We’ve all been there: trapped in that conversation that just will not end. Be it at a party, in a parking lot, or around the office. The conversational terrorist (term stolen from the brilliant Allie Brosh) has locked onto you and like a hostage you stand there listening to this other person chat-chattering, just waiting for the moment to disengage that never presents itself.
But don’t you fret world, I have solved it! Through careful study and mathematic calculation I have developed these sure fire ways to escape a conversational hi-jack.
These escape tactics were forged in my imagination on New Year’s Eve 2012 when I was cornered by a man who was just not reading my signals of “please stop existing near me right this minute” and “I don’t have it in me to care about your words tonight”. He proceeded to not read my signals, and was also unthwarted by my turning away from his attempts to make out with my face; he ended up molesting my cheek and my faith in social interactions that night. And hence, the SURE FIRE WAYS TO ESCAPE AN ACT OF CONVERSATIONAL HIJACKING were born:
Whisper “It’s not safe to talk here, meet me in the park at 3am.” Then just run away.
Answer all of their questions in Spanish. They will be momentarily stunned and will likely apologize then move away. However, if they also switch to Spanish simply say “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish”. They will be perplexed by your spontaneous loss of a language and will end the conversation for you.
Reach out one hand and cup their cheek. Do not acknowledge that you are doing this. Continue conversation as normal. (addendum: if your conversation partner returns the gesture than you have found your soul mate)
Dump your drink on your shirt, then excuse yourself to clean up. If you would rather not ruin your own shirt this technique can be amended: dump your drink on their shirt. At this point they probably will not want to continue talking to you.
Stare. Keep staring. Don’t utter a word. The less blinking the better. Hold eye contact.
Take one small, subtle step backward every 30 seconds until you are across the room.
As soon as they finish telling a story, say “oh that reminds me of this time…” and then retell their exact story but as if it happened to you.
Answer a question other than the one they asked. For example:
Conversational Terrorist: “Have you seen that movie?”
You: “Oh I think that bill should absolutely be passed.”
CT: “Wha…? Did you hear me? I was asking about the new movie.”
You: “Absolutely, if this global warming keeps up all the polar bears are going to be in trouble.”
CT: (looking around confused) “What are you even talking about? Are you feeling okay?”
You: “Hey maybe if the ice melts the polar bears will adapt to the water and become like sharks. Ocean bears, the world’s newest predator!”
CT: (backs away slowly, monitoring you for sudden movements)
***disclaimer: Sci-Fi Channel, I know you now want to make the movie OCEAN BEAR, but all legal rights and holdings of Ocean Bear belong to Tracy Combs and are trademarked property of the afore mentioned Tracy***
Turn the conversation into a scene from a soap opera. Here is your dialogue:
“How dare you cheat on me with my half sister! And after I helped you get rid of Raul when he was blackmailing you. And then I waited for you while you were in the coma, even though I was pregnant at the time with twins, one of which was yours! After all of that how could you betray me?”
And then slap them full in the face and run away weeping. Men-folk, don’t change a single word and this speech will be EXTRA effective for you.
Reply to their questions with normal, sedate statements, but say them in a loud and aggressive tone as if the two of you are in a fight. For example:
Person still not getting the point: “So what did you think about the latest episode of New Girl?”
You: “I THINK JESSICA DAY IS THE CUTEST PERSON, PROBABLY EVER! SHE IS JUST SO FREAKING ADORABLE!”
PSNGTP: “Um, so you did like it? I can’t really tell if you’re being sarcastic…”
You: “YEAH I THOUGHT IT WAS DELIGHTFUL! I LAUGHED AND LAUGHED! I CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT WEEK!”
It’s like having a conversation in CAPS LOCK (and by the way, the Caps Lock button on the keyboard is bogus! It should be printed as “cAPS lOCK” because that’s what that button does to whatever you’re typing).
When someone utters the dreaded sentence, “so tell me about yourself” they are settling in for the longest of all conversations. Your way out is to answer:
“Why, what have you heard? Who have you been talking to? Was it Ray, did he talk to you? Because he’s a liar! I don’t know anything about those campers that disappeared last year. Why don’t you just remind Ray that helping dispose of the bodies makes him an accessory so he should probably keep his mouth shut!”
Continually call them Susan, even after they correct you.
Them: “Um, my name is George.”
You: “That’s what I said, jeez Susan!”
If there name is actually Susan, call them Steve.
Move in really close to them until you’re nose-to-nose, maintaining steady eye contact, then take a deep breath and whisper “Mmmmmm, you smell like Burt Reynolds”.
These genius approaches will work EVERY TIME! So go out into the world with confidence again, knowing that you now have the ability to evade conversational entrapment. You’re welcome! If you have found success with any of these methods please share