How to make a graceful exit

We’ve all been there – you’re at a party and stuck with someone you just can't seem to strike up an interesting conversation with. Here’s how to escape without seeming rude


How to make a graceful exit
  • Act interested. You might not be having the most enjoyable conversation, but there’s no excuse for looking bored or casting your eyes about the room. ‘Be sure to show appreciation,’ says Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of Small Talk (Hyperion, £9.99). ‘Make a point of telling the other person how interesting it’s been talking to them.’ This way, there’s less chance of the conversation becoming more intense.
  • Signal intention. Don’t wait for a lull in conversation before trying to make your getaway. Not only will the other person feel a bit shortchanged, but there’s also no guarantee they won’t drone on for hours anyway. Instead, drop in a subtle warning. ‘Try ‘’I’ve only got a minute left, but, before I go, I’d love to hear more about XXXX,’ advises Fine.
  • Ask for their help. Camouflage your escape plan with a request for help. Ask whether they can introduce you to someone else in the same line of work as you, or whether they know where the buffet is. ‘Even if they don’t have a resource for you, you still have an excuse to move on,’ says Fine.
  • Open the circle. ‘If you can’t leave them, take them with you to another part of the room where you can include other people,’ advises Fine. Try moving to the drinks area or finding someone else you can introduce them to. This opens up the circle to include others, and gives you more chances to escape.
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