How do I end a conversation? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I have next to no social skills. I never learned how to properly communicate until my early 20's (27 now) and I'm still learning. I never knew the significance of "Hi, how are you?" until someone actually explained it to me at 21 years old. I still have trouble on a daily basis, especially with my co-workers. I'm extremely quiet and never initiate a conversation with anyone other than my family. My biggest problem recently is when someone starts talking to me, I can say a few things, and there's a short conversation, but I don't know how to end that conversation. For example, I went to get a drink at work, and a co-worker comes up to me and starts talking. Well, to me it seemed the conversation was over after a few exchanges, but it felt awkward. I knew I shouldn't just walk away, but I didn't know how to end the conversation properly. I thought of saying "Well, gotta get back to work" but that sounded stupid. As I was thinking of how to end it, there was a long awkward pause. Also earlier today, I stopped by my mother in laws to drop something off, and I was just standing in the doorway not sure how to end that conversation and say goodbye. I ended up just telling my son to give her a hug and a kiss and we said bye. It still felt awkward. Another issue is when I drop off my son at his sitter's. She's a friend of mine (sorta) and I just want to drop him off and go to work, but she keeps me there, talking my ear off, and all I want to do is say "Okay, bye!" and leave, but I know that would be rude. What is the proper way to end a conversation without being rude?

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#2 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 10:54 AM
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I'll be following this thread, I have very similar issues, and am a self-diagnosed Aspie. I have always considered myself 'socially dyslexic' and could use help in this department too.

You're not alone! redface.gif

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#3 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 11:18 AM
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All of the ways you thought of to move on from a conversation sound fine to me.


"gotta get back to work"

"give grandma a kiss and hug so we can go"

"I gotta run"


These are all ways I've ended a conversation.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#4 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 11:35 AM
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"Well, it was really nice seeing you" (like for your acquaintance in the bar) or "Well, gotta go, see you next time" (for babysitter and MIL) with a nod and/or smile should usually work, and they'll take it from there.
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#5 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 03:36 PM
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start a negative with a positive.

Its always great to talk to you, I enjoy our conversations, you always have the funniest stories

Too bad I have to get back to work, go home, have a meeting, my boss is coming by to check on my stuff

We'll have to continue this another time!  SMILE.


Set expectations at the beginning.

we can only stay until five, then oh look its five.

I have a few minutes, I am so swamped but I want to hear what's up.

There are also apps on your phone you can use to fake call yourself ;)

8 might be enough?
Or maybe 9 will be?
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#6 of 9 Old 08-02-2012, 09:22 PM
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oh, don't fake call yourself. 

keep learning those social skills!

you can do it, just practice, practice, practice.

you will get there!!

you are on the right track already.

here's my biggest tip: start evesdropping on other people's conversations, when you are waiting in checkout lines, or sitting around at the library. just quietly observe the content of other people's interactions. you will hear how some people have a natural verbal rapport. imitate those people, the ones who are most socially confident verbally. glean a few phrases here and there and start practicing them in your own interactions.

also, as for those awkward pauses... if it seems like an awkward pause to you, it probably is to the other person as well.

you can observe the conversation timing of the socially gifted people, and again strive to emulate it.


eye contact and a smile when you talk with anyone goes a long, long way.


your MIL i'm sure will appreciate it. your sitter who you see on a regular basis probably is starved for adult conversations and she is simply unloading some verbal exchange on you because you are an adult, and she has so few chances to talk to an adult if she's with little kids all day.


oh, and one more thing along those lines, *people will think you are a great conversationalist if you LISTEN 95 percent of the time.* seriously.


the more you listen, the more they love to talk to you.

people actually get bored, some even yawn, when you start to dominate the conversation. people love love love being listened to.


you can also listen thoughtfully to TV shows with good dialogue. i've found that people really like to talk like they hear on TV. think of how many nuances we as a culture have gleaned from the show Friends. can it REALLY be any simpler than that? (LOL). just saying that examples are all around you, just start listening purposefully.


good luck!

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#7 of 9 Old 08-04-2012, 08:48 PM
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I think you are doing fine.  The babysitter one is he hardest.  Especially if they are doing you a favor.  I have no idea how to address this one.  i just finally got to the point where I would send the kids in.  I always made sure to sit and talk a bit after work.

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#8 of 9 Old 08-06-2012, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Observing other people's communication is partially how I learned how to communicate at all, so that may be a good idea to observe how they end the conversation as well. Thanks!

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#9 of 9 Old 08-09-2012, 08:21 PM
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the examples you gave sound normal to me- I think those are fine responses.

With the babysitter thing I would say when I arrived something like- sorry I can't stay and talk but I have to get to work! By kids, bye babysitter- have a great day- see you later! And then kiss your child good bye or however you do it and leave.

or if you don't want to be that abrupt you can say- I only have a minute or two to chat as I have to get to work, and then same thing.

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