You’re the social butterfly around close friends and coworkers, and love to mingle with the crowds at the latest party. Still, there are some places where the social climate can be less than comfortable and you might need a game plan to get out, fast. Whether you’re stuck in a too-personal conversation with a stranger, or find yourself yawning and restless at an event, there are some simple—and polite—ways to escape an awkward moment and head off to the next thing on your agenda. Consider these tips as part of your escape plan out of some of the most awkward social situations:
Getting Out of a Dull Dinner Party
A formal sit-down affair, a casual barbecue, or a buffet-style meal are all great ways to socialize and meet new people. Unfortunately, not all hosts are prepared to keep the party lively and guests happy; when you sense that the energy from the get-together has disappeared with the rest of the meal, it may be time to head out and call it a night. Excuse yourself from the table and attend to a phone call or start helping the hostess clear the table. The act of getting up and moving may even prompt others to do the same, so you’re only taking the lead on the inevitable. Just make sure to thank the host or hostess for their hospitality, say goodbye to the guests, and leave on a positive note.
Getting Out of an Argument
Every relationship has its ups and downs, and arguments or quarreling can be a valuable form of communication. Still, you don’t want to allow the argument to go on for hours on end, therefore you need to find a way to resolve the problem. Getting out of an argument with a loved one will require both parties to cooperate and see the “bigger picture.” It’s easy to get caught up in emotions during the conflict, so you’ll need to simmer down and be as rational as possible in order to resolve the disagreement. Finishing the argument may be as simple as interrupting it mid-stream and calling an official “time out.”
Small talk about the food on the hors d’oeuvres tray, catching up with old friends at the reunion, and discussions about the latest movies are great ways to connect with people at a get-together. However, sometimes you can get drawn into a dull and boring conversation and find it challenging to weasel yourself out. A boring conversation will probably need to end from your own efforts—the other person will keep on talking, so be prepared to interrupt and change the subject. If possible, bring someone else into the discussion to liven things up.
Making Up for a Forgotten Birthday
Whether it’s your best friend, your significant other, or a friend that now lives halfway across the world, sending over belated birthday wishes can be hard. When you’re so caught up in your day-to-day activities and forget someone’s birthday, your next encounter could be far from comfortable. The best solution is to be honest and upfront about it; go out of your way to send them some good wishes, wait for their honest reaction, and then pencil in that date on your calendar so you don’t repeat the mistake in the future!
Encouraging Guests to Leave
Even when you set soiree hours from 6 to 10 p.m., you might find guests mingling and snacking from the dessert tray well into the night. If they’re not showing signs of leaving the party any time soon, you need a way to prompt the coat and handbag pick-up, and call it a night. When guests have clearly overstayed their welcome, you can declare the party “officially over” by starting to clean up, begin moving coats from the coat room and taking them to the guest area, or even giving a brief “thank you” speech with a toast. Being as polite and courteous as possible will help keep the party in good spirits as you shuffle everyone out the door.
Awkward social situations don’t have to stop you from enjoying the moment; take the lead and change your near future with these tips and strategies so you can make the most of any situation!
Originally published on DivaVillage