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 all the details you need to know about closing a conversation in the best way!
p.s. If you want to know how to open a conversation in English, check out: How to Open a Conversation.
How to Close a Conversation in English
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.
There are so many possibilities that it’s difficult to give only one expression or phrase that you could use. But, keep on reading for all the tips you need for a variety of situations.
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.”
Wondering how to end a phone conversation? If you’re on the phone, you can say, “I’ll let you go now.”
Related: English Speaking Tips for ESL/EFL Learners
How to Politely End 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.”
Remember that you’re getting paid to actually do work when you’re at work, not chit-chat with your coworkers. You may encounter some people that love to waste time by talking to everyone about everything but you don’t need to participate.
Closing a Conversation 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.
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!
Related: IELTS Speaking Test- Five Things you Need to Know
What about if Someone has Just Helped You?
There are various ways to end a conversation if someone has just helped you. Check out this video for one of my top ideas:
How to End a Conversation 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 for more than a minute or two in this situation. You can say, “Excuse me, I’m going to get back to…”
How to Finish a Convo with Someone that you don’t Like.
We’ve all been there. We’re stuck talking to someone that we don’t like at work, school, or at a party or family gathering. There are a few things you can do to close the conversation with a person that you don’t want to talk to. Often, being quite direct or making an excuse is the best strategy. You could say:
- Excuse me, I need to grab a drink (food).
- Oh, is that (____)? I need to go talk to them.
- Well, it’s been nice chatting. Let’s catch up again later.
- I need to run. Chat with you later.
- Sorry, I have to get back to work.
- Let me go check with (_____) to see if she/he needs my help.
How to End a Phone Conversation
Closing a phone conversation can be a little bit tricky because you won’t have the visual cues like you would in an in-person convo. However, here are some of the best ways to get off the phone:
- Well, I gotta run. I need to . . .
- Okay, let’s catch up again (in a month or two).
- It’s getting late. I need to get ready for bed.
- I think I have to get back to work. I’ll chat with you later.
- I think everything is sorted out. Let’s connect again (in another month or two).
Even More Tips for Speaking English
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 78 Pages - 01/25/2017 (Publication Date)
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.
Yes, it really is that easy to improve your English skills. Check out the book for yourself on Amazon:
FAQs About Closing a Conversation
Here is a quick guide to some commonly asked questions about politely ending a conversation.
What do you say at the end of a conversation?
There are many ways to close a conversation. You can use different phrases depending on who you are talking to. If you want to end a conversation with a friend, be direct and say “I have to go. Let’s talk more later”. On the other hand, if you are at work, you might have to be more polite. In this case, you can say “Well, I better get started with/ get back to/ finish up (some task.)” to sound polite and less awkward.
How do you end a text?
For most general conversations, you can end a text by sending “Talk to you later.” or “Thank you!”. If it’s early in the day, you can send “have a nice day” or if it is in the evening, you can say “good night” to end the text conversation.
How do you improve conversation skills in ESL?
There are many ESL conversation activities that you can use to practice and improve your speaking skills. The most effective way to improve conversation skills is to learn phrases rather than words and try to use them in a real-life conversation. If you’re scared or nervous that you might forget the phrases, make a cheat sheet!
How do you teach ESL students conversation?
If you are an ESL instructor planning a class for improving conversation and speaking skills, try using activities. Some of the activities that you can use in your class include conversation starters, cocktail party, small talk game, partner conversation starters, presentations and task-based learning. Check the details for each activity.
What do you Think About Closing a Conversation? Join the 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? If you find it difficult to start a conversation, check out small talk ideas. Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from.
Also be sure to share this article on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other English learners like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API