How can I speed up my good-byes? They’re always so dragged out.
Simply thank your host for a great time and tell her you’re sorry you have to run so soon—again, no explanation necessary. And if she says, “What—you’re leaving already?” Post recommends that your response should be a stalwart-yet-sweet “I know. I’m so sorry I can’t stay. I can’t wait to get together again.” Repeat as necessary. The more confident you are about your exit, the less dramatic and drawn-out it will be.
How early is too early to go home?
“Generally you don’t want to be the first to leave and you don’t want to be the last,” says Smith. It’s customary to stay for the cake or the toast if it’s that kind of party. If you must depart before everyone else, expedite the exit process with a preemptive explanation ahead of time. (“We have to head out at 9 P.M. to relieve the babysitter.”) This will avoid the back-and-forth on the way out.
There’s a sudden mass exodus of guests. Have you missed your window to leave?
Maybe, says Rossi: “Stick it out for another 20 or 30 minutes—it’s the decent thing to do.” And definitely do so if it’s a close friend throwing the shindig. “It’s girlfriend code,” says Rossi. “You’re obliged to hang out longer to help the party have staying power, even if there’s only you and three bores left.”
What is “ghosting,” and can you get away with it?
Ghosting is disappearing from a party without a trace. No “see you soon,” no hand wave, no putting a bug in someone else’s ear to tell the host that you had to run and you’re so sorry you couldn’t say good-bye. “This is never OK,” says Post. “You definitely can’t just ‘peace out’ of a party.” But, acknowledges Rossi, this is sometimes the only way to escape. She says, “You can ghost if you are at a large gathering where you won’t be missed and you know that if you say good-bye, the host will nag you to stay for one more drink.”
Have you overstayed your welcome?
It’s time to call it a night when the host starts putting away the liquor, turning on the lights, or turning off the music. And if you find yourself in this situation, don’t apologize about staying too late, says Smith: “Then the host will feel obligated to reply, ‘No, stay!’ Just say thanks and get out.”