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Easy Tips To Get Out of An Awkward or Boring Conversation at a Party

Updated on January 20, 2011
"Ermdende Konversation" by Oscar Bluhm.
"Ermdende Konversation" by Oscar Bluhm.

Polite Ways To Make A Social Escape From A Conversational Dud

We have all been there: stuck in a conversation that is boring or offensive or just plain not as fun as something else going on in a room. You want to get away from the bore in question, but feel stuck. Let's call this hypothetical boring conversationalist "Dudley."

Now, I am a social person and a people person, and I have pretty decent social skills (if I do say so myself), but the one social grace I absolutely lack -- we are talking an F grade here -- is getting away from Dudley. If I see Dudley and I know Dudley, well then I know to avoid him. But at an event where I am meeting people for the first time, often I meet a Dudley. Being comfortable at a party or in a group environment does not guarantee social success or even social finesse, making me a prey to Dudleys everywhere.

"Conversation in a Park" (1745) by Thomas Gainsborough.
"Conversation in a Park" (1745) by Thomas Gainsborough.

Conversational Skills and Tactics For Your Arsenal

Knowing this, I have developed a list of ways to get out of undesirable conversations with Dudley without simply walking away rudely, pulling an Irish Goodbye or saying something that might hurt Dudley's feelings (such as: "Dudley, you bore me. I am going to find someone more interesting, like Joy over there.")

Here are some lines you can try:

  1. At a party or an event with a host or hostess, say: "Dudley, that subject you just mentioned sounds fascinating, but I see that Mr. Host is over there and I haven't yet said hello and thanked him for inviting me. Please excuse me." Then go directly to your host. This works even if you have already greeted your host 10 times; Dudley doesn't know this, so you can still use this line.
  2. Having an empty glass or a rumbling tummy can also be a lifesaver. "Dudley," you can say, "I need to go to the bar and get another drink." Dudley may join you, but there are sure to be other people at the bar or the hors d'oeuvres table and you might be able to engage one of them in conversation.
  3. Another tactic is really a variation of tactic One. Use another friend, colleague, associate, business rival, acquaintance and tell Dudley that you saw or heard that this person would be present and you are so sorry to be rude, but there is something that you absolutely must tell that person.
  4. One final, great escape is self-preservation masquerading as flattery. After 5 or 10 or even 20 boring minutes with Dudley, try saying something along these lines: "Dudley, I am completely monopolizing you tonight and I haven't let you mingle at all! I'm going to go find (the hostess, my husband, my boss, the florist) so that you can actually spend time with some of your other friends." Then walk firmly and decisively away before Dudley can say that no, he has nobody else he needs to see and wold love to continue talking to you.
  5. When all else fails, or if you doubt you can pull off any of these tips, you simply have to go the bathroom. When Nature calls she calls, and I bet Nature calls often when Dudley's around.

Conversational Skills Poll

How Often Do You Get Stuck In A Boring Conversation?

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An etiquette book could offer more ideas to help you navigate awkward social moments


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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh excuse me for a moment I think I may have left my keys in my car. Great Hub!

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 6 years ago from Burlington VT

      Why wait that long for the bathroom? The old "it's me, not you" routine is too transparent these days. Loved docma's answer!

    • DPJake profile image

      DPJake 6 years ago from Manchester, New Hampshire

      Poor Dudley! Haha! Thanks for the tips....I sometimes get stuck in a conversation like the above and my mind starts racing to think how to get out of the situation (key point here: Without embarrassing myself) LOL!

    • KatieCohen profile image

      KatieCohen 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      wow awesome blog I loved it :)

    • s.carver profile image

      s.carver 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaha! Nicely done, Docmo!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 7 years ago from UK

      This is a really useful hub, enjoyed reading it and... er.. excuse me , there seems to someone over at the other hub waving to me.. nice to see you, wont be long, bye. ;-)