Random Friday - Conversational Exit Strategies

Chances are you'll be stuck in some kind of tiresome cocktail-party discussion this summer. You know, those uncomfortable discussions you wish you could just run away from but just can not because you promised your mom/husband you would behave?

Because being rude or praying for some kind of miracle just won't work...

Here are some tips to gracefully keep it under control and to subtly change the subject of conversation:

Use Flattery

People tend to listen more closely to words of praise, which can put them in a different frame of mind and distract them. Complimenting people works, especially in prickly situations. For example, ask how did they learn so much about... or how do they always come up with such beautiful....

Make a Pit Stop

Excuse yourself, head to the restroom, and remain there for a few minutes. When you return, immediately ask about something new. It’s much easier and less awkward to change the subject after you’ve taken a short break than to stop a conversation midstream! You can also distract the speeker by asking if he/she or anyone listening need a snack or a drink - Of course, be polite when you interrupt.


A bridge is a phrase that helps you segue into the subject you want to talk about. For example “What’s important to remember is…”. If you are asked a delicate question, express some kind of opinion like "I was shocked to learn that...." then direct the talk away by saying "what's important to remember is...". Politicians are very good at this:)

Enlist Help

Draw other people into the discussion in hopes to steer it in a different direction. Raise your voice and start to make eye contact with others around you. Chances are they soon will be listening and jumping in, taking you off the hook. If a friend attends the same party, decide on a discrete "rescue" code to call for help!

Play Word Association

The most discreet way to introduce a different topic is to link it with something that was previously said, even if the new subject is connected by only the smallest detail or key word. For example, if you have dragged on the subject of skiing or snowboarding too long, go on to talk about the weather up north, which can eventually branch to talking about... the weather down south.

Ultimate Exit Strategy

If nothing works, take a deep breath and mention bluntly you are going to change the subject. Use a smile to keep it from being more uncomfortable than it may already be and talk about something positive.

Before the party, prep a few conversation starters, it helps. Read the paper, listen to the news and have a positive attitude.

Most of all, at all times and in any situation during the party, remember to smile and to act like Kate Middleton would, you'll be absolutely perfect:)

Sending good thoughts your way,



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