Word or phrase for someone who talks with another person, but obviously looking around for someone more interesting. Like at a party, where my interlocutor is noticeably scanning the room for more interesting/attractive friends

  • 'eager to move on' comes to mind, although this is by no means an phrase reserved specifically for use in social interactions like the one you describe. 'Anxious(ly looking around)' might be applicable as well, depending on the intensity with which he or she is trying to get away from you. Even 'disinterested' could be used to describe the behaviour I guess.
    – Terah
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 16:38
  • I mean.. Who doesn't look for someone more interesting to talk to! I'll call this person bored
    – NVZ
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 5:11
  • 'Have an eye for the main chance' is hypernymic. Commented May 24, 2023 at 9:43

4 Answers 4


It's difficult to nail down the motivation of another person unless you're writing a novel and creating the motivation for the character but a non-accusatory, relatively benign description might simply be distracted or highly distractable.


You're basically describing someone who's bored (from Google)

Feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one's current activity.

...but perhaps a more appropriate expression is what's known as a social butterfly (from vocabulary.com)

A social butterfly is someone who is social or friendly with everyone, flitting from person to person, the way a butterfly might.


A general-purpose phrase is killing time, which means doings something just to keep busy, usually while waiting for something.


That person is attempting to extricate themselves.

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