Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to End a Conversation

We've all been in this situation: you see someone out in public, you know you know the person from somewhere.  But where?  You quickly scroll through your mental rolodex, but not before attempting to hide in order to avoid having a conversation with this person.  Because how do you talk to someone when you don't know the context of where you know them from?  Unfortunately, we all know hiding and/or pretending not to see the person rarely works.  But somehow, it's still always Plan A.  Then...they see you, make their approach and start talking to you.  They're ridiculously chatty.  They always are.  And they seem to know everything about you.  Like everything.  And you still have no idea who the hell they are.  For some reason, asking them who they are seems out of the question.  You just want to be invisible.  Or for the Earth to swallow you whole.  Anything to escape the hell that is small talk with a stranger.

 How can I make this conversation end?
Here are some suggestions:

1.  Whatever you do, don't make direct eye contact.

2.  Silently mouth your 'to do list' while they chatter on.

3.  Clean out your ears with your car keys.

4.   Mirror their every gesture like a mime.

5.  Scratch yourself vigorously like you have lice or fleas.

6.  When they pause for a moment, ask "Sorry, were you talking to me?".

7.  Take one giant step towards them until you're uncomfortably close.

8.  Stroke their arm like you're petting a cat.

9.  Pull out your phone and start scrolling.

10.  Put your index finger up to pause them.  "Sorry...Mexican food..." and race to the nearest bathroom.  

I admit, I haven't tried any of these.  Although, I've been extremely close to using that last one out of necessity.  (Thanks Chipotle.)  I know the reason I get cornered by people like Chatty Cathy (yammering on about how she's gone gluten-free) is that I lack the social skills to deal with this situation. Because I'm an introvert's introvert.  Not only that, but I'm also socially anxious and a dedicated people-pleaser.  Which must be why I foolishly try to act like I remember people when I don't.  And then nod or say "uh-huh" at the appropriate times during their monologue about their gout.  Thus, giving the extroverts of the world with extra time on their hands, like Blowhard Bob, free reign to waste my time.  Which I'm more than capable of doing by myself while I'm blissfully alone.    

I don't even think there is a polite way to end a conversation.  
So why not give one of these suggestions a try and let me know how it goes. 


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