How to End a Phone Conversation

Sandra Malco

By Sandra Malco

Est. Reading Time: 11 Mins

How to End a Phone Conversation

There are many reasons for wanting to end a phone conversation, and it can be challenging to find the best way to do so without offending the other caller. It’s important to be polite and considerate while firmly sticking to your decision. This article will guide you in ending a phone conversation, regardless of your reasons.

Sometimes, you might feel compelled to end the conversation, but the person you’re speaking with doesn’t understand this and remains persistent. Learning how to end a conversation effectively is both important and useful.

10 Ways to End a Phone Conversation

Person on a phone call.
Ways to end phone chats.

1. Tell them you have to go.

When you want to end a phone conversation, the easiest approach is to let them know you need to leave. This could be because time has slipped away and you have another commitment, or you just recalled something you must do. You don’t need to provide a detailed reason; simply saying, ‘Sorry to cut you off, but I really have to go’ is sufficient.

2. Say you are getting another call.

Lying usually isn’t recommended, but when it comes to ending a phone call you don’t want to continue, it’s often your best bet. It’s an easy way to end the call without overthinking. They can’t tell if you’re actually getting another call, so they’re likely to believe you.

Acting surprised and a little disappointed that you have to take the other call can make it more believable. Remember not to use this excuse too frequently with the same person, as they might catch on. Use it sparingly.

3. Tell them you have things to do.

Let them know you really appreciate the time they spent talking to you, but you have to go, or use any other excuse you can think of. Expressing your appreciation for their time is a nicer way of ending the conversation. They will likely take it as sincere and not mind much that you’re ending the call.

4. Recap what you talked about.

Recaps usually happen at the end of something. Just as you might recap your year before a New Year’s resolution or your time somewhere before leaving, you can recap what you discussed on the phone call to subtly hint it’s coming to an end.

This allows the call to end more naturally, without the caller suspecting you’ve been trying to figure out how to end it. It’s a polite way to conclude the conversation and avoid hurting the caller’s feelings.

5. Start planning your next call.

Even if you’re not planning to talk to them again soon, suggesting a future call can help you end the current one. Avoid meticulously planning the next conversation, as it’s not kind to lead someone on. Instead, casually suggest a future call by saying, ‘We should talk again soon’ or ‘How about we continue this another time’.

These phrases hint at a possible next call without making a firm commitment. You’re not setting a date or time, just indicating a future possibility. This approach often gives the other person a hint that you’re ready to end the current call.

6. Wish them well.

Ending a phone conversation positively without upsetting the other person, especially if they are persistent, can be achieved by wishing them well. Mention something they talked about in the call and express your hopes for its success.

For example, if they mentioned plans to play golf, you could say, ‘I hope you have a great time playing golf, let’s catch up afterward so you can tell me about it’.

This combines planning your next call with wishing them well, which usually signals you’re ready to end the current call.

7. Act like you feel bad for taking up their time.

Make it seem like it’s your fault that you’ve been on the phone for so long or that the conversation hasn’t ended yet. They’ll likely feel bad that you feel this way and will let you end the call.

It’s also a subtle push towards ending the conversation, even if they don’t feel bothered. You can say, ‘I’m so sorry, I just realized we’ve been on the phone for way too long, I didn’t mean to take up so much of your time’.

8. Don’t engage in conversation.

If you don’t want to continue the conversation, avoid engaging too much. You can’t just be silent, but you can start replying with less interest. Make your responses shorter, engage less, and say ‘uh huh’ and ‘yeah’ more than usual.

This will hint that you’re not interested in continuing the conversation, and hopefully, the person on the other end will pick up on this.

9. Tell them you will call them right back.

Find something you need to attend to and tell them you’ll call them right back, but then don’t. It could be anything that needs your full attention or both hands free. Maybe someone is at your door, your pasta is boiling over, or a friend is having an emergency.

Anything you can think of is valid. Hopefully, they’ll forget about the call when you don’t get back to them, and you won’t have to talk to them again if you don’t want to.

10. Make up any believable excuse.

If nothing else works, make up any excuse that seems believable. If saying you’re getting another call didn’t end the conversation, which would be surprising, you can claim your phone is about to die.

Wait a couple of minutes, then hang up. They’ll probably think your phone really died, and you won’t have to answer their calls again if you don’t want to.

Things to Keep in Mind When Ending a Phone Conversation

Smiling woman during a phone call.
What to keep in mind when ending phone calls.

Be polite.

It’s okay to want to end a phone call, but always be polite. Even if you’re eager to hang up, choose a polite excuse and inform them you’re ending the call.

Don’t just abruptly hang up. For instance, if you’re using the low battery excuse, it serves as a subtle warning that the call might soon disconnect.

Don’t second guess yourself.

When ending a phone conversation, don’t second guess yourself. Fully commit to the excuse you’re giving, even if it’s not entirely true. Stay confident and clearly state that you need to attend to something else. If you show any hesitation, your excuse may seem less convincing, and the caller might try to prolong the conversation.

Think about future communication.

Decide if you want to end just this conversation or avoid talking to them again. If you plan to talk in the future, end the call kindly without making them feel ghosted. Leave an opening for future conversations. If you don’t want to talk to them again, be clear and direct in wanting to end the call quickly.

Concluding. It’s perfectly fine to want to end a phone conversation, and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. The key is to end the conversation effectively. Experiment with the various methods we’ve suggested for ending phone calls to find the one that suits you best.

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