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Conversation Finishers

Lines to end unwanted conversations

By Lana V LynxPublished 12 months ago 3 min read
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In communication studies and skill-building workshops, we often talk about conversation starters – questions that help us warm up to strangers, make it easier to get to know each other. Some people call it chit chat, some others – water-cooler interactions, yet others – icebreakers. They make disclosing personal information easy because they are non-threatening and fun. At the same time, you can find shared interests and establish understanding with such interactions. These questions include, "What's your favorite movie?", "What are you reading recently?", "Have you seen that sports game yesterday?" etc.

Sometimes, however, we are not in the mood for light conversations like that, for whatever reason. So we might resort to the opposite tool – conversation killers or finishers – responses that make it clear to the person who asked the question that you want out and are not going to continue.

Here’s one I've overheard on British TV (the Brits do have a great sense of humor for this purpose, cut and dry): “What’s your favorite dish to make?” – “Scrambled tofu.”

I went through my own experiences and memories and asked my friends to give me good examples of such conversation finishers. Here’s the short list of some favorites:

“What’s your favorite park to walk?” – “A cemetery near my home.”

“Who do you like more: dogs or cats?” – “I’m a vegetarian.”

“Do you like to travel?” – “Only in time.”

“How many countries have you been to?” – “Independent or territories?” Another option: “Before or after 1991?” (This is a subtle smart-ass comment as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, adding 15 new countries for travel).

“What’s your favorite color?” – “Five. I’m color-blind.”

“What’s your favorite number?” – “Purple. I’m math-dyslectic.”

“What’s your favorite sport?” – “College.” Another option: “Sex.” (That one, however, may lead to more questions that might alter your intent to stay in conversation).

“What’s your favorite game?” – “Life.”

“What’s your favorite movie?” – “Get Out.” (Potent on those who haven’t seen the movie, but may evoke more enthusiastic discussion from those who loved it, so tread carefully).

“Do you speak any other languages?” – “Only human ones.”

“Where do you come from, originally?” I hear this question a lot when someone detects my accent. When I’m not in the mood of talking about my Russian roots, I respond, “Take your most intelligent guess, one attempt only.” I have a friend who speaks Greek, French, English and a number of other languages she picked up while working and traveling all over the world, who offered another variant – “My mother’s womb.”

“What language do you think in?” – “I don’t.” (see my essay on Thinking and Communicating)

“What’s your favorite book?” – “You mean of the ones I could read?”

“What was your perfect date?” – “Still dreaming of one.”

“How come you are still single?” – “I hate sharing my bathroom and utensils.”

“How old are you?” – “You mean, on my last birthday?” (Pretend to calculate, add 33 years to your real age).

“How many kids do you have?” – “I lost count.”

“Who is your favorite child?” – “The one I never had.”

“What’s your favorite drink?” – “Herbal tea.”

Finally, a couple of friends offered quick conversation finishers for any situation:

“Do you know where the bathroom is?” (Especially if you pretend to really want to pee, barely holding it).

“Sorry, I have to go and pick up my brother. He is getting out of prison this afternoon.”

Please remember that these are meant to be fun, not mean, so use them with discretion. At least smile sincerely when you deliver them.

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About the Creator

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and dystopia under a pen name of my favorite wild cat.

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