An important English speaking tip is related to how to close a conversation. We’ve all been there-talking to someone and wanting the conversation to end. But this is sometimes hard to do in a way that is not awkward or uncomfortable. Keep on reading for the English speaking tip!
p.s. If you want to know how to open a conversation in English, check out: How to Open a Conversation.
English Speaking Tip: How to Close a Conversation
Closing or ending a conversation is just as important as beginning one. You can’t just walk away once you have started talking, or the listener will think you are angry. However, how you end the conversation depends on how well you know each other and the situation.
Be Direct With Friends if You Need to Finish the Conversation
If you are friends, you can be pretty direct. “I have to go. Let’s talk more later.” For example, you can use this on the phone after you have had a short chat or in person if you unexpectedly meet while shopping. If you feel that is too abrupt, you can add a reason, “I have to go; I am on my way to an appointment/ meet a friend/ pick up my child.”
Another common way to end conversations with friends is to say, “Let me let you get back to work/ shopping/ your workout/ whatever they were doing before you started talking.”
If you’re on the phone, you can say, “I’ll let you go now.”
Closing a Conversation When at Work
If you are at work, it’s also pretty easy to end a quick chat with, “Well, I better get started with/ get back to/ finish up (some task.)” If the person has come to your desk and seems to have no work of their own to do, it can be more difficult to politely say goodbye.
However, if you say the above sentence while turning to look at your work, they should get the hint. Turn back to them, until they leave, but if they continue talking, keep looking from them to your work. If they seem to want to talk about something at length, you can add, “I’m sorry, but I really need to get this done. Let’s talk more later.”
What about at a Party?
If you are at a party, you can excuse yourself to go get a drink (just don’t offer to get them one, too!), go to the bathroom, or say hi to someone you know. Just say, “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go _____.” If it is a networking event, you can exchange phone numbers, business cards, LinkedIn details, and/or make plans to talk or meet up in the future.
On Public Transportation
If you are on a bus or plane and the person next to you wants to talk, don’t feel like you need to have a long conversation. After a couple of minutes, it’s okay to tell them you want to get back to your book, music, etc. and end the conversation. It’s not expected that you will have a conversation more than a minute or two in this situation. You can say, “Excuse me, I’m going to get back to…”
English Speaking Tip: If Someone Says to You…
On the other hand, if someone uses these statements we’ve mentioned above, understand that they are trying to end the conversation. If someone says, “Let me let you get back to work,” don’t answer with, “I’m not busy,” and sit down for a long chat about your weekend! You won’t make many friends that way.
I hope that enjoyed this English speaking tip about how to close a conversation!
Like this English Speaking Tip?
- Jackie Bolen, Jennifer Booker Smith
- Kindle Edition
If you like this English speaking tip, you can get 70 more of them in this book, 71 Ways to Practice Speaking English: Tips for ESL/EFL Learners. It will help you speak English easily and fluently in no time.
You can get the book on Amazon in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office for some serious inspiration when you need it. Or, read the digital version on the bus or subway when you’re going to work or school.
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How to End a Conversation Politely
More details about closing a conversation in English politely. Check out the useful video here:
What do you Think About Closing a Conversation?
Do you have any tips or tricks for how to close a conversation at work, school, or with friends? Or, just about speaking English in general? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from.
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Last update on 2019-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API