How to Say Goodbye at a Party

Last year, we threw a holiday party, and fifty friends squeezed into our teeny apartment. We drank sparking wine, ate kettle chips and climbed onto the fire escape to tell stories. Everything was going well, but then something started happening…

For the entire second half of the party, polite friends kept coming up to say goodbye as they put on their coats and wished us a happy rest-of-the-weekend. For the entire second half of the party, most of our conversations were goodbyes. Finally I turned to Alex, perplexed, and asked, “Why is everyone leaving?” And he pointed out that dozens of people were still there; it just felt like a mass exodus because we were consumed with saying goodbye to every single person who was heading home. It felt like the party was over halfway through.

The next morning, we made a decision: We would never say goodbye to the hosts of parties. We would simply slip out the door.

“Goodbyes are, by their very nature, at least a mild bummer,” agrees Seth Stevenson in this Slate post, and he encourages people to leave parties without saying goodbye. What if your friends wonder where you’ve gone? “This is key,” he says, “They probably won’t even notice that you’ve left.” You can then send a thank-you email to the hosts the next morning.

Would you do this? Do you already? Or do you think it’s rude? Would love to hear your thoughts…

(Via Kottke)

  1. In my city it would be very very rude to not say a fast goodby and thanks. You also need to send a thank you note the next day.

  2. This is such an interesting (and liberating) idea!! I think I want to bring a little pre-written “thank you” note to the next party I attend and just stick it on the fridge instead of saying a bi round of goodbyes.

    • Perhaps leaving a big dry-erase board in the kitchen that says, “Goodbye Board” on it that everyone can sign off on when they go! ;)

  3. Ghosting! Love it! I think it’s a nice idea to mention it earlier, possibly even upon your arrival greeting…you get an opportunity to show gratitude [and, obviously I hope, you would get to spend some quality time with your hosts at some point during the evening] but it doesn’t grind things to a halt when you have to jet.

  4. Personally I don’t really think it’s an issue of how anyone feels about it, it’s just bad manners to leave without a goodbye unless you know your hosts well enough to get away with it. I wouldn’t be offended if someone left a party I hosted, but I would worry that they had gotten sick or something. If you can’t stay very long, I would mention it to your host on arrival that you will be slipping out early.

    However, with large parties (50+), hosts aren’t likely to notice if you slip out.

  5. Haha, I always say goodbye at parties but never thought about what you just wrote. Is this what people think when I day goodbye? Hmm, but if I snuck out I feel rude not to say goodbye. Hmmm, maybe I should not go to the party at all. Just kidding! I think my friends don’t care since we’re from Europe: we just say bye and that’s it. Quick & dirty.


  6. My mom is (in)famous for that. I’ve decided that it’s genius.

  7. I think it would be rude to slip out without saying anything to the host. At least if I were hosting and someone did that, I would think “were they bored, was there a conflict, etc? The host invites you, it’s good to be polite, thank them and then leave.

  8. I think totally fine for a big party, unless it’s a really close friend. Then I make sure to say goodbye.

  9. I love the goodbye – it’s a great opportunity to have a conversation with someone if you haven’t been able to yet. I’ve given up trying to make it quick. In my family (the Mexican Goodbye!) takes at least 30m anyway, so everyone knows to start in advance. I wouldn’t dream of leaving a family party without a goodbye, but I’ve done this at friends’ or work parties.

  10. A. I always slip out, I don’t think it’s rude.
    B. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Madmen!

  11. Love these comments. I’ve left gatherings without a word to the honorees (birthday people, bride and groom, etc.) but never leave without thanking the host or hostess. And I always follow up with a written note, even if it was just a small gathering.

  12. I totally would do the quick slip out of a party, but I fear that the host would find it rude (after all, as a host I probably would be saying “they left and didn’t even say bye????”).
    But also, what about giving an end time to a party instead of a “from 6pm-whenever”, that way if guests know that the party is from 6-9pm, they can stay the entire duration knowing they are relieved at 9pm. And those who want to stay for the after-party totally can :)

  13. I think this is a great idea for bigger parties, like the one your hosted. Although it would be impossible for smaller gatherings. I like the suggestion of sending an email the next day to thank the host.

  14. Mindy Kaling wrote about this in her book – she dubbed it the “Irish exit.” I’ve always just slipped out, and always sent a thank you e-mail or note to the host the next day!

  15. I just had this conundrum! I attended a party of a classmate and we left first, but by that point everyone was drunk and the host was nowhere to be found. I’ve decided to compliment him the next time I see him, but it’s so awkward because we aren’t close or run in the same circles.

  16. I have thrown parties and at some point noticed certain people weren’t there any longer…and thought, hey, they didn’t even say goodbye!” So I always say goodbye.

  17. I ghost exit 100% of the time. For me, it’s awkward and rude to ask someone to pay attention to me saying goodbye. A note the next day is perfect, or text. I usually tell someone I’ll be needing to leave soon, just in passing. Bottom line: don’t soak up social time with goodbyes.

    Great post …. cheers

  18. We call it the ‘Slip Out Technique’ or ‘doing a Phantom’…it feels a bit rude sometimes but has to be done!

  19. I like to say goodbye most of the time. If the host is busy or in a middle of convo then I will send a text after leaving. I just like the person to know that I had a good time and give my thanks.

  20. If I’m leaving a large party that is still in full swing, I think it’s fine to just catch the eye of the host and wave/mouth ‘thank you’ from across the room — then you’re at least acknowledging that you’re leaving, but not interrupting their enjoyment of the party.

  21. I think hugs and promises to get together again are necessary to keep the friendships going. Sometimes that’s the only one-on-one contact you get with the host. Unless you see each other all the time I say use this moment to get your endorphins going and your ego boosted. But don’t do it just to be polite. That’s lame and not worth the time. Get in their with a big hug, thanks, or silly joke.

  22. I think it depends on the size of the event. If it was a large wedding and the bride would obviously not notice you left, then it’s OK. But if it was a holiday gathering and your absence would eventually be noticed, then I think it’s polite to say that you’re leaving. What if you wanted to tell them something or give them a gift? Or maybe you wanted to catch up on something but didn’t know they would be leaving so soon? I don’t know… escaping just makes it seem like you weren’t having a good time and don’t like the people. I don’t like good-byes but I always like giving a big hug and figuring out a time to catch up again.

  23. WOAH – totally mind blown! I’ve quite traditional with manners and such and feel like it would be rude to NOT say goodbye and thank you to the host, but when put into this light it does seem like a downer. I love the idea of slipping out IF the party is quite large and IF you do send a note/text of thanks the next day.

    Might need to start this method, especially with the holiday party invites starting to hit my inbox!


  24. I love your idea. I generally don’t like good-byes of any kind so this is perfect. In our travels we always say “See ya on the road.” rather than good-bye.

  25. apparently its called an Irish goodbye, as we all do it over here !!

  26. I have been known to do this in my own house (but only when my boyfriend is hosting his friends)!

  27. I have been known to do this in my own house (but only when my boyfriend is hosting his friends)!

  28. I love this idea — slipping away quietly! But I must tell you I’ve done this several times and incurred the WRATH of my friends for not saying goodbye. I guess it’s such an individual preference.
    By the way I love your blog and follow it daily! I was thrilled to read of everyone’s personality type, and to see so many similar types (I’m an INFP!)

  29. i also slip out unnoticed… for some reason i have always called it the Irish Goodbye! after reading this post though i thought about how sneaky and sweet it would be to leave them a little hand written note in a place where they would find it either that night or in the morning. might be super sneaky with a dash of good “broughtsy upsy” as we like to say in my (enormous, buggy) family.

    • i meant HUGGY family! not buggy… although??

  30. I’m French Canadian and it is IMPOSSIBLE to leave a family function without kissing everyone on both cheeks. It would be so rude not to do so, so unfortunately I can’t do it at family parties, but I might try it at a non-family party :) I would just send a thank you note/email/text the next day to let the host know I appreciated the party.

  31. I have being doing this for years! Easier not to draw attention to the fact you are leaving early/wasting party time with goodbyes!

    • Family parties are different for sure, no escaping there :)

  32. It would be a lot easier to slip out unnoticed. Unfortunately when it is time to leave family gatherings and to say goodbye it is turned into an event because the hosts don’t want you to leave, so they will drag it out. Just trying to get out takes half an hour… So you’re probably right, not saying goodbye is key.

  33. I completely agree!!! I personally think it is a bit selfish to go around and say goodbye to everyone, interrupting their conversations and drawing attention to yourself. I prefer the ‘irish goodbye’, ducking out and then sending a thank you text later :)

  34. We like to slip away with a little wave at the host. It is just easier once we have made up our mind to leave. Family get togethers are a little different. I used to resent the having to say good by to each member etc but with time’s passages, I would give anything to be able to say goodby and hug some of those people again.

  35. Oh gosh, how I wish we could do this! Hugging every single person before we leave the in-laws can be a 20 min affair. Sometimes I just prefer the “big wave” goodbye to the whole room, lol.

  36. I think it cues the others that might be time to go too! .I have a friend who never lets me help with clean-up or dishes as she waits till morning. She says “cleaning” signals the party’s over.

  37. this is brilliant! a thank you note the next day seems more personal than an awkward or hurried goodbye anyway!

  38. Very interesting. I always say goodbye and thank you before I leave a friends holiday party, but for family it does take a longer process as I say goodbye to not only the hosts, but family members. But I do like the “slip out” idea.

  39. I like the idea of trying to catch the host/hostess eyes from across the room and wave good-bye/blow a kiss. That way if they want to come say good-bye they can or they can continue with what they are doing and just wave back. (plus- if you can’t seem to make eye contact with them, than they are obviously having a fine time and won’t be bothered by you leaving).

  40. I’ve thrown big (+120) and little parties and I’m not ever bummed when someone comes to say goodbye. Some times, if the party is big, it’s the only chance you get to spend a few good minutes with somone and I would rather have those few minutes then none at all.

    As for myself, when saying goodbye I like to share with the host/hostess how much fun I had and to pls do it again. I think it’s rude not to show my appreciation for all the hard work that went into the planning and execution of the party.

  41. I kind of love this idea. I don’t think it would work with my culture’s etiquette, but I do see the value…when we were kids even saying goodbye at a big family dinner took at least an hour, which is totally absurd.

  42. We sneak out all the But, usually, we will tell the people we have been talking to that we are heading out. I did laugh at people who left their own party because I am “known” for doing that… I will slip off and go to bed sometimes when we have people over (usually just family..haha). I actually am a bit of an introvert and after a certain point, I have to get out of there…

  43. I’ve been “ghosting” for a long while now… first it started out of social anxiety… the longer my goodbyes lasted, the more panicked I would feel, and second, once you say “good-bye”, other people look around and wonder if they should also leave. So I don’t want to be an exodus-instigator. Just leave! When you’ve hit a wall, you’ve hit a wall, go home and don’t be a nuisance with your endless good-byeing! On a similar note, if you can’t attend someone’s Facebook invite, don’t write on the invite’s wall about how you’re sorry you can’t go. Just decline and say nothing. Otherwise the whole event is soured by “sorry” “aw wish I could go I’m out of town” etc. Brings the whole mood down.

  44. this post is really interesting and shows a lot of culture differences.
    leaving without saying goodbye would be totally unacceptable in Switzerland. saying goodbye is a ritual, you first indicate that you might want to leave and then the host will pressure you into staying and it always takes forever until people have finally left. but this is normal for us. my cousin’s boyfriend who’s American thought it was strange how much time we take to say good bye at family gatherings… :)

  45. I’ve been “ghosting” for a long while now… first it started out of social anxiety… the longer my goodbyes lasted, the more panicked I would feel, and second, once you say “good-bye”, other people look around and wonder if they should also leave. So I don’t want to be an exodus-instigator. Just leave! When you’ve hit a wall, you’ve hit a wall, go home and don’t be a nuisance with your endless good-byeing! On a similar note, if you can’t attend someone’s Facebook invite, don’t write on the invite’s wall about how you’re sorry you can’t go. Just decline and say nothing. Otherwise the whole event is soured by “sorry” “aw wish I could go I’m out of town” etc. Brings the whole mood down.

  46. I host get-togethers A LOT and would be really annoyed if friends did this; it may be I didn’t even get to see them yet or maybe they were just feeling shy and I could have introduced them to some people so they could have a good time.

  47. I love this tip. I usually make sure that I talk to the host when I arrive and thank them some time throughout the party so that I can leave without causing a scene or putting any pressure on the host.


  48. love this idea! especially because of the “long minnesota goodbye” which makes it impossible to actually leave when you plan to. it takes 20+ minutes to actually leave and you sometimes have entire conversations that start AFTER you’ve said you’re leaving! i always want to sneak out but my husband wants to say his goodbyes.

  49. I don’t think that is rude at all! It seems that I am often the first person who needs to leave (sad, I know) but I will often text the host the next morning to say thanks. I don’t like leaving in the middle and interrupting everyone. I would never want to dampen the party’s spirit!!!

  50. In my husband’s family this is absolutely culturally inappropriate. Saying goodbye before midnight is unacceptable and if it is before 2 am you need to have a legitimate excuse. Then, when you are leaving, you must say goodbye to each and every person at the party, even if you don’t know who they are! I absolutely hate it and I have the hardest time with this every time we go to a Colombian party.

    I believe that slipping out without saying goodbye/thank you to the host is rude but seriously, all 75 people in the house, give me a break. This was actually the root of many arguments at the beginning of our marriage but we found a way to make it work, I always make plans for the morning after the party and then I usually leave around midnight and say goodbye to the few people I know. Then, sometime between 2a-3a then my husband makes his rounds and and gets a taxi home. (Trust me, at 3a there are still about 25 people left – even children!)

  51. Wow, I can honestly say it has never entered my mind not to say thank you before leaving a party. It just seems incredibly rude. I keep it short and sweet, but really is it such a bother as a host to accept a thank you from your guests?

  52. Friends seem to be fine with it, but family are not…at least that’s how it works with me. Work parties pretty much demand a sly exit.

    I say do what works best for you and your crew, and I’m sure it’ll be just fine!

  53. I am and always will be a person who waits until no one’s looking and slips away. Then I’m not bombarded with “Noooo, don’t go!!!” I can leave when I want to without feeling guilty. Unless it’s a family get together or a friend I wont’ see for a very long time, it’s best to make a quick getaway!

  54. as someone who comes from a GIGANTIC 100% irish family, i’m not sure how the irish got branded at being good at slipping away from parties…in my family we hug goodbye for about an hour, and if someone leaves without saying goodbye, it’s NOTICED haha! however, i really like this idea, and i think i will try to make it stick. my husband will thank me at least!

  55. I’m with you – I really hate goodbyes, and at a good-sized party, I think a wave and murmured ‘thanks!’ from the door is plenty. (As a host, I hate goodbyes even more!) I also came from a family that took an hour to say goodbye, and I just detest it. Smaller parties have different rules, of course, but that’s alright.

  56. It seems rude to do it, but i think that writer is correct, no one notices! And usually they’ve had a few drinks and…don’t remember anyways.
    I can’t stand having to leave early (usually because we have a babysitter that needs us to come home at a decent hour!) and doing that awkward exit where everyone kind of stops and says a mediocre goodbye and no one understands why you have to leave and you seem like the bummer guest!
    I think my husband would be all for taking off silently. I like the idea of a thank you text or email the next morning.

  57. Great idea for big parties. We have 50+ friends coming for holiday drinks in a few weeks time. I hope they all slip out quietly when they leave individually or couples, or make a big noisey exit when a few depart at the same time! No quietly hanging around trying to say goodbye when conversations are flowing and everyone is having fun.

  58. My family and certain friends HATE it but my husband and I always slip out. It’s not like we aren’t going to call and tell them what a wonderful time we had! I just figured that kind of thing is best saved for the next day and not while the even is still happening…

  59. In Spain we call this “the french goodbye”, “irse a la francesa”!!!

  60. It KILLS my husband to do this, but I absolutely slip out unnoticed at every opportunity. Part of it is that I hate parties and try to escape early, and part of it is that I just don’t feel like saying goodbyes for 30 minutes (like I was brought up to do). I actually slipped out this summer and my dad followed suit. Guess I know where I get it from!

  61. I’m so glad to hear slipping out without saying good bye is acceptable – totally my style – and now I can slip out without guilt!

  62. I generally go for the Irish exit at big functions. Smaller functions I feel obligated to say goodbye because then everyone watched you leave.

  63. People in my circle call this “Pulling a Stephanie.”

  64. This is an interesting idea.

    After reading the comments from people who definitely want to say good and those who definitely don’t, I think it depends on the host(s). I would absolutely say goodbye to the hosts if they were my closest friends, or else leaving would seem rude. And close friends saying goodbye wouldn’t be a let down, especially when you’ll see your friends again soon.

    It’s the goodbyes to hosts you know less well that are sometimes awkward. You don’t know what to say or if you should hug them, so slipping out unnoticed would probably be best.

    Thanks for sharing your insight, Joanna.

  65. I am all for this in most situations. Family gatherings would not work for me, or when it is someone I will not see for a long time afterwards. Otherwise, I completely agree! Ghost it up.

  66. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to such a large type of party but I really like this mentality. You’re right, good-byes do bring you down.

    Recalling my wedding lots of people left but no one was taking time to say good-bye, and I was ok with that. We kept on partying.

    Awesome tip and topic!

  67. Someone mentioned the “Irish goodbye” in an earlier comment, which is something I am known to do: slip away quietly from the party, usually because I’ve hit a wall (tired or tipsy or both). It’s easier to leave this way than to have the dragged out goodbye and people asking why I’m leaving or suggesting I stay longer. I know when it’s time to leave. And the next day, I send a thank you.

  68. SJ says...

    You could leave a chalkboard by the front door and encourage guests to “sign out” so they don’t have to make the rounds when they want to go

    • Awesome idea!

  69. If it’s a really good friend, I just leave. i know they won’t care.
    If it’s someone I am close with but don’t see as much, I try to give them a little wave as I leave. Nothing big, not pulling them away from anything. If they want to come say goodbye, they are able.
    if it’s someone I never get to see, i go and hug them.

  70. I suppose it depends on the size of the party being thrown. For a big wedding reception I would say to just slip out but if the whole party can fit in a New York City apartment, I think a quick goodbye and thank you would be more polite.

  71. you are obviously not french, for that would be the height of rude!

  72. What a great tip! Never thought of this and will definitely implement. THANKS Joanna!

  73. I can’t even imagine not saying thank you. So rude. I don’t think I’d invite you again if you left without saying good bye.

  74. Brilliant! This was the WORST at our wedding! Especially because we’d sort of made a point to say hello to parents’ friends and elders first at the reception, and then those were the same folks who left first and all came to say goodbye. We were finally getting to all of our friends when it began!

  75. I’ve also noticed that sometimes when too many people make a big production out of leaving, other party-goers see it and interpret it as “Oh, people are starting to leave now, I guess it’s time for me to go, too.” Then it goes from just a couple of people slipping away to a mass exodus, even if the party was going strong otherwise. If you can leave discreetly without drawing excessive attention to yourself, it doesn’t interrupt the hosts or the other guests.

    • I was waiting for someone to bring this up! It can totally plant the ‘exiting’ seed in other people’s minds and ruin the party’s momentum. I think I’d say goodbye if I thought I might not see the host again (or for years, like at a wedding), but for coworkers/friends, I think exiting ninja-style is fine.

  76. I always prefer doing this. The key is to make sure that as soon as you ARRIVE, you go straight to the host/hostess to get a few minutes of face time and thank them in advance for having you over.
    I, too, remember that pit-of-your-stomach dread that comes with being right in the thick of celebrating at your wedding and having someone come up and say they have to leave. I remember thinking in my head, “what?! is it already almost over??” But alas, there were still hours to go, the guest just had a very long drive ahead of them.
    Regarding people saying they’d be worried a guest wasn’t having a good time if they left without saying goodbye….I’d rather an unhappy guest feel comfortable leaving unnoticed than to feel obligated to stay for fear of ruining the vibe.

  77. I’m going to show this post to my husband – he is extremely polite and would never leave a party without saying bye and thank you to the host, whereas I am more reserved and always find goodbyes awkward so my tendency is to want to slip away. I like the idea of sending a thank you in the morning (or a real handwritten note!) as a compromise.

  78. I’m going to show this post to my husband – he is extremely polite and would never leave a party without saying bye and thank you to the host, whereas I am more reserved and always find goodbyes awkward so my tendency is to want to slip away. I like the idea of sending a thank you in the morning (or a real handwritten note!) as a compromise.

  79. At a large party like that, I rarely say good-bye. I agree that it puts a damper on the festive mood of the hosts as well as the remaining guests. As a guest I appreciate the ‘slip out’ and do it often. What I believe are really missing in party etiquette is the hostess gift and thank you note.

  80. My husband and I always do this. We call it the “ninja smoke.” Byeeeeeeeeee.

  81. I never thought of this and would always say goodbye to our hosts until our wedding. Several friends pulled the Irish Goodbye on us that night (probably because of the 6-hour open bar…) We didn’t notice until the very end of the party, and at first i was kind of upset, but then I realized they’d done us a huge favor of not distracting us or like you say – bumming us out. From now on at bigger parties, we’re ghosting!

  82. I always do so, because a single goodbye can lead to millions of hugs, byes and explanations, future meet up plans and there you are, all sweating in your coat in the middle of the party. Felt kinda guilty though.
    Ha, not anymore!

  83. I’m always so disappointed when guests leave my parties without saying goodbye! It might be a bummer to say goodbye, but when someone leaves without notifying me, I feel like they didn’t enjoy themselves enough to take a moment and make their exit known. Or maybe they didn’t feel like they were important enough in my life for me to miss them? It’s hard to articulate, but I think goodbyes are important.

  84. We call it a Ninja Bomb! We only do it at larger events, but make sure to call and say thank you the next day. Cold also be nice to leave a card on the fridge maybe? So they discover it later?

  85. Personally, I have always thought good byes a bit selfish- interrupting peoples conversations to announce (special) you are leaving never felt right. When you are at someones party it’s pretty understood that you will see them again, no? My husband and I call it the Irish goodbye (slipping out the door) Thanks for sharing!

  86. Irish exit! Works every time.

  87. We call it a Ninja Bomb! We only do it at larger events, but make sure to call and say thank you the next day. Cold also be nice to leave a card on the fridge maybe? So they discover it later?

  88. Never actually thought about it like this, but it totally makes sense. I think I will be switching to following up with a text or email in the future. Thanks!

  89. it depends, a little bit–at a seated dinner party of like, 12 people, I think it might be very strange to just leave, but if it’s a mill-around-and-nosh kind of party, i think coming & going is totally expected.

  90. i have slipped out without saying goodbye before and felt like a heel. but it doesn’t deter me enough to not do it.

  91. Never thought of this before, but makes sense! Will slip out & send thank you email the next day :)

  92. We always leave without saying goodbye for this exact reason.

    To thank the host for the party, at some point during the party I make sure to have a conversation with them in which I thank them for hosting us and say something like “this is such a great party, we’re having so much fun, I’m so happy to see you, thank you so much for having us over!” I personally love the present tense-ness of this kind of exchange versus the sometimes perfunctory-feeling thank you’s at the end of the night.

  93. I live for the Irish Goodbye!

  94. I love how every nation has their own term for it. In German it is called “Polish leave” (Polnischer Abgang) and I am notoriously known for choosing this way of exit. :)

  95. It depends on the event but I usually just sneak out. This is a bit of a different situation but this past Halloween I went to say good bye to our party’s hostess and her response to me was “ok” and she went to talk to other people… I think I am going to stick with my “Irish goodbyes”.

  96. My husband and I just quietly slip out. We’re known as the Houdinis for it.

    • Why don’t people call this “The Batman”? He’s been doing it to Commissioner Gordon for decades…

  97. I call this an “Irish exit” and it’s my jam.

  98. In Minnesota, we have extremely long goodbyes. I’d like to skip them all together and just say, “see ya” but people find it rude. I always slip out of parties because I don’t want to disturb the host. I wish we could do this in other areas of life too….most of the time we need to get the goodbyes started here about 45 minutes before the actual exit. I find that quite ridiculous.

    • Oh the Minnesota good-bye… I fear our 18 month old has already fallen into this trap. I definitely start our good-byes early because it always takes forever to actually leave. I love the idea of just slipping out and sending a thank-you email or text the next day.

    • Lol I’m so glad you feel my pain! Can’t we just say goodbye and get out?

  99. I disagree. As a host, I would love to say goodbye and chat with them for a few mins before they leave. It makes me feel good when I hear that they had a good time at my party. if they left without saying goodbye, i would they they had an emergence or maybe they found me too busy that they could not even say a good bye properly.

  100. In Minnesota, we have extremely long goodbyes. I’d like to skip them all together and just say, “see ya” but people find it rude. I always slip out of parties because I don’t want to disturb the host. I wish we could do this in other areas of life too….most of the time we need to get the goodbyes started here about 45 minutes before the actual exit. I find that quite ridiculous.

  101. I personally couldn’t do this. As a host I would feel terrible that they didn’t think highly enough of the party or our friendship to say a quick good-bye or thank you. It seems extremely rude. And as a guest, I would feel the same way – it’s ungrateful. I can definitely see this working in some cultures, but not in my area. :-)

  102. I think this is a great point – I’ve always felt awkward saying goodbye at parties. I usually send a text later in the evening with something to the effect of “I had a great time! Thanks!” Then they can see and respond when they have time, and I don’t feel like I’m taking away from their conversation time.

  103. Most of my friends have learned to just slip away with maybe a wave across the room, otherwise I convince them to stay for another drink (I am very persuasive). I hate it when people line up to interrupt your conversation just to say goodbye. Just holler goodbye and don’t ruin the party for the rest of us!

    In short, I am in agreement.

  104. I can’t get on board with this! I would feel so rude leaving without saying goodbye to the host, unless it was a huge party like a wedding or something. I would definitely be miffed if someone came to a party I threw and then didn’t say goodbye. I do agree that goodbyes can be long and drawn out (especially at family functions when you have to make the rounds to EVERYONE). But I think it’s important!

  105. Very interesting post. My husband is a HUGE fans of saying goodbye and thanking the host(s) for thinking to invite us to the special occassion. I am a fan of slipping out quietly. I think saying goodbye takes the host(s) away from their guests at that moment. A phone call the next morning to say ‘thanks’ and ‘great party last night’ is sufficient, I think.

    • We are the same way! I’m a big fan of slipping out. My husband thinks we have to say goodbye to EVERYONE, especially the hosts… which obviously takes forever. I secretly think it’s his way of extending the evening (I’m always the one who wants to leave first). But I always call/text/email in the morning to see how the night ended and thank the hosts. I think I’ll pass along this post to him and see what he thinks.

  106. My husband and I do this at larger events for sure. We call it “Houdini-ing” or “Houdini-ing out.”

  107. Always just slip away… seems so less intrusive….I usually call or e-mail within the next couple of days.

  108. I totally embrace the ghost goodbye! Goodbyes are never fun and they take the host’s attention away from the people who get/want to stay. I always send a note or text the next day to thank them and apologize for slipping out.

  109. Wow… what a good idea! I never thought about it this way.

  110. I so do this. I’m the no goodbyes ninja. X

  111. I think it is completely situational! Big party, slip out the door and send an email the next day saying how great it was! Small party, a quick and quiet goodbye. Family party, hugs, kisses, long goodbyes. Haha :)

  112. I have always felt this way! I feel rude being like, “hey, HEY, look at me, I know that you are having a very engaging and enjoyable conversation, but I just wanted to interrupt you to let you know I will no longer be gracing you with my presence. Wonderful party, but I have more important things to get to. Try to have fun without me. Bye!”

    • Bingo! My thoughts exactly.

  113. i never do, but i think i’ll start now! :)

  114. There are rules of courtesy I don’t care to tamper with. Its about how one represents who they are. A short thank you, later is enough, and sometimes, eye contact see ya later is cool.

  115. In my Spanish-Italian family, anybody who dare to do this, will hear about it FOREVER.
    You are suppose to kiss/hug every single person in the room. Sometimes even wait until somebody came out of the bathroom or the grocery store or the other room where he was talking on the phone *sigh*.

    • “… or the grocery store …” Hahaha love this!!! Gotta love your culture. (I’m Russian) For us, it’s stand at the door half an hour and talk. We say goodbye and then don’t leave!

  116. I think it’s better to about a half hour (or an hour depending on how many people you have to say goodbye to!) before you actually leave to go over to the host and let them know that you were thinking of calling it a night soon. This way, you get to chat with the host and say goodbye without making it a thing. And they’ll see you making the rounds to other guests so they know that you are leaving but you aren’t gone yet! And then when/if they notice that you’re gone, they know you left saying goodbye. Also, before I even did this, I would grab your coat/bag and leave it by the door, so once you’re done with the goodbyes you leave without making it a big thing.

  117. What about if the party is at your house and you want to go to sleep before everyone leaves? This just happened to me last night. I said goodnight to everyone at 12 because I had to work at 7 and they were kind of just my husbands work friends. I still feel like a loser though. Any suggestions?

    • I do it all the time! My husband has weird shifts and can stay up much later than I can. At our housewarming party, I left my mom, dad, aunt, sister, and husband talking in the living room while I went happily went to bed.

      I don’t think people actually care too much, especially at that point in the evening (assuming your friends drink as much as mine!) Usually I spend time reassuring them that it is okay and that I will sleep. And, I don’t say goodnight to everyone, just my husband and if someone was there specifically to see me – like my mom! You don’t want to tell everyone, because there is nothing worse than a lot of drunk people harassing you.

    • I do this too! I need my sleep and if people aren’t leaving then I just sneak off.
      My mom tells this great story of being at a friend’s party and the husband coming downstairs in his pajamas while brushing his teeth! His wife took one look at him and announced “I guess the party’s over!” and everyone left!

    • I’m famous for announcing that I’m tired, I have to get up early, goodnight everyone and just closing my bedroom door. Leaving my guests to fend for themselves. People usually think it’s a riot and if they don’t…well, too bad.

  118. This is such an interesting topic. I honestly don´t know what to think.

    When I´m at a party as a guest and want to leave, I always find it so hard to find the right moment to tell the host….You always hear something like “Ooooh no…already?” It is like you disappoint the host and ruin part of the party with your leaving.

    So I would agree that slipping out is easier for both sides.

    On the other hand – as a host. Maybe I wouldn´t notice it at first…but If I noticed that friends had left without saying goodbye….I would be disappointed, too.

    I would think “couldn´t they have at least said goodbye?! – eat, drink at our house and then just leave?” I think I would find that rude….

    :D So I really don´t know…

  119. Huh.
    I’d feel mildly offended if people left my party without saying good-bye. I’d feel like it sucked so badly for them that they couldn’t even bear to see me one last time before leaving.
    Maybe it’s because usually at our parties people seem to leave in several large batches, so it’s several love fests while everyone hugs and says “bye” and makes arrangements to see each other again (and takes left-over food that I always seem to have a ton of. I’m Russian. It’s in our genes. Don’t judge.)

    Having said that, if I’m the one leaving the party and I see that the hosts are engrossed in a conversation, I just catch his/her/their eye or lightly tap them on the shoulder and wave and mouth “bye”, and then it’s up to them to either stop what they are doing and come up for a more proper send-off or simply wave back and return to their conversation.

    Also also? In Russia, leaving without saying “good-bye” is called “leaving the English way” ^_^

    • I feel like your “catch the host’s eye and wave” is a fantastic way of doing it. The whole ordeal of breaking into another conversation, hugging, and explaining the reason for leaving is a little bit selfish. Plus, it seems like that sort of exit tends to encourage other people to think about leaving, even if they weren’t considering it up until that moment.

    • dana ~ YES it’s contagious!

  120. My fiance and I almost always slip out the door of a party or bar without drawing attention to ourselves, it’s called the Irish Goodbye, and it’s kind of a mixed bag. Usually its fine but some people tend to get upset with us. I think you need to take a guess as to how your host will take it

  121. I always thought it was polite to say goodbye, but after reading this I am reconsidering. Most people aren’t good about sending a thank you afterwards. If I was better at this I might reconsidered just slipping out.

    • Same! When I read this, I thought it seemed rude. But after reading these comments, it totally makes sense!

  122. I always try to just slip out. This allows the hosts and other guests to continue enjoying themselves without being interrupted by my goodbye and also prevents me from getting stuck in another conversation delaying my leaving.

  123. I tend to feel exactly the same! We recently had a Pumpkin Beer tasting party and A. I felt like I had to walk everyone to the door to leave (I did actually ahve to lock it after each person since we were out on the deck) and didn’t have any conversations beside goodbyes and B. it make me feel (illogically) like people didn’t want to be there, which was rediculous, but it made me doubt whether or not they had fun. I think just slipping out is a great idea!

  124. Already do it. I think it’s less awkward for host and guest

  125. Genius! This is my new m.o!

  126. I love that you brought this up, I always slip out because I don’t like the idea of drawing attention on myself and the fact I am leaving. I think it interrupts the fun and is a bit narcissistic to think it would offend the host.

  127. My husband and I call this the “Irish Goodbye”…not sure why. I wonder how France and Ireland got this reputation!

  128. “Irish Exit” …great chapter on this in Mindy Kaling’s book! If it’s big party, like a wedding or a very large cocktail party, we absolutely slip out the door.

  129. In college I had a friend who was notorious for his “Irish exits” at parties, i.e. he’d get really drunk and then disappear for the night, only to be found perfectly unscathed in his bed the next morning with only vague memories of where he had gone! It was hilarious, but also rather nerve wracking for a Mom-type like me.

    But- now that all my friends are grownups and unlikely to be super intoxicated, I think the quiet exit is a great idea!

  130. I’d be a little confused and hurt if I discovered that someone had left unannounced. I’d worry that they were unhappy or offended or had a medical emergency.

    I try to keep my goodbyes super short and without conversation. A “Thanks!” and a wave from across the room and then quickly exiting. I find it awkward to say goodbye to someone, then linger talking, then say goodbye again, then get caught talking to someone else, run into Person #1 AGAIN…

    • I agree. I would feel terribly rude without at least a quick “thank you” before leaving a party, and would feel slighted by a guest of my own that did the same.

    • Same here. I wave and blow a silent kiss.

    • I completely agree….I wouldn’t leave without a (quick) good-bye & thank you to the host. Thinking about my immediate large-ish circle of friends, we all do the same, if someone disappeared without thanking the host, it might be considered bad manners….we are British though ;)

    • totally agree! i guess it depends on the size/nature/attendees of the party, but as a general rule i’d feel pretty rude bouncing without thanking the host and saying a quick goodbye to my friends.

    • I live in the South (Austin, TX) and I have to say that where I live, this would be very,very rude! Now a wedding of 400 people, no need to say thank the host and say goodbye, but a party in someone’s home – just leaving would be in very poor taste. I can’t even imagine leaving a kids birthday party without my children personally thanking both parents of the birthday child for hosting them. Do people do that too?

      Maybe this makes me seem old fashioned or southern, but I think proper manners are so important. As far as it being a bummer for the host – its polite to make your guest feel welcome and important. Even if you don’t care that they are leaving, make them *feel* like you care — that is part of the role of a good hostess.

  131. We call it a French exit and do it all the time!

  132. We actually felt the same way at our WEDDING! The last hour was consumed by people coming up and saying goodbye to us. We appreciated the gesture since we didn’t see all those people during the event itself (it’s hard to see everyone at your own wedding), but it defintiely felt like a drag to spend a full hour saying goodbye to people! It’s a tough call as a guest because you might not want to have the bummer “goodbye,” but then again, it’s a polite gesture to thank the hosts for putting on the party (or wedding). I’m interested to hear what others have to say!

  133. I think that’s a great idea. I think goodbyes are always a bother especially in such a massive group. But I do feel that the hosts or someone else in the party may wonder where you’ve gone. Maybe it would be good to tell someone you are sneaking out the backdoor so if the hosts ask they will know.

    I do think Thank You cards are definite. It can be quite a production having people over for a party and it’s nice to feel like someone appreciated the energy you put into it.

  134. My husband and I only leave a party by slipping out unannounced. We’ve been doing it for years, and never once had someone complain. It makes us feel sneaky and adventurous. We love it and tell people all the time to give it a try.

  135. While talking at work, I told some people I was dreading my wedding reception just a little because I didn’t want to have to talk to/say goodbye to EVERYONE there. Too many people!

    Then, on the day, I ended up loving the chance to have a few words with each person we’d invited and it majorly bummed me out all my work friends slipped out without ever talking to me.

    For less huge occasions, though, I totally agree:)

  136. GG says...

    We call this The French Goodbye. It even sounds a little fancy that way!

    • re: Abby’s comment, can’t the Irish have anything lol

    • Interestingly enough, when I was in France, the French goodbyes took forever! You have to “faire le bisou” with everyone–kisses on the cheek to each person, regardless of how well you know them!

    • That’s it, I’m officially Irish!!

    • We live in France, and our French friends call leaving without saying goodbye and kisses the English goodbye. I guess we all have the same thing we just give it the name that has meaning to us!

  137. What an interesting perspective- I think I’ll do the “slip out” from this point forward!

  138. Yes! We are enormous fans of “ghosting,” or the “Irish goodbye.”

    • ^ Best quote of the day.

    • One of out guests at our wedding said goodbye in the middle of the best man’s toast! Definitely would have preferred a silent leaving then! I never thought about this vis-a-vis parties, but for big parties it actually makes sense. Still,I’d be afraid to seem rude.

  139. I never say goodbye at a larger party, but am always sure to send a thank you note the following day to strike a balance.

  140. I think that’s a great idea! I never realized that it was an issue until some friends came up to my new husband and me at our wedding reception (while we were on the dance floor!) to say that they needed to head home. I was in the midst of such celebration, but their goodbye instantly took me down a notch. Since then, I’ve thought that it’s definitely better just to slip out.

    • I immediately thought of weddings, too. I feel like by the time the old timers start to head out until the last of the party goers leaves, couples can spend half of their reception saying goodbye. Exhausting! I’m all for slipping out.

    • I would definitely agree that if you need to leave before the bride and groom leave, just slip away!

    • I agree, I think with weddings or larger celebrations, it’s perfectly fine to just slip away unnoticed. The happy couple are trying to soak up every minute and mingle and party with their guests – no need to bombard them with good-byes. But if I were at someone’s small dinner party or a family gathering, I don’t think I could just up and leave without saying goodbye. Not a major send-off, just a quick hug, thank-you, gotta get going, see ya’ soon. And if I don’t get to both hosts (if they’re a couple), then at least one of them is fine by me. I just am afraid they would think something was wrong or that we were mad if we just got up, grabbed coats and walked out the door. May be just me, but that’s my take on it. :)

    • At our wedding the only chance I got to talk to some of our guests was when they popped over to say good bye so I’m glad they did – but it did certainly throw off the celebrating

  141. This is interesting. I always thought it would be polite to say goodbye, since it usually involves a “Thank You” for hosting the party. I guess I never thought about it from the hosts’ point of view.

  142. I would love to just slip out the door with my husband’s family but fear that they would disown me. They are huggers. When it’s time to leave, you have to hug EVERY person goodbye which can take almost a 1/2 hour. UGH!

    • I also hate when you have to say goodbye to every single family member, but I’m worried that if I don’t submit to the hugs I’ll be labeled a grinch!

    • Oh my god, I know! My husbands family is as well! It takes him at least half an hour of hugs, and then two dummy checks to find his keys and wallet, before we can extricate ourselves.

    • My family is the same way… We refer to it as the “Norwegian Goodbye”. You have to start the leaving process at least 30 minutes before you actually need to get out the door. I usually end up hugging most of my relatives twice because by the time you’re done with the first round of goodbyes, it’s like you’re getting ready to leave all over again!

      I love my family though, and sometimes it’s just as much my fault for wanting to linger and drag out goodbyes. It’s true that farewells are always a little sad, no matter what!

    • Ha – Natalie! Our family calls it the “Minnesota Goodbye” but it s the same thing. Then our whole family goes outside and waves good bye as you drive away. My grandmother was part Norwegian so maybe it comes from her side of the family! :)

    • Ha! My grandmother is also Norwegian – and she always does the same thing when we say goodbye: hug, say goodbye, walk outside her house and then she waves and says “take it easy!” <- with much enthusiasm. :)

    • So funny, all of the above. My husband’s catholic family is HUGE and he just loves any reason to linger a bit longer and I hate driving home in the dark (1.5 hrs) so I inwardly seethe. And I totally identify with the inside/outside goodbyes. We’d go through the whole pallaver inside, then outdoors the conversation resumed and it was back to the goodbyes again eventually.

    • I’ve always been a just slip out the door kind of gal, but unfortunately my husband’s family is the opposite. Everyone must get a hug and a personal goodbye. It KILLS me every time. When I’m ready to go, I want to GO.

    • Hmmm, my husband’s family is Norwegian. Perhaps there’s a connection!

    • Irish goodbye where I’m from ;)