How to get out of a boring conversation at a party

Omg I just saw my mate

There are compelling reasons to attend parties.

Chiefly, all your friends are going, so skipping it means opting, voluntarily, to spend the next trip to the pub wearing a rictus grin, as they all babble about the night and you make futile attempts to heave the conversation back to a night you also attended. Also, parties are fun, usually; you can dance, sometimes. You might meet some you want to have sex with. 

However, there are legitimate reasons to avoid them. The loos, and also – crucially – getting into an awful conversation from which you cannot extricate yourself.

Perhaps the person is really boring, perhaps the conversation has run its course, perhaps you have just noticed that there is a far better one going on across the room, featuring people you both know and like. Perhaps you’re stuck talking to someone’s boyfriend from home who no one else knows. They’re clearly the duffer, as even the person who knows them and invited them has disowned them. But escape is so difficult to do fluidly.

This is how to do it with élan.

Use words like élan

People will think you’re a dickhead. Really emphasise that acute accent. Get some of these words in the first few sentences.

Take the whole bottle

Always pick up two drinks 

Pick up two tinnies; go to the makeshift bar and mix two potent G&Ts in plastic tumblers; pluck a whole bottle of wine from the middle of the kitchen party. Then, if you are intercepted before you can make it to the cosy circle of mates you intend to spend the whole evening with, then you can just say you’ve “just got to go give someone their drink, sorry!”.

They know you’re not sorry.

Train your eyes over their head

Yes, this is very rude. But all of these suggestions are rude – the person you escape is going to see you talking, enthusiastically, to someone else a few moments later. They might even overhear you (“ugh, thank GOD, I was stuck talking to someone who can literally hear this conversation now”) or notice you rolling your eyes so hard the swivel is audible, or see you miming sticking a revolver to your head.

This is the one you want to be in

Also, you’re stuck in a conversation with your mate and her long-term boyfriend, and your other friend is talking about some party she went to in a castle, where she had a threesome with a minor aristocrat. It’s every girl for herself here. So train your eyes over their head, in the direction of the conversation you’d much rather be in. Really laser in on those pals of yours. If you imagine it hard enough, maybe you’ll actually be in that conversation. And before you know it, you will be.

Look at your phone

While we’re talking about being rude, this works.

Join us on the better side of the party

Start a sort of two-step shuffle

Proceed slowly, imperceptibly, gradually. You start by facing them, because that’s how conversation works, but within a few minutes you find that you are facing the room at large. You have created an escape route that doesn’t involve barrelling through their body. At some point – if this goes well – you will actually have taken several steps away from them.

They won’t really notice what’s happened, but you are free.

Rope in another friend

If you’re going down, take them with you. Grab someone – ideally someone you know very well, and whose conversation you can use to alienate this interloper. Laugh exaggeratedly at their jokes, perhaps slap them on the back. Move the conversation around to “that time” and then get really forensic on the details. Confuse them if you must. You can explain later.

Pretend you are getting a phone call

More substantive than just looking at your phone. Claim it’s someone who’s “outside and really needs to be let in”. Follow-through is important: you must move towards the door and then walk back into the room with someone (ideally a relative newbie to this party), otherwise you may find yourself navigating this same conversation again in a few minutes.

Pretend you’ve just seen someone you know

Apologise excessively and insincerely. “I’m SO sorry, but I’ve just seen someone I have to talk to!” Ideally, you will actually have seen someone you know or you’re going to have to go to the loo and will probably end up in another one of these conversations.

Pretend to be really drunk

It is harder than you think to ape the behaviour of a drunk person: all of the typical signals that people associate with drunkenness are less exaggerated than you assume. Don’t overdo it: hang on their arm just a little too much, stand a little too close, stumble very slightly. Lose your train of thought. Make yourself a bit boring.

I don’t know what you’re talking about, this has never happened to me

You are the person that everyone is trying to avoid.