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How to End a Conversation

by Sharon Riley

Ending a conversation can cause many emotions to arise. It could be stressful, anxiety-inducing, relieving, or the most productive decision. If you’re looking to end a conversation, it’s because you are no longer interested in speaking to this person, or perhaps you don’t want the conversation to turn bland, so it’s better to stop talking while things are still fresh.

Two Ways to End a Conversation

Determining which endings you will be choosing is the first step in learning how to end a conversation.

  1. A permanent ending to a conversation. You never want to speak to this person again, at least not in the near future.
  2. Momentary ending to a conversation. You’d like to end the conversation for the time being and the near-immediate future, but you have intentions of talking to them again.

The Importance of Properly Ending Conversations

It’s important to know how to end a conversation because if you are trying to end something, it’s because you no longer want to be in that situation or keep things on a good note. When you continue to do something you are no longer interested in, you will likely not be in the best mood and appear bothered or uninterested.

If you know how to end a conversation before it gets to an uncomfortable point, you save yourself the trouble.

  • Permanently ending the conversation: The way you end the conversation can determine if you have a good or bad relationship with the other person. Ending the conversation on a good note will always be preferable because having bad blood with someone is never going to be beneficial.
  • Momentarily ending the conversation: If you’re only looking to end the conversation momentarily, doing it in a tactical way is ideal. You want to make sure the next conversation will go well.

When Should You End a Conversation?

When to end a conversation.
When to end a conversation.

Knowing when to end a conversation is a very important part of ending it well, and timing is key. If you end a conversation too soon, you might miss out on important parts of it. If you end it too late, you might be in an uncomfortable situation, or it might become increasingly more difficult to end the conversation because too much time has passed.

  • There is no time like the present. If the thought has crossed your mind, it’s time to end the conversation.
  • Maybe you’re having a great conversation, but even good things need balance. Keep things interesting and continue talking another day. 
  • Timing is everything, and confrontation may be something that occurs from the opposite party. If you’re ending a conversation permanently, be prepared to possibly have a conversation about your reasons for ending the conversation, closure may be required. So maybe it’d be a good idea to end the conversation when you have some time to talk about things after ending it, just in case the other person wants to clear things up right after.

Things to Keep in Mind When Ending a Conversation

Things to keep in mind when ending a conversation.
Things to keep in mind when ending a conversation.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when ending a conversation for the best results, be it a permanent end or temporary end to the conversation.

  • Be straightforward. Don’t beat around the bush if you want to permanently end a conversation. This will save you any drama or possible he said/she said moments.
  • End with closure. End with a closure especially if you are permanently ending the conversation. This will allow for this to really be the end. There will likely be another conversation when things are final, and no closure is obtained. To avoid another possible conversation, end with closure.
  • Go into it with a clear idea of what you will say. Practice what you will say to the other person before saying it. If you are ending a text conversation, maybe write out the message you will send and make sure you are getting your point across and being to the point before you send it.
  • Be considerate of how the other person may be feeling. Being considerate is very important if this is a permanent ending to the conversation. You never want to make anyone feel bad, so choosing your words wisely and having a good conversation is a big deal.
  • Always be polite. If it is a permanent ending to a conversation or a temporary ending, it is always important to be polite and kind to others. Especially if you’re only looking to end the conversation temporarily, ending the conversation in a sweet way will guarantee you to have another conversation. No one will want to talk to you again if you’re rude when you say goodbye. And even if it is a permanent ending to a conversation, you should always give your best in any situation.

How to End a Conversation in Person

Ending a conversation in person is probably the most challenging if you want to stop talking to this person permanently. However, if you are only looking to stop talking to this person temporarily, it won’t be so bad.

Permanently Ending a Conversation in Person.

  • Be calm and collected. Keeping your cool is key.
  • Practice what you are going to say. This will help things go smoother.
  • Be clear and concise. Perhaps state the reason you no longer wish to speak to the person.
  • Find an excuse to leave. Maybe it’s getting late, or you rather visit the restroom. Come up with an excuse to have to leave the conversation.
  • Choose a neutral place. Ideally, somewhere where either of you could easily leave if you wanted to.

Temporarily Ending a Conversation in Person.

  • Be inviting to talk again. Since you only want to end the conversation for the time being.
  • Be clear and concise. It is still important to be straightforward because you don’t want the other person to think you never want to speak to them again.
  • Being in a neutral place is a perk. Being in a neutral place is good, but you are likely ending the conversation on good terms, so if it happens to be at the other person’s place, the corresponding person can peacefully leave, no biggy.

How to End a Conversation Over Text

Ending a conversation over text is much easier than ending a conversation in person. Worst-case scenario, after making it clear you want to end the conversation, you can block the person, temporarily mute their notifications, or simply ignore them.

Permanently Ending a Conversation Over Text.

  • Try to keep the message to the point. You don’t want to send a super long text.
  • Keep things brief. While keeping things brief, also make sure to get your point across.

Temporarily Ending a Conversation Over Text.

  • Maybe there doesn’t have to be a grand goodbye since you’ll be speaking again. If the conversation is dying down, find a window of opportunity to stop responding without appearing to be rude.
  • You can always end the conversation by saying, “I look forward to speaking to you in the future,” or “It was nice chatting, we should talk again sometime,” or “I’ll be busy in the near future, but will reach out again when things die down.”.

Key Things to Say When Ending a Conversation

Here are a few ideas of what you can say and things you definitely want to mention during the last conversation you are having with the other person.

Things to Say to Permanently End a Conversation.

It’s important to mention these things, so you create the expectation that you are ending the conversation permanently without having to say “I never want to speak to you ever again,” because let’s be honest, no one really wants to hear that, and you’re going to come off as rude.

  • Nicely, mention that you would appreciate them not reaching out again.
  • Tell them you will likely be distancing yourself.

Things to Say to Temporarily End a Conversation.

Some ideas for temporarily ending a conversation were previously mentioned in the section before. Those are great things to say during a text conversation, phone conversation, or in-person conversation, but here are a few things you should definitely keep in mind.

  • Be welcoming of a follow-up conversation/to talk again soon.
  • Mention why you need to end the conversation for the time being.

Differences Between Ending a Conversation and Ghosting Someone

Hopefully, by now, you have a good understanding of ending a conversation and things to keep in mind when doing so. It’s also important to realize there is a difference between properly ending a conversation and ghosting someone. You really don’t want to be the person ghosting someone, and it just isn’t nice.

And you definitely wouldn’t want to be the one being ghosted, so try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and end the conversation the way you would want someone to end a conversation with you.

Ending a conversation permanently or temporarily:

  • You are providing closure for both parties involved.
  • You are upfront about the situation.

Ghosting someone:

  • You are essentially running away from a situation instead of facing it.
  • It comes off as rude, and as we have established, even if you never want to speak to the other person again, you don’t need to be rude.

Ending Conclusion

First, you should figure out the kind of ending to the conversation you’d like to approach, either permanent or temporary. Once you have that established, you need to establish when the best time to end the conversation will be because you don’t want it to be an overdue ending. Remember to keep in mind key things such as being straightforward, considerate, and polite when ending the conversation.

Try to keep things to the point while still getting your point across. Also, keep in mind that although some conversations can die down, you may simply not reply, which will be how the conversation comes to an end. It’s not the same as ghosting someone. Be sure you choose a proper way to end the conversation and not simply disappear at the wrong time.

About the Author

Sharon Riley Image

Sharon Riley is a very talented junior content creator. She has brilliant topic ideas and content to share with the readers on our platform. She is currently studying communications at USF (University of San Francisco), and in her free time, she enjoys researching and writing relationship-related content. When she's not in class or writing, Sharon loves listening to music, rollerblading, and browsing her social media.