Ending an interaction with another human without offending

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ToughDiamond
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28 May 2010, 8:47 am

I was trying to talk with somebody on the phone the other night and the sound was breaking up - the kind of thing where the noise gate is kicking in way too readily and all you hear is the very loudest bits of the speech. And what I could hear was very warbly.

Thing is, it rather shook me. I hadn't been expecting it to happen, it was a relatively new friend and I was already getting a little stage fright, somewhat nervous about the chances of making a blunder and setting everything back after the good start I've made. But I also noticed that I have no script to deal with the situation. Eventually we somehow agreed that we'd best talk another time. I was struggling for a way to suggest that without seeming unfriendly. The poor sound of course made me concerned that any reassurance I gave to counter that risk might not get heard.

I was about to label this thread "anxiety over unclear dialogue," and I do get that, it always seems to throw me like that when I get that bad sound, but then I realised that perhaps the bigger picture here is that after all these years I still have a hard time knowing how to end any kind of interaction with another person.

So my main question is, does anybody else have trouble with social endings, and I'm also interested in people's reactions to bad sound on the coms. Coping strategies welcome.



eon
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28 May 2010, 9:37 am

That's actually a really good question... how do you communicate that you're all done correctly?

One idea is to re-summarize what it was you planned/accomplished during the communication. That usually cues the other party that the purpose for the interaction is fulfilled.

However, some people seem to still want to keep on chatting after you try to do that. I've found mixed results from it.

Another way is to try to make it sound as if you've got to get going due to another task. That's also harder to do, especially politely, unless you really have some kind of task lined up. This is why I never make phone calls unless I have an exit task or a very concrete purpose for the interaction. I do almost all communication via written means, as a result.



Last edited by eon on 28 May 2010, 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianRose
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28 May 2010, 9:52 am

If you find the reception starting to get bad and want to continue the conversation say this:

"The reception on my side is getting bad. I'll hang up and call you right back" The hang up, dial their number and, when they answer, say "Sorry about that, the reception was bad and I wanted to hear what you were saying."

If you are just in a position to desire an end to the conversation, say this:

"I need to attend to some things right now. Would you like me to call you back another time?" (Please note - the "things" you need to attend to are your business alone - it could be as important as putting out an oven fire or as mundane as breathing. If the person wants you to call back, they will say so. If not - they will also say so.

I hope this helps.

If you have other examples where these two scripts won't work - explain them and I'll think of an appropriate thing to say to to the specific example.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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28 May 2010, 11:02 am

eon wrote:
. . . One idea is to re-summarize what it was you planned/accomplished during the communication. That usually cues the other party that the purpose for the interaction is fulfilled.

However, some people seem to still want to keep on chatting after you try to do that. . .

'Okay, yeah, that's pretty neat. Hey, I'm going to need to get going.'

'Yeah, it's be good talking with you, too'

That is, just keep it simple and straightforward. And the thing you summarizing may just be the last thing the person has said. And you're really more acknowledging than summarizing.

And eon is quite correct. Sometimes the person keeps on talking. And you let them, for like 30 seconds or a minute. And then you just basically repeat. 'okay, yeah, listen I am going to need to get going.' And you just do this matter-of-factly. Sometimes it just takes the person a couple of times to get the message. We Aspies certainly do this. One thing that has been a real source of personal growth for me, interestingly, has been to realize that 'normal' people make all kinds of social mistakes, too. I try and give them a break, and I try and give myself a break, too. I don't need to be perfect. That is not the standard. It's more like ping-ponging it back and forth, mistakes and all. And when possible, just 'let the obvious be obvious' (some cool zen, eh?)



ToughDiamond
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28 May 2010, 11:03 am

Thanks folks 8)

CanadianRose wrote:
If you find the reception starting to get bad and want to continue the conversation say this:

"The reception on my side is getting bad. I'll hang up and call you right back" The hang up, dial their number and, when they answer, say "Sorry about that, the reception was bad and I wanted to hear what you were saying."

If you are just in a position to desire an end to the conversation, say this:

"I need to attend to some things right now. Would you like me to call you back another time?" (Please note - the "things" you need to attend to are your business alone - it could be as important as putting out an oven fire or as mundane as breathing. If the person wants you to call back, they will say so. If not - they will also say so.

I hope this helps.

If you have other examples where these two scripts won't work - explain them and I'll think of an appropriate thing to say to to the specific example.


I did manage to call back twice by saying "you're breaking up again, I'll hang up and call back, OK?" but the sound didn't improve.

When the sound is clear enough to do it, I like the idea of citing the next pressing task.......maybe it's worth giving a bit of detail though, as a trust exercise - to me, "I've got to give my rabbit his tetanus shot" is more convincing than "I'm busy."

I also like the idea of summarising the success of the communication, eon. Maybe adding something like "so I guess it's mission accomplished?" at the end would give them a chance to raise any other business. But as you say, it probably doesn't work on everybody.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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28 May 2010, 11:10 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
. . . I did manage to call back twice by saying "you're breaking up again, I'll hang up and call back, OK?" but the sound didn't improve. . .

Then you just call them back the next day. And take a deep breath that they're not going to take offense.

I like things all wrapped up and spelled out. You might get that in medical research (maybe not even in that). But in the everyday flow of life, usually not.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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28 May 2010, 11:30 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
. . . When the sound is clear enough to do it, I like the idea of citing the next pressing task.......maybe it's worth giving a bit of detail though, as a trust exercise . . .

This one I might respectfully disagree with you on. Okay, the fact that I hang out in the libraries long hours, or the fact that I might read a novel, skim a biology textbook, read more of the novel, skim more of the biology textas a preferred study method is highly personal, and may be completely out of left field.

If someone shares 'I really struggle with lab work,' I might share 'I know I really struggled with high school labs. In fact, I didn't take any labs in college,' then I'm sharing the same category. What I'm planning to do later in the day is probably not the same category, and the person may be being overly forward if they want to know.



astaut
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28 May 2010, 11:48 am

With my friends we just say stuff like "well I guess I'll talk to you later, I've go to ____." Sometimes it'll be that I don't feel well or something else. There's just two people that I regularly talk on the phone to, and they will both stay on the phone forever...it's funny cause I'm not used to people wanting to talk that long. One of them practically won't allow me off the phone...I just go with it cause he's nice to talk to :lol:

I have a harder time PMs, texts, things like that. When it feels like I've started asking all the questions, I'm done talking. Sometimes I just quiet answering, which feels rude to me, but I don't know what else to do when I feel like it's a one-sided conversation.



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28 May 2010, 11:50 am

I have a portable land-line telephone in my house. if I feel that I need to end a call and hints to the caller have failed, I go to my front door and press the doorbell.
They usually hear the bell ring and say "You better go and answer the door." I then agree to ring them back if they want.

If I am having a bad phone call, which I did have a few weeks ago when the caller was abusive towards me, I just hang up on them. How dare they invade my peace and quiet at home, abusive callers don`t deserve social niceties.


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28 May 2010, 12:26 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
So my main question is, does anybody else have trouble with social endings, and I'm also interested in people's reactions to bad sound on the coms. Coping strategies welcome.


On the phone, just start a sentence and cut yourself off in the middle of it. Nobody ever believes you would cut yourself off.



Peko
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28 May 2010, 2:23 pm

If its bad reception I'd tell the other person "my reception is bad, you mind if I (switch phones or call you right back)?". Ending conversations, I usually go with either saying I need to go do something or go somewhere to end it and say I'll talk to them later.


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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28 May 2010, 5:12 pm

'Okay. Well, I'm going to need to be going'



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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28 May 2010, 5:25 pm

And this is kind of a soft ending. So if there's anything the person really feels highly motivated to tell you, they can still go ahead and tell you.



katzefrau
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31 May 2010, 1:16 am

i hate scripts and excuses. i go with "i'm out of things to say" or "we have a horrible connection," in which case i either try a second phone call or agree to talk another time.

if someone said to me "i have to go feed my rabbit" and i suspected or found out that was not the case, i would be upset.

i have noticed a lot of people have an "ending phone call" script .. with women it frequently includes a fake giggle with the goodbye, and it irritates me no end.

i have been known to argue with customer service people on the phone who are obviously forced to say something like "how can i provide you with excellent service today?" and cashiers who, after i've scanned my club card or some such, call me by name. i guess to some people that sort of thing is considered polite, but to me it's evidence of being yoked by one's job and forced into a facade of politeness and compliance.

so .. i prefer my awkwardness.


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Robdemanc
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31 May 2010, 11:32 am

I always have trouble ending an interaction with someone. But I don't think that is a rare thing for ordinary people. I hate it if I bump into someone unexpectedly. Especially if I am in a mood. To end interactions I usually cut people short and say "see you soon." Then walk off. People must think I am a *****