Speaking with others can sometimes be unwanted, whether it is a result of a bad day, general introversion, or trying to remain outside of a conflict. Complete and total avoidance, however, is not always possible, especially with family members or colleagues. Although, whatever the reason and relationship, there are ways to determine how best to go about avoiding speaking with others and reducing conversation to as little as possible.
Method 1 of 3:Avoiding Talking to People Socially
1Pretend to be on your phone. Fake a phone call or appear to be texting when someone approaches you for a social conversation. Pretending to be in the middle of communicating with someone else will deter others from engaging in conversation without being rude.
Try to simulate the phone call or text as best as possible. Avoid eye-contact, pace back and forth, or quickly let the individual you are on a very important call or need to finish an urgent text.
If you are in the middle of an unwanted or awkward conversation, politely say that you need to take a call and step out.
2Make an excuse. Have a few different excuses prepared so that if you are caught in passing or approached unexpectedly you can quickly derail a conversation before it begins.
Saying that you need to run and catch a train is a great and polite excuse to keep moving.
Other excuses, like saying you are late for another appointment or have forgotten something at work are both broad and maintain a sense of urgency.
Enlist the help of friends. If you happen to be in an obligatory social setting have a friend call or text you with information that needs immediate attention.
Say that you have conflicting plans if you are invited to a social gathering.
3Open a book, magazine, or newspaper and start reading. Carrying a book or magazine in your bag will allow you to appear occupied when sitting alone or on public transportation. Not only will you appear busy and unavailable for conversation, but you'll also positively engage in another activity.
4Wear headphones or earbuds whether they're plugged in to anything or not; if not plugged in, the plug only has to be in your pocket. Wearing headphones in public often gives the appearance of being unapproachable, or at least preoccupied. Keeping your headphones on is an efficient and polite way to communicate your unavailability.
Plug your headphones into your mobile phone or mp3 player and put on your favorite album.
Download and listen to a new podcast or audiobook.
5Stay home. Staying home, when possible, is a certain way to avoid conversations that you have no desire to participate in.
Stay home and watch a film, read, cook, or listen to music.
Method 2 of 3:Avoiding Talking to People at School or Work
1Appear to be working or busy with a task. It's not always possible to avoid speaking to others, especially at school or work. Try and simulate being deeply involved in a project or email so that others will feel uncomfortable interrupting.
Type on your computer. Open an already existing document or email to make it appear as though you are deep into a train of thought.
Find objects around your office to keep you busy. Filing documents or making copies are two simple ways to seem preoccupied.
If you are addressed even though you appear to be busy, simply acknowledge their statement and politely excuse yourself to continue working.
Talking or muttering to yourself while walking often signifies being deep in thought and will deter others from interrupting.
Politely excuse yourself by saying that you have a lot of work to do or that you need to get back to work.
2Be honest and direct. You may have many reasons to not engage in conversation at school or work. Politely and directly stating that you do not wish to speak with someone can be an effective way of communicating your unavailability.Trustworthy SourceAssociation for Psychological ScienceNonprofit organization devoted promoting trustworthy research and education in the psychological sciencesGo to source
Say that you are very busy and do not feel like having a conversation.
Statements like, “I'm sorry, I am just not in the mood to have a conversation right now,” or “I feel too preoccupied to have a conversation at the moment” are polite ways to excuse yourself from conversation.
3Engage in individual activities. Not speaking to others does not necessarily mean avoiding social or work environments, nor does it mean passively averting conversation. Try finding hobbies or small routines that you enjoy, as this will help fill the time that otherwise might be occupied by unwanted interaction.
Seek out tasks that might be possible individually. Ask your teacher or supervisor to see if it's possible to work alone if group projects are assigned.
Develop a routine during your breaks or lunch. Seek out the same cafe, go for a quick walk, or browse your favorite bookstore.
Activities like yoga, running, or reading are all done individually, with minimal talking, and have great benefits!
4Send an email or text message. Avoiding talking or speaking to someone does not necessarily mean avoiding communication altogether. Communication can often be necessary and even expected, especially at school or work.
Instead of approaching a supervisor, teacher, or colleague, send them an email. If introversion and the desire not to speak is common, noting that in an email might also help others maintain a considerate distance without creating any unwanted tension.
Send a short text in lieu of speaking. Texts can be particularly effective in maintaining communication without seeming rude or distant.
If you are receiving a phone call and you would prefer not to talk, let the call go to voicemail, reply via text message or email, and resume communication.
Method 3 of 3:Using Other Forms of Communication
1Demonstrate poor body language. If you are trying to avoid speaking to someone, nonverbal communication is key. Having closed off or unreceptive body language is one explicit way to demonstrate your lack of interest and lack of desire for speaking with others.
Slumping your shoulders and caving your chest give the appearance of being unwilling to speak with others.
Avoid making eye contact.
Crossing your arms and twirling your fingers can be a sign of preoccupation or nervousness.
Position you feet away from others to indicate you are uninterested in conversation.
2Make a polite exit. There are many ways to leave a conversation without pretending to be preoccupied beforehand. If someone approaches you to engage a conversation, briefly entertain them before making an exit.
Say that you need to finish a project or are late to meet a friend.
A smile and wave can politely communicate your exit if a few people are already in conversation.
3Avoid interaction altogether. Remain distant from any interaction, whether that be a social gathering, a conversational breakroom at work, or a casual outing in public. Although not always polite, ignoring others and remaining distant is a sure way to avoid conversation.
Making alterations to your schedule to arrive in places when they are least occupied will decrease the chance of talking with others.
Avoid crowds or groups of others already in conversation by walking quickly by them or in an opposite direction.