How to Graciously End Conversations

What makes for a good conversation? It’s not just about starting well. It’s about ending on a high note so that the other person is eager to enjoy future conversations with us. Here are four easy steps to lead you through how to graciously end conversations without any awkward moments. You’ll leave everyone looking forward to chating with you again and again! 


By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor

How can you end conversations on a high note every time?

How can you confirm for others that you’re a great conversationalist and someone they’ll be happy to talk to again, even if you don’t always (or ever!) feel that conversation is one of your strongest points?

How do you say goodbye and keep the doors wide open for future conversations?

Here you’ll find the four must-know skills you can use in every conversation. Whether you’re talking to a friend, a coworker, a potential client, or someone you’ve just met, these skills will never let you down! By putting these four simple, savvy, sincere tips into practice, you’ll make others glad they had the opportunity to talk with you and eager for your next conversation!

How to Graciously End Conversations

A few lulls in a conversation are natural and shouldn’t make you feel you’re uninteresting or not keeping up your end of the banter. However, when silences begin to seep into every few sentences, it’s time to be proactive and end conversations in a way that leaves the other person still finding you as interesting as when the conversation began!

Please note: In the example below, I’ve used meeting someone for the first time, a mother at your child’s school. However, these four steps will work in any conversation.

The Four Steps for How to Graciously End Conversations

1. Restate something she said, or summarize the discussion. When possible, thank her for sharing some bit of information or news with you.

Why it’s gracious: It shows you’ve been actively listening and you’re interested in what she said. It also reveals any possible miscommunication so that anything that needs restating can be clarified.

As for thanking her, since we all appreciate knowing our words, information, or advice have been of benefit, it’s always kind to take a moment to express your thanks verbally to show her she’s been able to impact you in a positive way (even if just in a little matter).

What you could say: The conversation begins by talking about the books your sixth graders will be reading in literature class this year. Then she tells you about a book she’s just finished. Here’s how you might begin to end the conversation:

“Rebecca, thanks for your recommendation! You made the book sound so suspenseful that I’m going to read it.”

2. Verbally acknowledge that you enjoyed your time with her.

Why it’s gracious: We all wonder about the impression we make on others. When you acknowledge you’ve enjoyed talking with people, they’ll know they made a good impression, they’ll appreciate that you acknowledge it, and they’ll know you have great taste!

What you could say: “It’s been a joy meeting you tonight. I’m so happy you came over and introduced yourself.”

3. Mention the next time you hope to be with her.

Why it’s gracious: It’s more positive reinforcement that you enjoyed her company and that you’re open to future interactions. (When chatting with someone you doubt you’ll ever meet again, of course, leave out this step.)

What you could say: “I look forward to seeing you at the next parent meeting. We’ll compare book notes!”

4. Smile, use her name, and shake hands as you say goodbye.

Why it’s gracious: Using her name frequently in conversation, and especially when saying goodbye, sends the message that you’ve been paying attention, you want to remember her, and you no longer consider her a stranger.

What you could say: “Goodbye, Rebecca. Have a great rest of your evening!”

One more tip: Time can be your enemy. The best goodbyes are brief. Show the other person you know what “goodbye” means and exit within seconds. It’s always good if you leave on the high note of the person wishing you could stay longer!

Four Easy Steps For How to Graciously End Conversations — How It Works When Talking to Anyone

By simply changing the words to fit the person you’re speaking to and the situation, the above four-step formula will work for any conversation. Whether you’re speaking to a co-worker or potential client at work, a new neighbor, or trying to wrap up a conversation on the phone with a relative, vary your tone of voice and your word choice, and you’ll end conversations with the other person eager to talk to you next time.

What’s Next?

Here Are Some Related Posts That Will Provide You With Even More Conversational How-Tos:

How to Start a Great Conversation

Am I a Conversational Downer?

The Top Five Tips for Shining In a Crowded Conversation

Until next time, keep doing what only you can do! Grace your spot in the world by being you at your authentic best!


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How to Graciously End Conversations


Maralee McKee

About Maralee McKee

Maralee McKee is the founder of Manners Mentor. With her best-friend style, sense of humor, and knack for updating etiquette to meet our modern sensibilities, she has been referred to as "Sandra Bullock meets Emily Post!" Maralee shows you how to become the best version of yourself. No fluff. No pretense. Just you at your authentic best! The person you were always meant to be! To learn more about Maralee click on the "Meet Maralee" or "New? Start Here" links at the top of this page.

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