Walking Away From a Conversation, Part 1: When to Walk
Staying respectful and rational may be hard when you’re stuck in a debate you’d rather not be having. So in order to have the most productive discourse, we recommend being mindful about whether or not you really want to continue a discussion.
There are several reasons why you may want to walk away from a conversation before an issue has been resolved. Maybe it’s wearing you down mentally. Maybe the other person doesn’t seem to be listening to you. Maybe you got sucked into an argument you never wanted to be having in the first place.
If you find yourself getting frustrated with a conversation, stop and ask yourself: How could this conversation end in a way that you would find satisfying? What are you hoping to accomplish? Is the outcome you’re hoping for a realistic one?
Here are some signs that you’d benefit from stepping back:
- The outcome you’re hoping for isn’t realistic.
- The outcome you’re hoping for isn’t worth the work it would likely take.
- You’re getting sucked in to the point where you don’t feel you’re in complete control of if and how you respond to someone
- You’re neglecting something else that matters to you in order to continue the conversation
- The conversation is making you feel hopeless or hurt.
- You feel frustrated and resentful, and it’s distorting your mental image of the people you disagree with.
If any of these describe your state of mind, it’s a good time to walk away.