9 Steps to Escape Awkward Conversations at the Airport Bar

It happens to all of us.  You’re traveling through an airport, have some time to kill or need a few cocktails to ease those flying jitters.  You hit the airport bar, grab a stool and order your drink, but then a fellow traveler strikes up a conversation. If this nightmare happens to you, here’s 9 steps to escape awkward conversations at the airport bar.

Step 1: Avoid Eye Contact

Eye contact signals you’re friendly and you want to talk.  Look at the menu, watch whatever game or news is on TV or take your phone out.  Do anything but look at them.

Step 2: Start texting

Take out your phone (if you have 2 phones or 1 phone and an iPad, all the better). Start intently texting and emailing.  Keep your head down and throw a couple of sighs in there for good measure to show how engrossed you are in your digital conversations.

Step 3: Habla Español?

We live in a global and connected world so time to break out those language skills.  If a stranger sparks up a conversation reply in a foreign language and then Adiós new friend!

Step 4: Take out the Headphones

At your regular neighborhood bar, popping in your headphones would be a bit odd, but is par for the course for travelers in an airport bar.  Plug those headphones in to listen to music or take a call and you’ve got yourself a sound barrier to other travelers.

Step 5: Develop a Sudden Case of Bronchitis

If steps 1 – 4 have failed you time to feign illness.  When you new bar buddy starts talking to you, point at your throat, make a low cough and mutter the words “bronchitis.”

Step 6: Journal

Take out your leather journal or trendy notebook and start jotting down notes.  Look focused and maybe throw a few diagrams to illustrate you’re too busy solving serious business problems or crafting the next great epic poem.

Step 7: Use Food to Assault Their Nose

Don’t forget you’re in a bar that serves food – use all the weapons around you!  Anything with onions, garlic, tuna, eggs or raw fish can be pungent enough to stop any and all conversations.

Step 8: Recruit Them to Join in Your [Insert pyramid scam here]

Do you have $250 for the starter kit and the drive to build networks?  I am sure they don’t either, but invite them to join your “can’t miss” pyramid scheme that’s guaranteed to make them money, but more likely turn them away.

Step 9: Leave!

If none of the above tips has warded off the conversation then go with the simplest solution – leave the bar!  It’s an airport so there’s certain to be another bar not far away with the opportunity for more awkward conversations.

About the author

Terence Morley

Budding workplace humorist, writer, reader, golfer, craft beer fan, native New Yorker and now suburban Jersey dad.

Observer of all humor - intended and not - in the corporate world.

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