Are you one of those people who gets trapped in conversations? The only way the conversation ends is when the other person ends it? And, before they are finished, you end up looking at countless pictures of children climbing trees, and listening to stories of horrible bosses? If the inevitable ending to someone starting a conversation with you is that you usually end up feeling powerless, trapped, and bored, then how could you ever be inspired to learn how to put yourself in the situation of meeting new people, more often? As you recall, in the past I wrote about ‘How to Avoid Bad Conversations’. Today, I will address how to leave a conversation, if there’s just no hope of getting it back on track.

People seem to have a hard time with graceful exits. Think about the sentence: ‘It was nice talking to you, but I am just going to look for my friend now’. There’s nothing difficult about saying this sentence. So why do people find exiting conversations so difficult?

There are two aspects as to why people find exiting conversations so difficult: the practical side and the emotional side. Today, I will address the emotional side and, next week, I will tell you the actual steps you need to take – the practical side.

The main reason why people think that graceful exits are hard is because they perceive that leaving a conversation will result in hurting the other person’s feelings. Well, that’s nice, but do you think this person will cry themselves to sleep that night because you left the conversation? Or, are you the only person in the room with whom they want to speak with? Perhaps they are also reluctant to end the conversation, thinking they don’t want to hurt your feelings. The only solution? The two of you must stay in conversation together the whole evening (and maybe even for the rest of your lives) to ensure that you don’t hurt each other’s feelings. It sounds a bit silly when put this way but perhaps this is how you are currently thinking!

People attend networking functions, singles’ parties, and other events with the express interest in meeting others. If not, they would stay at home. Although it might seem ‘easier’ to stay in a conversation with someone, after you know it has run its course, you are missing out on countless opportunities. You are making an assumption that it’s better to be ‘safe’. The reason you are reluctant to exit a conversation is because of the assumptions you make about what the other person will think or feel if you leave the conversation.

Once you understand that you no idea what the other person is going to think or feel if you were to leave the conversation (and most of the possibilities that you have thought of are made up) it’s easy to exit. Next week, I will share with you the exact steps on how to gracefully exit a conversation.