These tips on how to end those boring conversations at dinners or parties aren’t about rushing away. Rather, these tips are meant to help you enjoy talking to anyone about anything.
My husband (pictured) pointed out that it’s possible to get stuck in a boring conversation with an employee or neighbour – not just at a party. That made me realize that people get stuck in boring conversations with their parents, in-laws, spouses, and other family members.
These tips are for people who don’t want to hurt or be impolite to the people they’re talking to, but who are bored with what they’re talking about. Wait a minute – are you the boring one? If you suspect so, read 10 Interesting Things to Talk About With Your Girlfriend.
6 Ways to Get Out of a Boring Conversation at a Party
Sometimes you can’t abandon a conversation – maybe you’re sitting at a dinner table or someone has asked you to talk to this person for a few minutes. Or, maybe your conversation partner is someone important, such as your boss’s husband or a potential employer.
Getting out of a boring conversation at a party isn’t about walking away; it’s about finding mutually interesting things to talk about.
1. Make it your goal to dig up the treasure – everyone has a story
The last things I enjoy talking about are home improvements, gardening, and how much mileage someone got on their last road trip. I also dislike listening to memories of days long gone, and stories that ramble on and on and on. I used to excuse myself and walk away. Recently, however, I started challenging myself to find something genuinely interesting about the person I’m talking to. For instance, I learned that an elderly neighbor rode across America on a Harley. She didn’t lead with this; she kept talking about how much egg nog her husband drank at their last Christmas party. I can’t remember how I discovered that she was a biker.
If you’re stuck in a boring conversation at a holiday party, challenge yourself to find something interesting about that person. Everyone has a story.
2. Find some way to take charge of the conversation
By “take charge of the conversation”, I don’t mean start talking about yourself nonstop. This tip for ending boring conversations at parties is connected to the last one; taking charge is about steering the conversation in a direction that interests you. Did your conversation partner mention a trip? Follow that bunny trail; maybe there’ll be something interesting to talk about.
3. Talk about a problem you need to solve
For instance, I’m wondering if my Quips and Tips blogs are boring and dry (which is why I’m featuring holiday parties all November!). I’d love to get someone’s perspective on what I can do to make Quips and Tips more noteworthy and interesting. I’m genuinely curious about why people follow certain blogs and how I can interact more with my readers. This is a problem I’ve been struggling with for a long time, and I’d use it to get out of a boring conversation at a Christmas party!
4. Learn how to transition to different topics
Knowing how to change the subject is an important skill, especially if you can’t jump ship and abandon the conversation. I think honesty is the best policy: “I’m sorry to change the subject, but I’m interested in hearing what you think about….” Or “That’s interesting, thanks for telling me that. Can I switch gears, because I want to talk about…”
5. Know what you like to talk about
Always go to a party armed with interesting conversation starters! Getting out of a boring conversation at a party means having your own interesting topics to discuss. Obviously, you can’t say, “Let’s talk about something more interesting” to someone at a party (though I’ve said this to my husband many times).
What are your favorite subjects to talk about? What could you discuss forever – what are you curious about? Keep these topics in mind, because your conversation partner may have some interesting info about the topics you’re most interested in.
6. Figure out why you’re bored with the conversation
Here’s a psychological perspective from a social work course:
“Try saying out loud what bores you in a social situation. Two common causes are (a) a topic you have no interest in, and (b) the way the person talks.
Examples of boring conversational styles:
- Going on and on, without eye contact (monologing or ranting)
- Speaking in a monotone, with little vocal or physical expression
- Talking in vague intellectual abstractions and generalities
- Overfocusing on themselves (having a one-person awareness bubble)
- Not self-disclosing appropriately
What happens inside you when you’re socially bored? Many people evolve a distracting inner conflict. Part of them wants to be polite, and another part wants to do something, like repress frustration, pretend interest, showing impatience, losing eye contact, excusing yourself (leaving), interrupt, change the subject, fidget, yawn, and/or “tune out.” If the “action part wins, many people feel guilty.
That last tip for ending a boring conversation at a party is from Response Options to a Boring or Bored Person.
How do you end boring conversations with people? Tips and questions welcome below!