Do you feel like you have no control over your time when you’re chatting with someone?
Instead of learning how to take charge of the situation, you often avoid answering the phone or getting together with people.
You’ve tried to take control but it’s left you feeling awkward and uncertain if you handled it the right way.
Here are some ways you can end conversations and still be a good friend. You don’t have to worry about seeming rude or uncaring. You can end a conversation and still leave a good lasting impression.
End the Conversation Before It Starts
You set the expectations:
If your mother-in-law always calls at 3:30pm after the kids just walked in the door after school, politely let her know it is a bad time to call because you are busy with the kids. Tell her when a better time is to call.
What if you work the night shift? Do your friends and family call or text you first thing in the morning when you’ve just gone to bed?
Gently, explain to everyone that when they try talking to you at that time, it would be like someone calling them at midnight when they are trying to sleep. Again, let them know when a better time is for you.
People aren’t mind readers. They don’t know. You think they SHOULD know, but they don’t. Help them out so they can stop their unintended annoying behavior.
Set Your Exit Up At The Beginning Of The Conversation:
If you’re the one initiating the conversation start with:
“Hey, I was thinking about that “whatcha-ma-call-it” and I have about 10 minutes between appointments so thought I’d give you a call to chat about it.”
If someone else is initiating the conversation:
Immediately after the “Hi’s” and “How are you’s?” quickly, and I mean quickly, say,
“It’s so good to hear from you. I’m just getting ready to walk out the door in a few minutes.”
Missed The Set-Up? No problem.
First, if you’re face-to-face, check the time on your watch or phone.
Start gathering your things and packing them up. Throw out any empty food containers. Start putting your coat on. This signals the person you are ready to wrap things up.
Second, Wait for a Brief Pause in the Conversation
If you’re on the phone, this is your first step.
The pause isn’t long. It’s just a moment. There’s never a perfect pause. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to leave because that moment may never come.
Next, Give a Specific Cover Story for Leaving
If you’re talking to an acquaintance it’s ok if your cover story is more vague. If a closer friend, vagueness can come across as you have something to hide or you aren’t being honest. The closer the relationship, the more specific your cover story.
It’s important to clarify that although cover stories for closer relationships are specific and a bit longer, but not too long. For example, you don’t want to say,
“Well, I think traffic’s heavy now. I don’t want to show up late because my doctor charges for late or no-show patients now. My husband was really upset when this happened for my last appointment. So I better get going.”
What’s the problem with giving such a long cover story for leaving?
When people go on and on trying to explain why they have to do something it often sounds fake or made up.
Here’s a better way to say it,
“I have to leave now if I’m going to make it to my doctor’s appointment on time.”
You can add-on with:
“Can we pick this up later this week or can we talk later, maybe tonight?”
Be careful with this one. You don’t want to offer to follow-up later if you’re not going to do it.
Last, Don’t leave them hanging.
I have a friend who is very abrupt when ending conversations. She just says “Someone is here and I have to go”. She barely let’s me get in an, “Oh. Ok. Good-bye”, before hanging up.
To crush the rude factor always end your cover story with a genuine nicety like:
“It was great chatting.”
“I’ll talk to you later.”
“I look forward to talking again soon.”
“Take care. “