There's something really majestic about hitting a trail and backpacking through the mountains or the wilderness. The sights you see? They can be incredible. The feeling of independence as you keep walking, unencumbered by the pressures of everyday life? They can feel fulfilling. The horror stories? Terrifying.
Believe it or not, they happen, especially if you're not careful as we learned after Redditor EinnVon asked the online community, "People who have done a multi-day hiking trip, what is your horror story from the trip?"
I'm a city boy. I think I'll stay right where I am.
"First night out."
Night 1 of a trip at Sleeping Giant in Canada, I believe. First night out, I'm always a little jumpy because it takes a while to get used to the sound of the woods, and this was no exception. It was a solo trip, so just me in a little tent on the edge of the forest, looking out onto a small slope down onto a pebble beach.
I was having some real trouble getting to sleep, the woods were just so loud and my mind kept jumping to 'serial killer' instead of 'normal wildlife'. I was trying to convince myself otherwise when I hear some heavier footsteps. Breaking twigs. My heart is in my throat because I just know I'm going to die all alone in the Canadian backwoods.
Then I hear a crash and some falling rocks directly outside my tent, and I work up the courage to turn on my flashlight and unzip the door to have a look... at which point I catch a glimpse of the very clumsy woodland elk that had just fallen down the slope onto the beach right in front of me.
Thanks for the clarification.
"Spent the whole night half asleep..."
Great Dividing Range in Australia. Doing it in summer, so we didn't take tents - just slept in sleeping bags in the open, under the stars. (We had tent flies with us in case it rained.)
Gorgeous. Except for the one night when we camped near a huge infestation of caterpillars. Fuzzy hairy ones. Spent the whole night half asleep, and peeling tickly fuzzy things off my face.
That's a big nope from me, dawg. Call me a wuss, but I hate dealing with bugs.
"My wife and I had set up camp..."
I was on a canoe camping trip, on a long narrow lake. My wife and I had set up camp about halfway along the lake, and all was well.
After dark, I went to wash my face in the lake, and I see two lights on the other side of the lake! (It was only like 50 meters wide). As I'm watching, their headlamps fade and die. And then something big starting snorting over there. A moose or a bear? It was pretty loud.
It was a still night, and so I called out to them: "Hey are you alright?"
It turns out they had accidentally started hiking from the wrong parking lot (delaying them an hour or two) and then when they got to the lake, they had hiked down the wrong side of the lake.
So I offered, and then went and picked them up in my canoe, and lent them a flashlight so they could set up. I think they were pretty relieved to have gotten away from whatever animal that was. If I hadn't been there, that would have had hours of hiking to get to the next campsite! Without lamps!
"I barely remember the rest of the tour..."
I went out to Muir in CA to see the redwoods. I did one of those old-person tours and that was one of the stops. Everyone in my group stayed on the ground trails, but I decided to take the elevated trail up and around. I was having a blast with my camera and relished the solitude within the forest. I suddenly realized that everything around me had gone quiet. Deadly silent. The only thing I could hear is the ringing in my ears and my own heartbeat pounding because I knew that meant a predator was in the area.
I did the same thing you did, and kept saying to myself repeatedly, "I'm not ready to die. I'm not ready to die," as I slowly made my way down. I didn't want to run because I didn't want to start a chase, but it was HARD resisting the urge to just scream and run for my life.
Suddenly there were birds singing around me again, and I heard a bunch of kids running and yelling up the trail behind me.
I barely remember the rest of the tour. The other people on the bus kept asking me how it was up there so I showed them photos from my camera but I was definitely in shock. The bus driver noticed something was up, I could tell he looked a bit worried. But I would crack jokes to distract him from questioning me.
"As we walk backwards..."
I was doing a one-night backpacking trip with a friend a few years back in some woods we didn't know very well. It was a very popular area for such things, and not particularly remote, so we weren't worried. The sunset snuck up on us a bit, so we were making camp in the dark. I was gathering some firewood by the light of my headlamp when I spot the unmistakable shimmer of a pair of eyes maybe 100 feet from me. My dumb @ss is excited because cool; wildlife! After staring at these eyes for a minute though, it becomes clear this is not a harmless raccoon; it is something big.
I don't have any sort of weapon and don't know how best to scare away my mystery animal. I call out to my buddy, who shines his brighter light in that direction. Turns out our visitor is a mountain lion. Maybe the fear distorted things but MAN that thing looked big. I didn't know much about them but I knew that if they attack you, they are spectacularly deadly. We decide to try and make a fire as quickly as possible since we figure we can't outrun the murder kitty.
As we walk backward toward our campsite, that damn thing kept perfect pace with us and never broke its gaze. The more of it I could see, the more I wished I couldn't. That cat was absolutely pure muscle. Luckily we had supplies to get the fire going very quickly, which had the effect we hoped; our stalker stopped slowly advancing on us. It appeared to think for a minute about its next move and then decided to maintain its current distance but circle us for a while. So now it's a stalemate.
Despite not being very remote, this area didn't have cell service back then, so we had no choice but to play the waiting game. We pitched our tent, made dinner, and tried to make jokes about the situation for the next few hours. The cat circled us for a long time maintaining his perimeter. At some point, though, he stepped behind a tree and we never saw him come out the other side. My friend and I had opposing reactions to this. I took the glass-half-full route and was relieved that it was gone. My friend's view was "well now he can be anywhere you idiot! It's not like we'll hear him coming if he charges us from behind!!" He was probably more right than me.
Eventually we are too tired to stay awake and aren't willing to risk burning the forest down so we let the fire burn out. No sign of our stalker for a while so we're hoping to sleep without being eaten alive. Luckily we did just that and I woke up the next morning well-rested and enjoying the act of breathing. As soon as I sat up in the tent and saw my friend though, it was obvious something was up. He was wide-eyed and looked pretty freaked out.
It turns out just as the morning light showed up in the sky, our feline friend came back to check on us. Apparently there was a funny yowly sound that woke my friend up and got closer to the tent over the course of 10 minutes or so. I didn't know at the time that mountain lions make a sound similar to a scream, which is very disconcerting when you're camping by yourselves.
Not that I cared though, my survival instincts were going strong as I happily slumbered. My friend hoped it was a bird at first but pretty much knew what it was. He didn't want to risk making any noise by waking me or getting out of his sleeping bag, so he just laid still hoping it would pass by. Apparently that harbinger of death got right the hell up on our tent and paused trying to figure out what it was. The windows were zipped shut, but my friend said it got close enough and there was enough light that he could see its shadow on the tent wall. It made another screech or two, sniffed around, and decided to move on.
So anyway, I wake up not knowing any of this, but just seeing my friend doesn't look good. I asked him what was up, and he says let's get out of the tent and he'll fill me in. I wonder now if that was because he didn't want to be the first one out of the tent. Maybe I had made too many jokes about how I could run faster than him, so he would likely be the tasty treat.
Luckily, the hike out was uneventful and this whole event was nothing more than education for us. We always carry a gun while camping now, though we've never seen anything else even close to that scary. Read up on your local predators ahead of time, kids. And definitely bring one really slow runner on every trip.
Why would I want to go somewhere I might be stalked by a mountain lion? I'm cool where I am.
"We found him again..."
Leading a youth group on a hiking trip. Lost a kid.
We found him again but I don't think anything will compare to the fear of losing someone else's child.
This has "horror film" written all over it.
Getting lost in the woods is not my idea of a good time.
"It was supposed to be..."
It was supposed to be a two night stay in the backcountry in Grand Teton National Park, with my parents. The day we hiked out, it rained the entire day and only got worse when we got to where we were camping. Everything was soaked through despite our best efforts (this was far from the first backpacking trip we'd been on), and we ended the day with sleet. I ended up wrapping myself in one of those emergency foil blankets inside my sleeping bag to get warm. We were so miserable the next morning that we threw in the towel and hiked back to civilization... in perfect weather. Every single person we crossed paths with the next day was shocked we'd even bothered going out the day before.
Moral of this story: if you compare your father to Ron Swanson on a regular basis, don't let him make decisions about activities if inclement weather is in the forecast.
"But the worst..."
When I was a kid (like 10ish?) my parents took us on a family vacation, a week-long backpacking trip through the Smokies.
It was mostly fine, I still look back on it fondly. But there were big millipedes everywhere and you had to be careful when packing up otherwise you'd probably roll one up in your tent or something.
But the worst was I went into my sleeping bag for the night and I felt something crawling along my leg. It felt like an inchworm, but it was, in fact, a bee. Somehow. Fortunately, I'm not allergic, but dealing with a bee sting in my calf right before bed some 10 or 15 miles from the trailhead... not fun.
"My only real horror story..."
My only real horror story was learning the lesson that the weather report for the nearest town does not reflect the weather at the top of the mountain where the open-face shelter is. When you pack for a low in the high 40's, sleeping in single digits is rough.
Also grew up in swampier parts of Florida. Wildlife can startle you. Not really "scary" once you know what to look/listen for. A cougar makes a horrifying sound if you don't know what it is. If you are near water in nesting season, always check for gator nests nearby. You don't want to find one while you're mid-dump. That does make a good laxative though.
"Did a miscalculation..."
Kepler Track New Zealand. Did a miscalculation on the number of calories two adults needed for the four-day trek. Had nothing but one jerky stick left and minimal water when we barely caught the last shuttle from the end trailhead back to Te Anau an additional 14K away. Whenever I think of the hungriest I've ever been it's the last half-day off that trek.
When we got back to our rented room we ordered two pizzas and a dessert made of berries, ice cream, and chocolate. I can not remember what the pizzas tasted like or even what we ordered. I only noticed the food going into my mouth at dessert. It was the most beautiful flavor I've ever experienced.
Have these stories put you off of hiking yet?
Here's a life tip: You can be a city boy like me and just not do it. It saves you a lot of trouble. (I'm being facetious, by the way.)
If these stories only further awaken the adventurer in you, then have at it.
Have some horror stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Some people typically don't like being told what to do because they think they already know what they're doing.
That is until they stumble and land on their face.
It turns out what they were resistant to accepting in the first place was accurate all along.
If only they listened.
Curious to hear of other people's growing pains, Redditor TinyUnderstanding948 asked:
"What lesson did you have to learn the hard way?"
You can protect yourself with these reminders.
Leave A Paper Trail
"Any monetary or business agreement needs to be in writing!"
Observing The Fine Print
"Read the contract."
Generally speaking, business relationships and friendships are mutually exclusive.
"Not everyone you work with is your friend."
What Venting Led To
"My grandmother learned that the hard way a few years ago. Had been in the same industry since the 90s, was being paid less than she was worth honestly. On a break at work, she was venting to a coworker she thought she was friends with, about someone who worked in the same place as them."
"Word got back to the boss pretty fast and they used it as an excuse to stop giving her work and forced her out; they preferred a younger workforce that they could pay less. She had to retire without much savings, had to sell her house and move in with my aunt, and now has to live off of social security benefits. She probably would have never retired if she hadn't been forced to; because of her age, she wasn't able to get hired anywhere else."
"I work with someone who will laugh with you and pretend to be your buddy but as soon as you turn your back, she's already b*tched about you to 20 people and whined about you asking for her help with some small tasks (even though she offered her support)."
"The worst part is she is part of the HR team and she has a documented history of exploding at people, harassment and bullying, and not doing her job (because she spends most of her time crying and complaining). She is the stereotypical HR representative."
Consumers who were previously taken advantage of have the following advice to pass along.
Splurge On Good Quality
"Buy it nice or buy it twice."
"This is 100% accurate but needs a disclaimer: expensive does not always equate to nice."
The relationships we have with people are complex, but you may want to keep these in mind.
Extending A Lifeline
"You can’t always help people. You can show them you care and point them toward help, but it’s up to them to get better. And if you fail, it’s not your fault."
"You can't have a relationship with someone's potential."
Achieve Mutual Adoration
"Loving someone doesn't mean they will keep loving you."
And when it comes to your health, listen up.
"Drink plenty of water."
"It's hard to know when you're dehydrated sometimes. Felt terrible and didn't know why. Never felt thirsty. Had skin issues, lack of sleep, irritability, lack of concentration, dizzy spells, could not function at work, among other things."
"Ended up at the ICU with an IV drip for severe dehydration."
"DRINK YOUR WATER!"
While advice from the people we care about comes from a good place, they are not always appreciated.
Sometimes, we have to make our own mistakes in order to fully comprehend why we should apply certain standards to the way we go about our lives.
At least for me, I've found that picking myself up and dusting myself off was most effective.
As patients, we rely on the expertise of medical professionals to be able to identify whatever ailments we're suffering through.
We brace ourselves if we fear the worst, but oftentimes, we end up being comforted by a minor diagnosis.
But all the medical degrees and years of education can't teach doctors to practice empathetic, yet professional, doctor-to-patient interaction on a basic human level.
That has to come naturally.
Curious to hear from patients who have had disappointing or distressing interactions with their physicians, Redditor TheSpasticSheep asked:
"What’s the most out of line thing a doctor has every said to you?"
It's horrifying when even doctors don't have a clue about your condition and, even worse, they gaslight you.
"A gentleman I worked with showed up to work one day looking extremely sick. He was incredibly feverish, had muscle and joint aches, very lethargic and was looking very jaundiced."
"we insisted that he go to the doctor, as he looks like he is on deaths door. He told us that he had been to 2 separate doctors and the ER, letting them know that he has Malaria, and can they please give him some anti malarials. Both doctors and the ER insisted that it 'was impossible to have malaria, as Australia doesn't have malaria,' and that he probably just had the flu, or some other viral infection. And they are correct. We don't have malaria here. But, what they failed to grasp was that this gentleman was an expat who worked in Africa for a number of years, and has had malaria 5 times already. So not only is he an expert in what malaria 'feels' like, but he is also at risk of developing malaria again, even if he hasn't been to Africa in a few years."
"He ended up having to go back to the ER, and basically force them to run a test for Malaria, after which they were like 'oh wow, you do have malaria.' And he was like 'no sh*t, i told you that 2 days ago.'"
Not Going Mental
"I had smashed my face on my steering wheel during a bad car accident and was experiencing intense pain. I teared up when he put the scope in my nose and was told I obviously have psychological problems and if I went on medication it might not help my pain, but I wouldn't care as much."
"Finally found a good doctor and surgery removed the chunk of nose bone that was stabbing into a nerve in my face."
The wrong treatment after a misdiagnosis can be a doctor's serious mistake.
"I had a growth on my scalp a few years ago and went to see a skin cancer specialist. Who said it was a malenoma and I was going to need most of my scalp removed. Without even having a biopsy. He starts telling me to prepare myself for this surgery that will disfigure me. I was about 19 at the time with long hair. He started saying ill need to wear a wig and my hair may not grow back and the skin above my eyes will need to be removed."
"I was petrified. Went home in tears and absolutely petrified."
"Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy."
"It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there."
"Years ago, one of the sexual health nurses at my work told me she just saw a woman who very clearly had a scabies infestation around her genitals. She said the treatment was simple and that a cream was applied with almost instant relief. She said what upset her about that patient was that almost a year earlier she’d been to a doctor about the infestation, the doctor didn’t even inspect her and just prescribed her antidepressants. I was horrified and still am over 7 years later. So much medical gaslighting."
"Too Young" For Cancer
"Not one, but two doctors to my dad- 'you’re too young to have prostate cancer, no need for a biopsy, it’s just a bladder problem.'”
"He died 15 months later from an aggressive prostate cancer that spread to create tumors all over his body."
The "Sad" Pill
""While teaching abroad in Vietnam I was struggling with depression. The doc diagnosed me with homesickness and prescribed a box of 160 hydrocodone to take 'when I feel sad.'"
"I was 21 and this was 2007, way before pill use was talked about mainstream. Subsequent boxes were $12 each at a walk up pharmacy, no script needed. I became addicted for 6 years."
"Edit, as I have many people stating that pill use has been discussed forever: I’m talking about the point we got to where most people knew about the dangers of opioids, what the main ones were, the fact that they were being overprescribed etc. Had I heard the word hydrocodone and been exposed to the world and media like I have over the last decade with the spotlight on the opioid crisis, I would never have taken them. That’s the main point I was attempting to make."
It's even more unsettling when someone you entrust your life to crosses a line.
Assessment Or Pick-Up Line?
"Mental health doctor told my daughter, 'You're too pretty to be depressed.'"
A NSFW Observation
"Not a doctor, but a dentist. When I was like 13 or 14 he commented on my lack of gag reflex, telling me that I’m going to be 'very popular with the boys.' It took me a few years to realize what he meant by that."
Mom To The Rescue
"I was the opposite. My dentist said, 'If you always gag like that, you're never going to find a good husband!'"
"I didn't understand why my mom yanked me out of the dentist's chair, but I'm proud of her for that. I think I was 6 or 7 years old."
The Gynocologist's Love Advice
"Mentioned that my sex drive was abnormally low to my gyno, and she said my husband just needed to be more forceful when initiating and I’d get into it. Immediately switched doctors and never looked back!"
The Gyno Who Jumped To Conclusions
"Mine was the opposite. Moved and went to a new gyno that several women raved about. I expressed concern over my low sex drive (especially since I was only 25). The next thing I know she is giving speeches and pamphlets and trying to give me info on women’s shelters. I was so confused."
"She just jumped to the conclusion I must be a battered woman. No matter what I said, she was convinced I was being abused. I tried to reassure her no, my husband was definitely NOT the problem and he was actually quite good in bed and extremely attentive to my needs. It was clearly a physical problem."
"Never went back. She even called several times to 'check' on me. I get that some women may need this, but I mean there was literally no red flags, quite the opposite. It was weird."
Going to the doctor's office for any reason can cause a lot of anxiety.
Patients should never have their stresses exacerbated by an unqualified doctor giving them a false analysis or downplaying their concerns.
Hopefully, you're in good hands with a physician who is professional, as well as compassionate.
Growing up, I had zero idea that the food I ate daily was "cultural."
It didn't occur to me until I was a kid when my mother had to gently explain to me that not everyone ate rice & beans.
She had to explain it because we were about to eat at a white friend's house for the first time.
I've always been weird about food tastes and textures and mom needed to warn me that the beans I could expect would be nothing like what I knew.
They would be sweet, have big chunks of chewy pork (which would also be sweet), and would NOT be served with rice.
"What do you mean there's no rice with the beans? Did they run out? Should we bring some?"
"No, they just don't eat rice and beans."
"So what do they eat with their chicharron de pollo?"
"They don't eat that. They do fried chicken a little different and they tend to eat things like rotisserie chicken instead."
Y'all should have seen my face.
It's been thirty years and I still struggle with the idea of not eating rice and beans all the time. I've come to understand that not everyone grew up in a Caribbean cultural household, though, and most Americans ate from a whole other menu.
Reddit user remyleboi00 asked:
"Non-Americans, what is the best 'American' food?"
Even as someone born in America, it took a while before I got familiar with American food.
So if it's just not your comfort zone - let Reddit guide you to the can't miss dishes.
"Cajun food. Definitely the most unique American food"
"As an American I 100% agree with you. Cajun food is heaven sent"
"That's because of it's native American roots, fun fact Cajun peppers are named after the south American tribe that influenced the Spanish/French who brought it to Louisiana. Maque Choux is also a very native American dish that can be found in Mexico as Calabasitas."
They Are Fundesperate housewives eating GIFGiphy
"Curly fries 👌"
"Recently came across Carl’s jr for the first time in Istanbul airport and the curly fries were just the best"
"the fun thing about curly fries is that they are basically the same everywhere. I'm pretty sure it's one company supplying all the different fast food places"
"I hate to sound like an ignorant foreigner but a made from scratch Mac & Cheese with at least 3 different cheeses plus a crispy breadcrumb crust on top is one of my favorite American dishes"
"Mac & Cheese is such a favorite of family get-togethers that if you volunteer to cook it, your Mac & Cheese needs references."
"It’s especially good with some pulled pork and caramelized onions mixed in. And some insulin."
"Solid choice. We Americans LOVE cheese."
"No need to apologize. One of our favorites too."
Thankful For Thanksgiving.I Love You Cooking GIF by Bob's BurgersGiphy
"I'm from Mexico and we get spoiled with our traditional cuisine but I found the thanksgiving dinner experience in the US incredible."
"Love everything, the turkey (dark meat :) ), cranberry sauce, the stuffing (oh the stuffing), mashed potatoes, salads and the delicious pays that follow for dessert. That whole combination plus the red wine and good company is an incredible experience hard to match."
"We also get spoiled with your traditional cuisine."
"I usually get a food coma on Thanksgiving"
"As an American who loves the Thanksgiving and other holiday classics this warms my heart to hear from someone whose cultural cuisine is considered a full on cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO."
"A nicely done, quality turkey with proper attention paid to all the sides, and good friends and/family is such a great experience."
"Same with the ham or prime rib dinner at Christmas. And all the pies. God I love pumpkin pie."
"Anything smoked: brisket, pork shoulder, chicken, turkey. I've even had smoked burgers. If seasoned well you don't even need BBQ sauce and it is so tender and juicy."
"I smoke meatloaf, can't go back to oven baked ever again."
"This tread has me wanting to smoke a brisket sooner rather than later."
"I love smoked brisket. I agree with you about the sauce. Taste the brisket before dunking in another flavor."
"Native Texan here. Agreed. The general rule here is that you never sauce beef. Let the flavor of the meat stand for itself. Hell, there are some places in Texas (particularly in Lockhart) that will ask you to leave their establishment if you ask for BBQ sauce."
"Now, pork and chicken, whatever else... Go nuts... Just leave beef alone."
"I had smoked mac and cheese once, it was heavenly."
Risk It Allhungry bart simpson GIFGiphy
"This is probably a recipe for disaster but I'm British and growing up visiting Florida I would love eating raw cookie dough from the refrigerator section"
"Cookie dough is so good that, given the option between not eating it, or getting food poisoning, nearly everyone will pick the cookie dough."
"It’s one of the few foods in the country where everyone knows the risk of food poisoning, and everyone makes the conscious, willing, and eager decision to not give a f*ck."
"All of us here in the U.S. know that eating the cookie dough is the best part of making homemade chocolate chip cookies. I have a recipe for brownies with a cookie dough topping. Cookie dough ice cream is also extremely common (it’s vanilla ice cream with cookie dough bits mixed in)."
The Holy Pudding
"I can’t find someone who’s listed it so"
"That shit is LIFE CHANGING"
"Gotta have the Nilla wafers or it isn't right."
"Ah, finally! A person of culture. Banana pudding is the closest food can come to a religious experience."
Cornbread!cornbread cooking GIF by emibobGiphy
"Oddly enough, no one seems to have mentioned it…but cornbread . Yeah , as a guy who moved here , Americans have got cornbread down to a T . Combined with some soul food ? Makes me smile on the inside . Gives me high blood pressure , but smile on the inside too"
"A nice warm cornbread muffin with some butter and a little drizzle of honey is amazing."
"Cornbread with a nice bowl of chili is such a nice comfort food."
"And the spicier the chili the nicer the sweet, buttery cornbread is with it."
"Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, at first i thought it was a disgusting combo, but when i tried i loved it"
"Interesting, most people in America are introduced to pb&j before we're even old enough to remember"
"Farmer’s market jam is the way."
"That was my most frequent meal in elementary school. I didn't realize it was an American thing until recently."
"It's easily top 3 greatest sandwich ever."
As American As It Getspulp fiction breakfast GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy
"I may be a simpleton, but an average diner with bottomless filter coffee, pancakes, bacon and syrup was my favourite part of the day. Although I did put on about 10-15kg after a month in Texas"
"I missed this sooooo much when I lived in the UK (grew up in New Jersey, land of diners). They simply do not do American diner breakfasts in Europe."
"My wife is German, I am American but we live in Germany. We took her parents to the states with us one summer on vacation and one of the things they insisted we do was go to a diner where they pour your coffee at the table, like in movies and tv shows."
"Took them to my favorite little spot, they loved the waitress filling up their cups unprompted."
Now that youve heard Reddit, it's my turn.
So remember how I said that I wasn't really exposed to American food until I was a bit older, even though I was born and raised in America?
I was 22 before I had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
FAM. Fam. Faaaaaaaaaaam.
There is no greater meal for after a night of drinking than a good meatloaf and a nice herb and garlic mashed potato.
Keep your greasy pizza, amateurs. It's potato time over here.
Have you ever been caught in a conversation you didn't want to be in? Or start talking to someone only to realize you want to stop? Perhaps you were talking to a friend when the conversation took a turn for the uncomfortable.
Whatever the case, we've all been in those situations where we want the conversation to stop, but don't want to be rude.
When I was in third grade, I asked if I voted on American Idol that week. I said yes, since everyone seemed to, but of course I didn't know what American Idol was. Being pop culture challenged, I thought it was a ship. Needless to say everyone was confused when I was asked who I voted for and I replied, "What do you mean? I voted for American Idol!"
It didn't take me long to realize something was amiss, and I probably would've very rudely excused myself from the conversation (fueled by my embarrassment) if my teacher hadn't called us to attention at that very moment.
Luckily, the people of Reddit were willing to share their methods to politely end a conversation when Redditor Spritti33asked:
"How does someone politely end a conversation with a person who won't stop talking?"
Extricate Yourself Immediately
"When they draw a breath, politely say:"
""On that note, I must be on my way.""
Then, simply leave."
Couldn't Get Him To Shut Up
"Yea I worked with a dude who needed to talk. I just talked to him to be polite and not awkward. And I remember him saying "at least you're not one of those people who are silent all day". In my head I'm like, "FUCK, I wish I could be silent all day but now that you said that it would be even more awkward."
"At some point, I just mentally said f**k it and started giving him one-word replies. I think he got the hint because he started talking to me less. Eventually, he quit after a couple of months so it's all good!"
"But some people just need to talk for whatever reason. I need my freaking silence."
Put It In Writing
"I once worked with a man that managed to say nothing, despite talking nonstop. He would explain an issue to me over the span of 5 min. I would say "OK, so the issue you're having is x?" and he would say "No" then launch into a 5 min monologue about something completely different. One time, after half an hour talking with him I still had no idea what the problem was, so I said "put all the issues in an email so I can put it in the queue" and just left. Never got a coherent email either but at least a rambling incoherent email is easier to walk away from and less time-consuming."
Put Them (Back) To Work
"If you're in an office building with someone (or any location the person you're talking to has a desk), one trick you can try is walking them back to their desk, say something like "well, I'll let you get back to it!", then turn around and leave."
Taking Care Of Each Other
"My workplace has someone like this and it’s pretty much become a part of our culture to monitor who is trapped talking to her, for how long they’ve been stuck, and to rescue them after an appropriate amount of time has passed. She doesn’t get it, and probably never will."
Talk To The Door
"My husband worked with a woman who would not stop talking. Just wouldn't. So you'd gather your stuff, while she monologued. You'd say goodbye to everyone else, while she monologued. You'd walk to the door as she followed you and shut the door in her face while she monologued. You could hear her still talking to you behind the closed door while you walked away."
Take Your Turn
"I learned a trick. Most excessive talkers hate listening. So I simply participate and tell my own stories. After one or two stories they are usually ready to leave themselves to seek their next victim."
Create A Deadline
"My entire dad's side of the family are the type that never stop talking."
"The key to getting a word in is to just respond to whatever you wanted to add to even if they are still talking. It might feel rude but most people who are like that were raised in environments where that's the norm or in the case of people with disorders like ADHD and Autism, they most likely know they have the tendency and will roll with it."
"Best way I've found to get end a conversation with ramblers is to set a deadline as early as possible in the conversation (ex: I have to leave at 6pm to get to ______ on time). If you do this you can do the "I'm sorry I really have to go" and immediately leave without offending them because you've already set the expectation that you would be leaving at a certain time."
"This is why I hate taking Lyft/Uber alone, I seem to always get the folks who just want to talk the entire time. My boyfriend tells me to just not engage but when you’re in a car with someone it’s kinda hard not to. The ONE time I just wore headphones the whole time, the driver at the end said “maybe you’ll actually talk next time”"
No Need To Feel Bad
"People who are like this expect folks to just walk away from them while they are talking because that’s the only way the conversation ends. It’s not rude to them, it’s normal. So, it’s entirely okay to say, “all right this has been great, see you later,” and then just walk away smiling."
Sometimes it's hard to get out of a conversation you never wanted to be in, and sometimes it's equally as hard to keep your temper in check.
However, if you remember some of these tips and tricks, you may be able to successfully get yourself out of an unpleasant or unceremoniously long conversation in the future!