At least 87 percent of casual, small-talk conversations last too long. The problem here is twofold:
• People are afraid to end the conversation and;
• “It’s time to end this talk” hints are ignored.
Do not fear the conversational reaper. All things begin and all things end, including this conversation you are engaged in. And really, chances are that the other person doesn’t want this to go on forever, either.
When you notice the drop-off in the mutual enthusiasm level to below say 50 percent, start to convey your intent for things to end by issuing a somewhat final-sounding statement on the topic at hand, followed by “Anyway …”
For example: “No, totally. Tom is the best! Anyway, it has been just wonderful chatting with you.”
Then, let them acknowledge that they have enjoyed chatting with you, and then say goodbye brightly.