How To Get Rid Of Someone You Don't Want To Talk To Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How To Get Rid Of Someone You Don't Want To Talk To

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Billy Murray and Joseph Kpobie in EastEnders.

Occasionally, at a party etc, someone you don't know terribly well and/or don't particularly like will come up to you and try to have a conversation. When this happens and you want to get rid of them quickly, here's what to do:

  1. Answer as many questions as possible in monosyllables.
  2. Avoid asking questions which are going to make them talk to you.
  3. Only ask questions if it's extremely impolite not to do so. For example: 'How are you?'; 'Fine, how are you?'
  4. Nod occasionally and avoid looking at the person too much.
  5. 'Aha' is also acceptable, as it’s polite enough but doesn't encourage them to talk to you.
  6. They’ll eventually run out of things to say. When they do, don't think of something to say to fill the silence.
  7. Let the awkward silence stretch out...

Tip: don't feel awkward during the silence. If you do you'll probably try to think of something to say. Think about something else, and stare off into the distance. You could also try counting their eyelashes or laugh-lines. Don't look too focused; just glaze over.

Maybe think about something which interests you, so you can get really lost in your thoughts. Or think of something really boring so you look really bored, unless you already look this way. Of utmost importance: don't laugh! The person you're talking to will want to know what you're laughing at.

For example:

Person 1: Hi, (insert name)! How are you?
Person 2: Fine. How are you?
Person 1: So what have you been doing lately?
Person 2: Not much.
Person 1: Right. Seen any of your friends or anything?
Person 2: Not really.
Person 1: Cool.
(Awkward silence)

Person 1 runs metaphorically screaming from the awkward silence to find someone a little more talkative.

Suggestions from other Guide Researchers include: instead of a chirpy 'fine' trying a taciturn 'alright'. Or you could make the 'fine' very chirpy and skip the 'how are you?', as this could lead to long, rambling replies. Then there are the replies: 'This is as good as I get', or 'vertical', or 'somewhat vertical' (if in a sitting position). Not forgetting: 'Great, ever since I accepted Christ into my life - have you found Jesus?'

Maintain a pleasant, inane expression throughout. Excuse yourself and run away!

Above all, be as polite as possible. You just want them to go away, not hate you forever. If they've something genuinely interesting to say just listen. If they're very persistent just nod and say 'aha' occasionally. Remember: you don't want to alienate yourself.

Note: this is only for people you don't like, or people who only talk to you because they've no-one else to talk to. There's nothing as insulting as being a last resort. Don't do this to your friends if you don't want to talk to them. They're your friends - you have to put up with them.

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