Back in the day, my friends and I had an established way of asking for help in tricky social situations. If we were out at a bar, for example, or at a party, and one of us began engaging in conversation with someone we weren’t interested in, we’d throw out a look that meant we needed to be “saved.”
Later, when online dating became a regular part of our lives, we’d often ask each other to send a text or call at some point during the evening, so that if the date was going really terribly, we could excuse ourselves to attend to whatever emergency our friend had made up (I’m locked out! My car got towed!).
It worked, but there were limitations: For one thing, our acting as one another’s “savior” only ever really worked in social settings, and secondly, it required relying on an actual person’s availability and memory. And that’s not really useful for all the other times you need a reason to make a quick exit.
Enter the technological answer: the Chelsea Handler: Gotta Go! app. The actress and comedian recently devised and launched the excuse-making app, and its functionality is actually pretty genius—even if its usefulness remains questionable.
You can program the app so that it’ll send you a text—or even call you—when needed. Fortune reports that with the phone option, “you’re greeted with pre-recorded message from Handler with instructions to help you act out your emergency.”
And the excuses aren’t just meant for getting you out of bad dates. In fact, the possibilities are endless when it comes to exiting awkward networking conversations, bowing out of work meetings that you don’t really have any business being at, and tearing yourself away from office happy hours where you can’t seem to make a break from a droning co-worker who’s had one too many.
While some of the pre-determined options are ridiculous—Spot is missing! Can you help me find him?—others are decidedly more believable and, therefore, may not produce laughter upon receipt. With that said, there’s definitely a catch when using this in the office: If you do leave “to pick up a stranded friend” or “let your partner into the apartment,” you’re making it harder for yourself to leave on days when you really need to. At some point your boss will look at you and suggest that perhaps, it’s time for your partner to invest in a spare set of keys. Fortunately, because the app lets you choose your own excuses, you can opt for the messages that simply involve stepping out the of the room to “make an urgent call.”
Just remember, that as handy as this app may end up being, if you’re regularly attending a meeting that feels so unproductive you need to get out it, or if you’re finding yourself stuck in bad conversations a lot, it might be time to have a conversation with your manager or evaluate your own networking strategy and conversation skills.
But, until it comes to that, have fun testing this out in the office, at an industry event, or even at your significant other’s annual company dinner, where neither of you wants to be blamed for the early exit.
Let me know how it goes on Twitter.