Dictionary.com’s Excuses For Leaving Bad Conversations

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Verbal escape hatch

We’ve all been in this situation a thousand times. An old friend (or frenemy) bumps into you on the street, and you’re instantly forced into engaging in some type of conversation, the type of conversation in which you both really have nothing to say because you have nothing in common anymore—and you’d rather be anywhere else, even at the dentist.

With that in mind, we’ve got 10 exquisite Dictionary.com excuses to use when you find yourself in this predicament. A verbal escape hatch, if you will.

Wish I could chat, but I need to call my agent . . .

You’re writing the next great American novel—F. Scott Fitzgerald had a good run, and now it’s your turn. However, you haven’t heard from said agent in about six months, and now would be a good time to check in. As in this very second.

"Whoa, will you look at the time! Gotta scoot, but I will send you a review copy!"

The coffee-house crossword-puzzle meeting starts in 15 minutes!

You’re late to your weekly crossword-puzzle club meeting where each member competes to see who can finish the New York Times crossword puzzle the fastest. It’s a hard-core bunch, too—they do it in ink.

Let’s see . . . Italian word . . . four letters, means “goodbye." Ciao!

They misspelled my name at the DMV . . .

You’ve tried calling. You’ve tried writing. You’ve done everything to fix the problem except going there in person, which we all know is a disaster. But, your last name is misspelled on your license, and you’ve been putting it off for weeks. As we all know, the precision of words is important, especially on something as important as your ID. Now’s, the time to get that fixed. Right now. In the middle of this conversation because you never know when that misspelling will come back to bite you.

(*Best to not show your said misspelled ID to that old friend in case they remember how your name is actually spelled!)

My roommate cheats at Scrabble®!

What’s a 13-letter word for this conversation? U N C O M F O R T A B L E. You suddenly remember (with all of these excuses, timing is everything) about the in-progress Scrabble game you left on the dining-room table. (It was a week ago, but they don’t need to know this.)

Since your roommate is a blatant cheater, you need to get back and make sure nothing’s changed. Stat! (Four points!)

I have to study for the Lexicography final!

This is a good one. Why? It’s the -graphy at the end. You’re a word geek, and we’re word geeks (otherwise neither of us would be here), so we know what lexicography means: "the writing, editing, and compiling of dictionaries." Now, your school may not have such a class, but the beauty here is it sounds like geography, sociology, psychology, so it has to be legit.

They’ll understand. Finals are always arduous. "We’ll catch up soon . . . promise."

I'm late for my volunteer gig: reading to seniors

If this is a scam to wiggle out of an unwanted verbal encounter, try to spin it into something positive. Senior citizens are often in need of companionship, and spending an hour or two each week reading to them from magazines or the latest novel is a nice linguistic way of bonding.

Then, the next time you run into that frenemy, you can truthfully use this excuse and feel, shall we say, superior, too!

I just found out my friend is pregnant!

It may have been auto-correct's fault, but your "old friend" doesn't need to know that. Example: You text your actual friend, "When are you coming over?" She hurriedly taps, "probably by 2." The phone thinks she meant "pregnant by 2." And, you just now saw it!

Yes, that’s cause to run out of that awkward conversation you're currently stuck in to make a frantic phone call in return (even if you knew what she meant).

I've been hit with a palindromy suit . . .

You’ve got to go meet with your attorney about that. The chances are pretty good that "old buddy, old pal" won’t know that a palindrome is actually a word or phrase that is spelled the same way backward and forward, like the word civic or the phrase A Toyota! Race fast, safe car! A Toyota!

However, it sounds like palimony, so we think this one has a shot.

I'm about to be banned from the library!

You love to read. But, you’ve been so busy you forgot to return many of the books you’ve borrowed. Your fine is so large that they’ve printed up "Wanted" posters.

Look desperate (maybe even shed a tear?) when you sell this one, it’ll help.

When in doubt . . .

If you're lucky, and you see that frenemy on the street before they see you, cross to the other side as fast as you can, stick your nose in a book as you walk . . . and you may avoid the conversation all together. No excuses needed!

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