We’ve all been there. And if we’re being honest, we’ve all probably perpetrated it: the bad bar conversation. Maybe things got too political too fast; maybe you inadvertently began—or joined—a round of, “So what’s everyone’s job like these days?” However it happened, it’s clearly a bad conversation. And what’s more, since you’re having it in a bar, everyone’s drunker, uninhibited, and shouting. It’s as if you took Annoying Opinions and dialed them up to 11.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get out of bad bar conversations without seeming too obvious. As in, you’re not giving everyone the middle finger and strutting away. A few of them are common sense—phone call, nature’s call—and a few are a bit bolder. Pick your approach based on your mood and, of course, on how unbearably awful the conversation is.
The Call of Nature
Quite possibly the easiest and most classic way to escape a bad conversation, e.g., “Awww man, I’d love to stay and talk about our various salaries but I’ve gotta use the bathroom.” If you’re a lady, you’ll probably be “lucky” enough to encounter a line—a good thing when you’re trying to eat up some minutes. But the bathroom departure can also be your initial act, not long enough to relieve you of the convo for good unless you want to camp out in there. The Call of Nature gets you out of the immediate circle, at which point you can follow up with number 2. So to speak.
Phone Call. Text. Bitmoji.
Basically the “Oh, I’ve gotta take this.” A bit played, and hard to disguise unless you’re pretty good at it. Since yeah, most people by this point have been on one, if not both, sides of the cell phone/social avoidance equation. Probably not enough time to arrange for a friend to actually call you, so your best bet is to scroll through some text surreptitiously and act as if one is new or just contains super vital/fascinating information you previously overlooked. But yeah, now it’s calling you into action—and out of conversation
Fake a Cig Break.
OK, a hard sell considering you may not smoke (smoking is the root of all evil and all that good stuff). But plenty of us have been out with friends (or simply been those friends) who like a little puff or two after a few drinks. Even if you aren’t one of these people, you can fake it; just make a gesture to your lips, announce you’re “being so bad, but you’re gonna go bum a smoke,” and head outside where nobody is discussing how much they tip their manicurist.
Fake an Ex.
Doesn’t have to be an elaborate fake. It could be a tinder right swipe gone anticlimactic. All you have to do is “see” someone you used to date and freak out, quietly excusing yourself so you can go hide. And everyone else can finish deciding whether or not the new Star Wars took enough narrative risks.
Bring Up Something Unpopular.
A risky move because you may just end up getting embroiled in a conversation you don’t really care about. But if you find yourself desperate to get out of a real monster of a conversation, you can always try to drive people away with your own monstrous topics. One suggestion: declaring your sudden conversion to whatever political party your squad hates.
Don’t actually get drunk, because then you’ll be as good at leaving a conversation as you’d be doing some late-night amateur tattooing. But if you act drunk—just like when you are drunk—your friends will cease to have expectations of you, especially when it comes to making serious contributions to their ridiculously heated debate about Anne Hathaway’s likability.
Buy A Round.
First off, this gives you a ready excuse to actually leave the group, albeit temporarily (you kind of have to act like you were suddenly inspired to great generosity for absolutely no reason). And then there’s the added bonus that when it comes to choosing between free drinks and continuing inane conversations, people typically choose the former. An expensive option, but how much longer do you want to hear your friend recite the finer points of her five-year plan? She’s still on the first three months. And that’s mostly yoga-related.