The Conversation Lock

The Conversation Lock

Our guest shrink offers tips on escaping awkward conversations


The conversation lock or conlock occurs when you are out socially and get stuck in a painfully boring and awkward conversation with somebody that is nigh on impossible to get out of. The writer witnessed a conlock so severe a few nights back the victim would have had to request people move the chairs they were seated on or step backwards into a garden bed in order to get out out of it. Once freed, the writer overted the severity of the conlock to said individual who ever so gallantly replied: “it was a very academic conversation”.

How to Identify a Conlock

You can tell somebody is in a conlock when they look physically uncomfortable, are looking around at anyone but the person keeping them conlocked or pull out their smart phone. The wandering conlock is that which moves as the conlocker progressively invades the conlockees personal space. People most at risk of being in a conlock are those who are conscious of offending others by prematurely exiting a conversation. This mentality can completely obliterate a night out, especially since polite people also make the best listeners, rendering them extremely vulnerable to conlocks.

We at the Bear have put together some hints for managing conlocks in a way that is likely to preserve your reputation.

How to Get Out of a Conlock

1. Visit the bar and/or bathroom at least once every half hour. This gives you a chance to stretch your legs, get a drink and return to a different seating configuration and subsequently a different conversation. Better still it gives anyone who might be interested in talking to you the chance to get up and chat while casually waiting at the bar. Everyone should adopt this approach to avoid conlocks but in practice it rarely happens.

2. Interrupt the person keeping you conlocked and tell them you have to go to the bar or bathroom. Do not offer to get them a drink for obvious reasons.

3. Take a group photo. If people insist on staying put, tell them the lighting is crap and ask them to stand. This works especially well for congridlocks that require furniture reconfiguration.

How to Get Somebody Else Out of a Conlock

1. Approach the conlockee and tell them you have “something really important” to tell them or that you “need them outside for a minute”. Once they are free you can bask in their gratitude for a moment before resuming your rightful conversations.

2. Start a conversation you know concerns the conlockee and then either shout out to them or ask them to come over to give their opinion or expertise. Alternatively, tell the person you are in a conlock with you want to find out X’s opinion on the matter and walk over to ask them.

Best wishes for avoiding conlocks this festive season!