After dealing with a number of guys who talk at me nonstop for minutes without any effort to make the conversation reciprocal, I've learned one crucial thing: You don't have to be polite to people who are being rude to you. You don't have to indulge people who are treating you like an audience for their monologues. In a subtle way, they're using you, and it's fine to let them know you're not OK with being used.
Similarly, if people are asking for help or company you don't have the time to give, it shouldn't be on you to accommodate them or let them down easy. Every ethical interaction — sexual or not — requires the consent of both parties, so if you don't consent, it's not OK for them to pressure you into something.
But rejecting people's requests for your time is easier said than done, and even though it's not necessary, being polite can make some people more comfortable doing it. Here are some strategies for defending your time from people who feel entitled to it.