version of 🆗 or 🆒. Let non-words do the talking.
• “Thanks!” Slightly bitchy, very blunt, a “Thanks!” signals that you got what you needed and are finished. If a “Your welcome!” is returned, do not respond. Let it be. Be okay with letting a fucking conversation end, dingus.
• Embarrass yourself. Reveal something unsavory or dig a TMI hole. Provide something unquestionable or borderline bad. “My dog’s bladder sphincter is loose again,” you could type. “I have not showered in two days,” you could type. Things that are strange yet private that offer an unquestionable exit and motivation for you to leave.
• The watch. Look at it time and go. Literally as easy as that.
• “I need another drink.” Similarly, go get a drink at the furthest bar from the people you wish to stop speaking with. Note you risk them following you or your having to fish them a drink too.
• Go to the bathroom. Like the drink but less personable. Even if someone follows you to your reprieve, go into a stall and stall.
• Turn off your phone. If you’re escaping a conversation, this will not work because it will await you when you return. Otherwise, unplugging – going offline in this dramatic a fashion – is a simple solution.
• Simply stop talking. Do not resuscitate. Do not respond.
• Ignore, at all costs. You can’t start a conversation if you do not engage with it.
• Don’t even start a conversation to begin with. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid it at all costs, swapping in complete silence where chatter would typically go.