People who don't know when to stop talking can be the cause of much stress, especially for people who experience social anxiety. The internal dialog in these situations often goes something like this:
"Is it just that they can't figure out I'm not interested? How do I escape from this conversation? I could just tell them, but I don't want to be rude. I guess I'll just sit here and nod along until they're done."
It gets even more complicated if the talker is a customer or your boss.
In search of a way to disentangle themselves from these unending conversations, Reddit user u/unusuql_alien asked:
If you, too, suffer through long conversations you would like nothing more than to escape from, you might find the perfect advice below.
Mental health worker here. I see patients every day who will talk forever if you don't stop them. You simply have to interrupt and redirect/or end the conversation. I always politely tell them, "let me stop you there" or "Let me jump in there". Sometimes you have to be abrupt or else you will be held hostage by the one sided conversation.
I don't mean to interrupt but--
It's got to be done, so just do it. They need a break anyway.
This is the right answer. You simply need to interrupt them, apologize for doing so and let them know you need to do something else.
I used to work on a team with a guy who had aspergers and some related issues processing social cues. He would get started on a subject and just talk at people for 30 mins plus without pausing for breath. He didn't get the cues that people were losing interest and would continue indefinitely unless you directly interrupted and told him to stop. He wouldn't be offended and generally appreciated being told he should have stopped.
It was almost a rite of passage in the office to endure an extended one way lecture about his choice of bathroom tiles or the benefits of all weather road tires over winter tires etc.
We have a great line that we use in Ireland. I haven't heard it used abroad but it could well be used all over for all I know.
The person is rabbiting on and is showing no sign of stopping. You clearly and firmly say "I'll let you go". Then with the confidence of a person doing them a favour you turn on your heel and stride away.
This has the effect of making them think you are the one wanting to avoid wasting their time. If they figure it out they can't call you out on it because to do so would be to admit (at least to themselves) that they are wasting your time. In fact most people never allow themselves to think it might be them who is holding you up so they accept the "offer" of your leaving in order for them to get on with their important work.
In general if someone says "I'll let you go" to me (rare but it has happened), I smile and say bye and end the conversation. It is a social convention and I abide by it. They want out. No ego. Let them go and the best of luck to them. People appreciate that I imagine.
I read one of those mildly interesting newspaper features recently with an 'etiquette expert', their advice was rather than make an excuse, you should be more direct that you are ending the conversation and say something like "I've really enjoyed talking with you, I'm going to circulate around the room now" as it's less likely to create an expectation you might come back. It does work too!
So this method is contextual but I have found it works in a lot of situations...especially in an office location...or more generally in a location where the offending talker has a place to go back to...so this is how it works...
Usually someone will come into my office and stand in the door way and start talking...I listen politely for a bit and then if they don't get the cues to leave..I do some obvious things...like start working on my computer...and then playing on my phone...just some physical social cues to let them know that this is over...BUT...some ppl dont get that...so in those cases where its happening...I casually stand up, let them continue the conversation, and sometimes I give them an uh-huh or yeah...and while walking out of my office...I walk to their office...and then...almost all of the time, they will go into their office first...and then they will sit down...that then gives me the ability to politely say something and leave their office.
I call this method the "Walking them home" method....again, it can work anywhere, if a sibling is annoying you in your room...stand up and walk them towards their room, and they will migrate to their space...and then you leave...if you are at work...walk them to their space and let them settle, and then you leave.
I use this method at least 3 times a week with some folks...and they LITERALLY have no idea.
If you know them well enough, a hand on the arm or shoulder will get someone to stop talking long enough for you to make your exit. Not needed though. "It's been so great talking to you but I'm late for something something"
It depends on the context, like most things. Who is the person to you?
Random person on the street? Just tell them you're busy and walk away.
Coworker? Politely explain that they need to stop talking so you can work.
Dude at the gym? Tell him you're going to do your set. If he still doesn't stop talking, just put your headphones on and start lifting.
Generally if it's someone you aren't going to see often, whether they think you're rude or not isn't really important. Just tell them you're busy and just walk away or continue what it is you were doing.
If it's someone you see often/can't avoid (friend, coworker, classmate etc) tell them that they need to stop talking so you can do what you're meant to be doing. They probably aren't aware that they could be annoying people. They'd probably appreciate the wake up call.
I had a friend who I used to talk on the phone with a lot, before texting became more popular. When one of us got tired of talking, we'd say "Welp, I'm gonna let me go now." It should work with someone you're friendly with, or a coworker (if you say it with a smile). If it's a stranger and they think you're rude for saying it, what does it matter? In the grand scheme of things, not that rude.
Fake a phone call. First, pm someone to call you. Then as your phone rings, just politely apologize and make your exit.