Trying to be Polite

girl on phone

Dear Karly,

When I call my friend and her father picks up the phone, he likes to talk to me for a while and all I really want to do is talk to my friend. How can I politely get him to stop talking and give my friend the phone?

Trying to Be Polite, 8

Dear Trying to Be Polite,

I definitely know the feeling of wanting a conversation to come to a close, and it’s very kind of you to care that you are not rude or hurtful to your friend’s father. You would like to find a way to get your friend’s father to stop talking, but you also don’t want him to think the conversation was boring or not enjoyable for you. Lucky for you, there is actually a strategy that you can follow to make this happen! Here are three tips to help:

Tip #1: Leave off with a positive comment about the conversation. The minute the phone gets quiet on the other side, you can say something like “I really enjoyed our conversation; hope to talk again soon,” or “It was nice talking to you Mr. Jones, and I’ll see you next week when I come over!” Just make sure not to do this while in the middle of discussing something, or you’ll sound abrupt and rude.

What happens if you think Mr. Jones wouldn’t appreciate a quick goodbye? Or if you’ve tried this before, and he just kept talking? Then you jump to Tip #2…

Tip #2: Give a short summary of what you talked about, which is a clear sign that you think the conversation was great, and can now end. So you can say something like, “Thanks for telling me about the time you ate that much candy; sounds like you had lots of fun!” or “It was great to discuss my summer plans with you, Mr. Jones!” (Extra tip: the great part about compliments is that once he says “you’re welcome!” you can jump straight back to Tip #1 with a positive goodbye.)

If the person you’re talking to is really enjoying himself, and tip #1 and #2 just don’t work, it’s time to pull tip #3 out of the bag….

Tip #3: Come up with an excuse for why you need to go. Maybe it’s getting late, and you need homework help from your friend? Maybe your friend was waiting for your call, and you don’t want to keep her waiting? Maybe you have a quick question for your friend, that you don’t want to forget? When you’re coming up with an excuse, though, make sure you have a story to back it. So if you tell your friend’s dad that you have a quick question for her, make sure to come up with a quick question that you can ask her! (Of course, you don’t need to hang up with her once she’s answered that quick question…) It can be tricky to come up with an excuse that gets you to your friend, but sounds like you have time to think creatively while your friend’s dad is talking:)

I hope these tricks help you out with your friend’s dad, and any other time this comes up in the future!

And always remember: There are plenty of ways to politely but firmly end a conversation!



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