Everyone has had that awkward experience of being trapped in a conversation with someone they would rather not talk to. Whether it’s an overzealous salesperson, an overly friendly neighbor, or a chatty co-worker, there are times when you just want someone to take the hint and move on. However, many people hesitate to be direct, fearing that they will hurt the other person’s feelings.
The only worse scenario than this though is when you’re trapped in your own home, office, or property with someone that just wouldn’t leave. In fact, it can be tricky to know how to politely ask someone to leave, especially if they are a friend or family member.
In reality, though, it is perfectly acceptable to politely ask someone to leave. After all, you are under no obligation to entertain someone who is making you uncomfortable. However, to make the task easier and smoother here are some tips and steps that can help make the process a piece of cake:
Steps to politely ask someone to leave:
1- Be direct about what you want:
First, it is important to be direct and clear about what you want. Be specific in your request, and avoid leaving room for interpretation.
Although it can be difficult to know how to politely ask someone to leave, it is important to be direct in order to avoid any misunderstanding. You might say something like, “I am so sorry to say this, but it may be time for you to leave so I can sleep early tonight, as I have work tomorrow… We can meet again soon or over the weekend though”.
It is also a good idea to be firm and assertive in your body language. You can be apologetic and add little lines like: “I feel so bad having asked this really, I hope you don’t take it the wrong way.” Or you can confirm that you really enjoy their company but that the timing is just bad on this occasion. Either way and regardless of how sweet or kind you want to be about it, the most important thing is to be direct about asking them to leave.
For example, you might stand up and begin walking toward the kitchen, while explaining that you have to start making your dinner or your lunch for work the next day. Then mentioning that you’ll go straight to bed after that. Or if it’s daytime, mention you’ll go run some errands straight away afterward.
In any case, the first and most important step is to clearly and gently ask that the person leaves the premises so that there’s no room for any misunderstanding or misinterpretation. By being clear and concise, you can politely ask them to leave without causing any undue stress, confusion, or conflict.
2- Although direct, be polite and kind too:
Second, try to remain calm and polite, even if the person reacts negatively. It is also helpful to provide a reason for why you need them to leave. For example, you might say that you need some time alone or that you have something else that you need to do, but we will go into this in detail in the next point after this.
For now, focus on the second step which is to be as nice and gentle about it all as possible. Remember, it’s important to sound apologetic. In fact, the more sorry and apologetic you are, the sweeter you will seem to be and the less likely your guest is to get offended.
And, even though you’re asking that person to leave what will stay engraved in their memory is how bad you seemed to have felt about having to do that, rather than the fact that you asked for something similar in the first place.
So with a smile and a few kind words, you should be able to safely get rid of any unwanted guests while making a good impression on them too.
3- Make an excuse:
If you find yourself in an unpleasant situation, simply say something like, “I’m sorry, but I need to go now.” Or, if that’s not enough; make up an excuse or lie about having to do something urgently and immediately. The important thing is to be firm and again: very polite about it. By doing so, you can gracefully exit any situation, without feeling bad.
It can be tricky to know how to politely ask someone to leave, especially if you don’t want to hurt their feelings. However, making an excuse or a white lie can help you make the request in a diplomatic way. You can make an excuse, such as saying that you have another commitment or that something came up. If you’re a person that chooses honesty above all in any situation then you can also try being direct but courteous, such as saying that you need some time alone.
If the person is still not getting the hint, you may need to be blunter and tell them that you want them to leave. Whichever approach you choose, make sure to stay calm and polite throughout the conversation. In the end, keep in mind that making an excuse is not so horrible given the fact that it avoids conflict and stops you from sounding rude or uninviting.
4- Follow through with your excuse:
Finally, if you made up a reason as to why they have to leave and they’re taking time to head to the exit door then be prepared to follow through with your lie or excuse. If the person doesn’t want to leave, you can proceed with starting to do the task that you said you need them to leave for you to be able to do.
For instance, you can start doing whatever it is you said you had to do even in their presence, or leave the room and let them be alone while you say you’re busy getting something done.
In the end, if none of this works, you might need to simply make your voice tone a little more serious and renew the request while looking them in the eyes and waiting for an answer, if necessary. Make it clear that you need them to leave and after they get the hint and start packing their stuff or heading through the door, feel free to say you’re sorry or that you can catch up over the weekend.
Think about checking our article on how to tell someone they talk too much without offending them. Especially as this could help you make your point on how busy and unavailable you are at that specific moment in time.