How To End A Conversation Without Feeling Awkward

I commonly have clients admit to me that they don’t know how to leave a conversation without feeling awkward. As a result, they either remain in the conversation long after they want to, or they walk off without saying anything except “bye!”, which feels abrupt and rude.

According to a study in the National Academy of Sciences, only about 2% of conversations end when both participants want them to!

Leave the conversation when it is going well! Leave before it is evident that you should have left it earlier. Think about it like eating. If you keep eating after your appetite is satisfied, you usually regret it later. Same with a conversation. Don’t continue to stay in it after it’s becoming stale or awkward. Be the one to initiate the ending. Leave them wanting MORE of you!

Leave the conversation when another person enters the conversation.  If you’re at a social or business networking event, a prime time to leave is when other people enter the conversation. Maybe you’re at a party at someone’s house in the kitchen, and another person walks into the kitchen. The dynamics of the group change, so it’s a natural time to leave.

Leave when you feel your energy beginning to drain. Maybe you are introverted, and the socialization is wearing on you. Or perhaps you find that you are at a loss of things to talk about, and the conversation Is requiring more effort.

Leave the conversation when you sense the other person is getting restless. Perhaps they are breaking eye contact more often or shifting their body frequently. Here is a video that is a body language sign that you can recognize when a person is ready to leave a standing conversation with you:

How To Leave A Conversation:

  1. Say you are going to leave. I know it sounds elementary, but often this is where people get hung up. People don’t realize that they need to announce it. But the key is to announce it in such a way that you are giving the person a “heads up” that you’re going to leave. This is much more polite then saying “bye” and walking off.
  • You don’t have to give a reason that you are leaving the conversation, but If you have a reason you can let them know.  Again, this is a way to give them the heads up that you are going to leave. However, I don’t recommend saying: “I’m going to go mingle” or “I’m going to go talk to some other people.” This is likely to be received by the other person that they are not interesting enough to talk to.

Do you have creative ways that you like to end conversations that work well for you? Please share them in the comments!

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