7 Techniques to Escape an Awkward Conversation


It’s looking like a fun event. Your colleagues are holding drinks, smiling, standing in circles and connecting with the most interesting people from your industry. On the other hand, there you are, stuck with a stranger who’s spilling his entire life out to you. He isn’t doing it because he has taken a liking to you or cares about you. He’s the type who will talk to literally anyone who’ll listen.

Here are seven easy ways to sneak your way out of that awkward conversation!

  1. Introduce them to a friend… and vanish.

This is a bit harsh, but hey, if you took heavy social damage for twenty depressing minutes, so can your friend. Make the introduction and quietly leave when they’re distracted.

2. Transition off-topic bit by bit

In case you want to keep talking, but you just don’t like the topic that’s pouring out of their mouth — change it at the first opportunity. Is Mrs. Awkward blabbering about her son’s school issues? Start talking about how the whole education system needs an overhaul and then move on to how smartphones are actually making us smarter. Steer the conversation yourself: it’s easier than you think.

3. Text anyone to call you immediately

When every word he speaks starts to hurt your eardrums, it’s time to send a quick text to your best friend — “Call me ASAP”. Hopefully, they’ll give you a call in the next minute or two, and you can float away from the conversation while talking on your phone. Make this a mutual arrangement with your friend — help them out with a call whenever they need it!

4. Say you’ll get back

Some people tend to throw in bizarre questions while talking on the most irrelevant topics. They might start off about how their neighbour’s bicycle broke down and then ask you if you think owning a unicycle in a suburb is a good idea. Just tell them you’ll get back to them later. Walk away.

5. Make an excuse, but follow up on it

You can just say you’d like to go fetch another drink, or go to the washroom. Be sure to follow up on whatever you say — really get that drink or go to the washroom, because it would be rather impolite to lie to someone’s face.

6. Sneeze. Hard.

If you’ve tried every excuse on this list and none of them worked, it’s time for the last resort: fake a loud, dreadful rapid-fire sneeze attack. Repetitive sneezes are abhorred by all. They’re noisy, unhygienic, repulsive and will drive away the clingiest people.

7. Say “Oh wow, look at the time!” and remember that you need to be home

This one works best if you feel you’ve had enough for the day, and need to get back home as quickly as possible. Tell Mr. Talkative that your kids, pets, or family are waiting to see you. On the way out if you get pulled into another conversation, you can indulge briefly but don’t stick around too long.

Here’s to hoping that your next awkward conversation will end as fast as possible!

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This article was originally published for Ohai app on the Cutting Chai blog. Ohai is a proximity-based professional networking application.

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