Author Topic: How to leave when conversation is going on?  (Read 1828 times)

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Knitterly

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How to leave when conversation is going on?
« on: December 04, 2013, 09:07:25 PM »
I find myself in this situation all too often.  It always feels awkward and I always feel a little rude.

What do you do when you are in a small group engaged in conversation but need to leave?  What do you do when one person just won't stop talking, and then when they finally do take a breath, someone else jumps in right away?

Tonight, I finally took my plate and cup into the kitchen and casually moved my purse to the door, then just kind of stood in the doorway until it was clear that conversation wasn't breaking any time soon.  I raised my hand a little bit and said "Sorry, can I interrupt for a second?  I actually need to duck out." 

There were only four of us and I feel like it would have been far ruder to just leave without saying goodbye.

I felt a little uncomfortable, as everyone else moved to leave at the same time.  But then, the conversation just moved to the front door where I was trying to get out.  And I was pulled back into the conversation directly.  And I just needed to leave.... 30 minutes earlier than I managed to get out the door.

I'd appreciate some EHell advice on navigating this situation.  It always feels super awkward to me.

citadelle

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 09:10:24 PM »
I try to make my "getting ready to leave" noises/moves 15 or so minutes before I really have to go. This gives me time for goodbyes and last minute "oh-by-the-way"s

katycoo

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 09:53:57 PM »
In a social setting I have literally said to my friends "No seriously, stop talking to me, I have to go!" while backing out of the room.  Said with a smile and a light hearted tone I'm always laughed off and the conversation continues without me.

SamiHami

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2013, 11:05:50 AM »
"Oh, look at the time. It was great seeing you, but I have to run now." And then go. Don't linger; don't listen to just one more story, comment or anecdote. If they try to suck you back into the conversation say, "Oh, I'd love to hear that but I really have to go now. Send me an email! Bye!" and then hotfoot it out the door.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

daen

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2013, 11:35:37 AM »
In a social setting I have literally said to my friends "No seriously, stop talking to me, I have to go!" while backing out of the room.  Said with a smile and a light hearted tone I'm always laughed off and the conversation continues without me.

I like that.
I could see myself doing that, given the right setting.

Deetee

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2013, 12:29:18 PM »
I always like to leave when it is my turn to talk. So I chat away and then interrupt myself "Oh my I really have to go" or "I cant keep you any longer"

I find it so much easier than trying to put that into someone elses converstion.

TootsNYC

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2013, 12:56:03 PM »
I might quietly say something to the people closest to me as I got up to get my stuff, "I'm sorry, I've got to leave now." I say it sort of "under" the conversation. The idea is that the people who are talking or are on the other side of the circle will hear it too without being officially interrupted.

And then I sort of announce and wave from the door, w/ my hand on the knob. "Sorry, gotta go, see you later!" And leave without waiting for acknowledgment.

whiskeytangofoxtrot

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2013, 01:47:55 PM »
I might quietly say something to the people closest to me as I got up to get my stuff, "I'm sorry, I've got to leave now." I say it sort of "under" the conversation. The idea is that the people who are talking or are on the other side of the circle will hear it too without being officially interrupted.

And then I sort of announce and wave from the door, w/ my hand on the knob. "Sorry, gotta go, see you later!" And leave without waiting for acknowledgment.

POD.

lowspark

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2013, 03:15:45 PM »
I think what you said was fine. Sometimes you're just in a situation where you have to interrupt in order to leave. Especially when there are so few people at the gatheriing.

If you anticipate this sort of thing happening in the future, you can give a heads up early on, "Just to warn y'all, I have to cut out at 8:00 tonight." And then at 7:45 or 7:50, you start doing your preparations to leave, put your plate away, gather your coat & purse, etc. And at 8 or so, you just stand up. If you have to interrupt as you did, it's ok. But then give your good bye hugs or whatever and walk out the door. Don't linger. I know it's hard but I think it becomes easier to do with practice.

I understand you feeling awkward about everyone else taking your cue and leaving too, but that's really not your fault or responsibility. Maybe they all were ready to leave but didn't want to be first so you just helped them out! But even if they are feeling obligated to leave because you are, well, that's still not your doing. And by making your exit quickly, you can sort of head that off a bit.

Since they were still lingering and chatting at the front door, then maybe they weren't as ready to leave as they'd indicated. The quicker you make your exit, the sooner they are left to their own devices and if they want to stay longer, the dynamic of someone leaving isn't the main focus anymore so they'll likely settle back down.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 08:54:35 PM »
I think it's not rude to interrupt in this situation. All you need to say is something like "Sorry to cut in, guys. I really have to leave now. It was lovely seeing you all again" etc.

Allyson

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 10:16:59 PM »
I know the "everyone leaves at once" thing...I remembered once a bunch of us were all at a restaurant. One guy likes to retell stories from his 'glory days', often several times. He was just launching into a really old one we'd all heard, when the friend driving me made her polite excuses and I left too. This was followed by *everyone* suddenly having to go. I felt bad for the guy, but it was also kind of funny.

I've never found it to be an issue to just say quietly, "Actually, I've got to be heading off" and do it. People generally understand and usually the real ramblers will just keep going with whoever's left!

Raintree

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 10:55:33 PM »
I kind of feel bad if I get up to leave and I don't want it to be the cue for EVERYONE to leave if they are all in the middle of a good conversation, but it always seems to happen. I usually just make leaving moves, like going to the kitchen, getting my coat, and then I might break in and say, "Sorry can I just break in for a second? I'd love to stick around and hear the rest, but I have to get going."

Unfortunately I think at least once that was taken to mean I was bored. My two companions were talking animatedly about some subject and I was very interested, but I didn't know enough about the topic to contribute. But I was enjoying hearing the conversation. But then, I really did get very tired. It was well past my bed time and I'd had a long day; I was fighting to stay awake. And I had a similar problem in that the conversation was so animated that I didn't know how to break in. Finally I did, and they were all apologetic for talking so much about X, despite my reassurances that I was interested. And one of them started asking me questions about something he knew I did/knew about, and I am sure that was to make up for his perception that he'd somehow unfairly dominated the conversation. I answered the questions about my thing to some extent and then said, "I'm sorry, I'm really tired, but I don't want you guys to feel you have to leave too; I'll just slip out but please, keep on talking." (Because one was staying with me, I lived a block away, and this person had a key anyway so could get in without me).

Apparently after I left they continued to talk about Topic X for a couple of hours, which was what I wanted them to do, not leave because of me!!

Knitterly

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 08:00:55 AM »
Wednesday night when this happened, I did mention at the beginning of the evening that I was going to have to duck out early.

It still feels so awkward to basically interrupt conversation.

Zizi-K

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2013, 08:21:25 AM »
I struggle with this problem myself. I have come to the conclusion that I do myself a disservice "being quiet" and "ducking out." In my group of friends, we are all worthy of a proper leave-taking, and each one wants to say a proper good-bye to whoever is leaving. But if you're quiet and they don't notice you have to leave, why would they stop the conversation. I've found it best to physically touch one friend's arm, or if we're standing in the kitchen to put my arm around the shoulder of one or two of them and say, "Sorry to interrupt ladies, but I really have to be going! Thank you, the party was great, food was amazing (so on and so forth)." At this point, they will have all jumped up to give a hug or paused the conversation to do the whole "Yes, it was great to see you too! Let's do it again soon! Safe drive home! Etc Etc"

I know my friends well enough to know that if they want to stay and talk they will, and if they want to leave they will. The brief interruption will not cause people to leave.

To mince around meekly is to wait for the other people to take notice of you, it's to ask them for permission to say your goodbyes. Don't do that unless you have a lot of time!

(naturally, if the conversation is on a sensitive or sad topic, I would not interrupt that)

lowspark

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Re: How to leave when conversation is going on?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2013, 09:39:19 AM »
Wednesday night when this happened, I did mention at the beginning of the evening that I was going to have to duck out early.

It still feels so awkward to basically interrupt conversation.

Ah. So that, I think, is totally your own perception. The awkward feeling, I mean. As a frequent host, I'm used to situations where someone wants to duck out before it feels like the party is really over. And as a host, I am prepared to handle the situation of everyone following suit.

So... when everyone does sort of act like, well, if Amy is leaving then I guess it's time we all go, I speak up and say something like, "you don't all have to leave, I'm still up for hanging around some more". At that point, the people who really do want to leave but just didn't want to be the first, Amy having taken on that role, do leave. But often, others, who were just going to leave because it seemed the party was over, will stay.

So, I think the host can step up and steer the party if need be. Not that they always do, or even know to, but as a guest, that's not your responsibility. So I think you need to get over the awkward feeling and do what you need to do.

And I hope that doesn't sound harsh -- you know, internet comments, no voice tones -- but I mean it nicely. Don't kick yourself over something which you can't control, in this case, others' behavior in reaction to your own. You need to leave so leave. Do it politely and quickly but don't feel bad about doing it because you're doing nothing wrong at all.