It is that time of year. There are cocktail parties, work parties, kid parties, neighbor parties and family parties. At some point during this whole circuit, you are likely to have a conversation with someone who will BORE YOU TO TEARS. Lest you get salt-water on your Chanel bag, you need a way out.
We’re not talking about the normal lulls and lifts in a conversation (not every chat has to be spellbinding). We’re more interested in helping you get out of talking to someone who doesn’t read the signs. Who doesn’t ask you about yourself, doesn’t notice your eyes glazing over, and is not remotely interested in hearing anything you have to say. You know this person. And as annoying as they are, it is no reason not to behave like a lady.
What to do? Here are our tried and true suggestions:
1. FIND A THIRD PARTY. The key to navigating a conversation is to look for breaks. Breaks come harder with only two. So, catch the eye of someone nearby – preferably the man in the reindeer outfit – and invite him to be a part of your twosome. This allows for more lulls and potential distractions and, um, the opportunity to slink away.
2. SAY THANK YOU. When a long-winded person tells you about their knitting obsession (assuming you don’t care about knitting), nod your head along and when appropriate say: “Thank you for telling me that! So interesting.” Be confident. Just end it there. Don’t ask questions. Don’t meander. This will allow you one brief second to turn this into a mutually-acceptable parting – while remaining utterly polite. Unlike the following…
3. MAKE SOMETHING UP. You have to go all the way with this one. No namby-pambyness. This is how it goes: grab your phone and register SHOCK: “Oh my god, no. NO. NO. NO!” you will say. Be distraught. Use your acting skills. You won’t have to say anything more because this will tear the person out of their self-involved party prattle and, if they’re not total narcissists, they may have some empathy towards you. Take care to hide the screen of your phone so you don’t reveal that you’re a liar on top of an Oscar-worthy actress.
4. GO ON AN ADVENTURE. Wait for a brief pause and say: “I’m starving. The shrimp toast is calling me.” Then, brightly: “Want to join?” Don’t wait for an answer, but take their wrist – that way they won’t feel miffed. Wear a smile on your face the whole time and greet everyone. Somewhere along the way – this is the critical part – pick up a new friend and voila! Conversation-ended.
5. ASK DIFFICULT QUESTIONS. Say you’re stuck with someone who loves small talk. As they go on about their pre-schooler’s holiday party or the weather on Monday, just look them in the eye and say: What’s beyond outer space? If that doesn’t work, try: What do you think about climate change? That should do it.
6. MAKE SMALL TALK. Someone may ask you: What do you think about climate change? How annoying! Just pull out a picture of your pre-schooler and talk about the weather.
And, you know what? If nothing works, don’t worry. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. You’re lucky enough to be at a party. Drink some eggnog and enjoy the conversation.
Photo courtesy of: www.multidict.net