Posted by: foodtalker | February 26, 2011

way out

Being single, having an exit strategy is critical.  Especially when it comes to escaping a situation you don’t want to be in and even more so when those situations involve being trapped and stuck talking to someone you don’t want to talk to.  There are people who know exactly the right thing to say to bow out graciously from an uncomfortable or dull conversation.  I’m not one of them. 

For example, I’ve yet to figure out how to stop my eyes glazing over.  It seems to be an involuntary reflex due to lack of stimulation.  One minute I’m really trying to listen and give the appearance of hanging on every word, the next I know my eyes have that far away look.  What’s worse is when the person talking notices and says, “Oh, I must be boring you.”   I never know exactly what to reply.   Should I say, “Well, you do seem to like the sound of your own voice.”?  Nobody wants to hear that.  Because as much as people say they appreciate honesty, they honestly don’t. 

Being stuck in a conversation on the phone is easy.  There are lots of viable reasons you might have to go.  At work I can always say I’ve lost track of time and have a meeting in five minutes.  At home I’ve trained my dog to bark to a hand signal.  Got to go, someone’s at the door.

Talking on a cell – the exit strategies are abundant.  The battery is dying.  Or it’s too windy.  Or, whoops – the signal dropped.  Just going through a tunnel.   Only later you’ll realize you thought you were talking to them at home .  The other day someone said, “Sorry, my cheek hit the mute button.”  Sure it did.

But when you’re at a party it’s entirely different.  It’s not like you can say, I have to get the other line.”  Excuses are tricky because people can actually see you.

Even if your phone does ring, parties are usually so loud it’s hard to hear unless you’re holding your purse to your ear.

One time I said my phone was ringing even though it wasn’t.  I said it was on vibrate, reached into my purse and pretended to take the call.  Then I said apologetically that it was a private call, and left the room.  I thought I’d made my break until I saw the person I’d been talking to had followed me into the hall and was lurking nearby.  Presumably patiently waiting to resume where we left off.  Who does that?

When I ended my fake phone call he asked if everything was okay and I said not really, I had to go.  I ended up leaving the party in order to commit to the lie.  That’s a high price to pay.

Sometimes I’ll say I need to use the restroom but then I’ll make a crucial mistake because if I don’t want to hurt their feelings I’ll add, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

If they’re intuitive they’ll know “I’ll be back in a minute” really means “See ya pal.”  But the likelihood of that is slim because if they were that intuitive, it wouldn’t have been necessary to say it in the first place.  Plus, the whole point of a good exit strategy is to exit.  Not to set up the expectation of a return.


  1. I shall be looking you in the eye more avidly in future…..

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