Conversations can be tough for introverts for many reasons. Knowing how to exit a conversation smoothly is at the top of the list. After all, conversations can be really draining for introverts. The problem is, when we’re ready to leave, we overthink it. We don’t want to be rude, or hurt the person’s feelings. So, we try to wait for a window to make our move. But what if that window never comes? We’ve all been there…
We feel like we’re being held hostage in a conversation with someone who barely pauses to breathe when they talk. Waiting for a chatty Cathy to pause is like waiting for rain in the Sahara.
What do you do when you can’t escape a conversation?
Well, if you’re like most introverts, you just stand there and take it in the face like a boxer with his hands tied. Meanwhile, your conversation partner keeps chatting away, oblivious to your pain.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
Here are some easy steps to smoothly exit a conversation:
Step 1: Shift your body language.
As you’ve probably heard, 70% of communication is non-verbal. You can start letting a person know that the conversation is coming to a close by shifting your body language. Take a step back or start angling your body away.
Step 2: Small talk your way out.
You already know that most conversations begin with small talk. But did you know that people instinctively prepare to exit a conversation by shifting back into lighter topics or reiterating plans? For example, you might say something like, “So, you’ve got a busy day tomorrow. Hopefully, you get the chance to enjoy the sunshine.”
Step 3: Use an exit phrase.
People usually say “It’s nice to meet you” at two points in a conversation. The first point is obviously at the beginning of the conversation.
The second point is right before you exit the conversation. You might shake the person’s hand again and say, “It was really nice meeting you.” You can also say “I enjoyed chatting with you.” This is a crystal clear and polite way of indicating that the conversation is over. But there’s an important caveat.
Sometimes this exit strategy can come off as dismissive and abrupt, especially if the other person wasn’t expecting it. But when you use the first two steps (body language shift and small talk) they won’t be caught off guard.
Step 4: Don’t say goodbye, say so long.
There’s another way to prevent hurt feelings. Remember that saying “don’t say goodbye, say so long”? Well, you can apply this concept as you exit any conversation.
If you found the person interesting, hint at a future conversation. Here are some examples:
“I hope we can chat again soon. Feel free to add me on Facebook.”
“I really enjoyed talking with you. Will you be at the mixer next week?”
“Let’s stay in touch.”
The last one is a nice open-ended phrase. It allows you to read the other person’s reaction. If they’re enthusiastic, you can whip out your phone and share contact info. If they offer a forced smile, you can move right along.
What if you don’t want to talk again?
Well then why are you overthinking your exit, dear? Politely say sayonara and move onto the people with whom you can really connect. 😉
For more introvert social skills advice, get my free 50-page Introvert Connection Guide.
Over to you
Do you struggle to leave a conversation? Share your questions and experiences below. We’d love to hear from you!