Have you ever felt you should disengage a conversation much sooner than it ended? When a conversation leaves you thinking to yourself, “Wow, that went on far too long!” it’s time to recognize the signs that you should move on.
Philosopher Adam Smith perceptively noted that people are much more anxious that our friends share our enemies than they share our other friends. Think about this. Speaking with someone who likes the same people and ideas that you do makes for an easy conversation.
But when the topic turns to someone you don’t like, an idea that you are adamantly against, or a concept you cannot grasp, disagreement occurs. This can easily lead to discord, argument, worse. Recognizing the signs that you should disengage a conversation can be help save you from this type of escalation.
What are the signs that conversation needs to be disengaged?
These signs are a warning signal that your conversation is entering dangerous territory. And I would advise not going there.
When politics, religion, or any other emotionally triggering topic happens to show up in dinner conversation, friends who know you only as the friendly person you are, might happen to have views in common that differ from your own. You might suddenly feel as if you’re among strangers, even though these are your close friends.
Try exiting the topic without inserting door-jamming remarks:
Pull instead of push:
Don’t make it awkward.
We’ve all learned these lessons before, but if you are like me, lessons present themselves more than once. Re-framing the conversation by pausing to take a breath and smile is usually a good ending.
And be positive. Remember that conversation is the best way to de-clutter life as you try to express your thoughts. Others are just like you!