chang|e one's mind

i wrote a song… in my mind

exit strategy

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normal conversation is just not my thing.  phones are my enemies.  it’s very hard for me to carry on a conversation hence my position in a conversation as the comedic interjector/quiet observer.  for me, one of the most challenging things in this mystery called conversation, is how to end it.  i’ve seen other people do it, i’ve had people end conversations on me, but myself, i just can’t end it.  it’s not that i want to continue talking or listening or interjecting or whatever, it’s just i think i don’t have the heart to tell someone that our conversation needs to end.

for example, whenever i talk with my parents, (or i should say, listen with my parents) they tend to lecture me a lot.  and i’m not a glutton for punishment or anything, but i can’t get myself to say, “hey mom/dad, i have to go” no matter how much i just do not want to listen anymore.  so i end up sitting there for an hour without saying a word listening to my parents talk.  i want to leave the conversation so badly, but i don’t have an excuse to leave.  same with my friends, i’ll start talking to a friend either in person or on the phone, and when the conversation should be over, i end up either standing there, or holding the phone to my ear waiting for something to happen next.

i know this seems funny, and partly it is, but what can i do about it?  am i really just too nice for my own good?  can i really not lie and say “i have to go” and end a conversation when i don’t really have to go anywhere?  maybe that’s the core of it.  maybe it’s the fact that i hate lying.  i wouldn’t dare lie to someone and say i have to go do something to get out of a conversation no matter how much i didn’t want to be there knowing that i don’t have to go do something else.  maybe i can come up with some exit strategies to getting out of a conversation:

the fake phone call – i could set my phone alarm either before entering a conversation or during a conversation making it look like i’m just playing with my phone so that it would ring a couple minutes into the conversation and that way i could be like, “excuse me, i have to take this.”

the pawn off – this one takes some skill, and i’m definitely not good at it.  when another friend joins you and another friend in conversation, you introduce them if they don’t know each other and if they do then you just let them talk while you make a break for it.

the bathroom run – pretty easy, you just say, “hey i gotta run to the bathroom” cause they don’t know you don’t have to go.  and when you get back, they’re (hopefully) not waiting for you to return to your conversation.

the spill – if you have a drink, you can just drop it creating a diversion.  make sure you express your mourning for your lost beverage.  that way, you can either go ask a worker that you have a spill (if in a restaurant/retail setting) or you can excuse yourself to clean it.

the walk-away – this one sucks for the person receiving it.  i know cause it’s happened to me a bunch of times.  this is where the person who says the conversation is over, walks away and finds someone else to talk with while the person left is sitting there thinking, “what just happened?  did he/she just leave me?”  and if people are watching, the embarassment is multiplied.

so all this is to facetiously show ways in which you can exit a conversation without having to lie.  one of my readers who i’m sure will comment used to and sometimes still says, “well, i have nothing else to talk about.  see ya.”  which works fine as well.  straight and to the point.


Written by enoch

July 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Posted in social observation

10 Responses

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  1. you should schedule something everything 30 minutes. it doesn’t even have to be big things. things like drinking water, or cleaning the toilet. “Hey i’m scheduled to clean the toilet right now. i’ll call you back k?”

    then again, maybe not.


    July 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm

  2. I sometimes like to do the turn away. It’s kind of like the walk-away, but instead you just turn away from the person while still standing in relatively the same spot. Don’t use this if you and the other person are the only people in the room, it looks weird.


    July 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm

  3. Ok, so I this probably not relevant to you, but I have this trouble from time to time in bars, when some swaying, beer-begoggled man will not stop freaking talking to me because I am too polite to say, GO AWAY, or just walk off, or fart on him. Here is how I escape from such a situation – talk about all my friends that are married. “Ohhhhh, my, like BFF, had like The Best Wedding Ever, and nooowwww she has like this little son and he’s like sooo cute and I cannot WAIT b/c I want like five or six JUST LIKE HIM! OMG! What’s your favorite China pattern?????” I suppose you could extrapolate (is that the word I want?) this to other situations. Just start talking about something the other person will find intolerably dull, inappropriate, or outrageous, and odds are s/he will end the conversation for you!

    lil' j

    July 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm

  4. I totally feel you.


    July 15, 2008 at 4:23 pm

  5. i hate the phone too!! we should start a club. hehhe

    anonymous or wat!

    July 15, 2008 at 5:01 pm

  6. me 3,phonephobia! i call people maybe once a month unless your my bestfriend:)

    when i first came 2 church i use 2 think walk away was not cool. but then when i started seeing many other people do it and even my closest friends do it also , i thought this was the social norm n i started doing it, and became caught up and still am in that tangled web. ill be more aware of it now:)

    mr.enoch,what r you talkin about?, i think you end conversations quite well! 🙂


    July 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm

  7. dude, just be like Lil, she’s like… so you got more stuff to do tonight? alright well, i’ll talk to you later. have a good night. you don’t have to lie… just end it.


    July 15, 2008 at 8:50 pm

  8. you could point to a random spot so they have to turn around and just start running…


    July 16, 2008 at 11:57 am

  9. hmm, i should try the fake call one… pretend like i’m text messaging a friend when i’d be actually setting up an alarm that will ring in 3 or 4 mins… and then excuse myself out… yeahhhh. thanks for the tip enoch! 🙂


    July 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

  10. […] is filled with awkward pauses and silences and if you’re like me, you can’t end your conversation so you just stay on the line until the other person says they have to go.  you carry your phone […]

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