How it started: Harvard PhD student Adam Mastroianni wondered, “What if we’re all just trapped in conversations we want to end?” How it’s going: an experiment Mastroianni conducted of 932 conversations found not only that the answer to his question is yes, but that there are definitively effective ways to bring such conversations to an end.
- Mastroianni’s studies found that roughly two thirds of participants said they knew there was a point they wanted to end the conversation, but did not. In 10 percent of the conversations, though, people wanted to keep talking, but stopped.
- Mastroianni concluded the issue is a “coordination problem”: no one can tell what the other person wants.
- Two good ways to end conversations: attach the conversation to a time-limited activity, and tell the person you enjoyed the conversation when you end it.