1. Seek out the host and tell him you’re leaving.
Don’t make excuses and be quick about it. Saying things like “I have an early morning” or “I’m beyond drunk and need to go home,” are just your guilt talking.
2. Leave without saying goodbye to anyone.
Yes, this completely goes against #1, but it is perfectly acceptable at a very crowded party where it’s hot, they’ve run out of food and you can’t hear anyone’s conversation because the music is too loud. Slip out unnoticed and pretend you’re just getting some fresh air. If the party is as fun as it should be, nobody will miss you. Besides, at the last big party you hosted, do YOU remember who did and didn’t say goodbye to you?
3. Rip the Band-Aid off.
If you came with friends and they want to leave quickly, don’t feel the need to start departure conversations with 17 people whom you didn’t even say hello to. Give quick hugs to a handful of friends who you enjoyed catching up with and then go forth into the night.
4. If out at a restaurant or bar, make sure you chip in for the bill.
Don’t be the person who orders a few beers, some sliders, makes an impromptu call out for some artisan doughnuts for dessert and then “forgets” to pull out his wallet. If you honestly overlooked the fact that food out costs money, offer up cash to whomever paid whenever you remember.
5. Leave your coat in an obvious spot.
Avoid checking it if you can to allow for a quick exit. You don’t want to be the person who is digging through 38 black down puffy coats only to realize that someone accidentally walked off with yours. If possible, leave your coat with a colorful scarf stuffed halfway in a sleeve and hanging out over the collar so that you’ll easily be able to locate it.
6. Use the bathroom.
There will likely be a good chunk of time between exiting the party, getting home or finding your next destination and you don’t want to be spending needless energy wondering how long your bladder can possibly hold out.
7. The best laid plans.
If you’re leaving the party significantly early, plan your exit in advance. If the host or hostess will get upset at your departure, contemplate whether it’s worth the risk of finding a side door to leave through when nobody is looking versus disappointing your friend and tap-dancing through a long winded story of how you’re not feeling well and think you might have a highly contagious stomach bug.
8. Avoid yawning.
There’s nothing that brings a party down quite like a yawning guest giving obvious signs that it’s time to leave. We get that you’re tired. Parties take place at late hours in dark places with alcohol and all of these factors together are meant to induce sleep. When your socializing has made you sleepy, it’s time to go.
9. Taking a new love interest home with you is always a valid reason to say goodbye at a party.
If this love interest is a friend of the host or hostess, even better. You don’t need to kill the potential romance of this situation by spending 90 minutes kissing and hugging every partygoer in sight. You’ve already made your mark on the night. You win. Go home and celebrate.
10. Do a mental inventory of your late night snack eats at home.
If you don’t have the materials to make a grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, head to your local bodega or late night grocer to pick up the necessary supplies. Otherwise, be sure to order pizza delivery on your ride home so it will be waiting for you by the time you get there.
11. Say thank you but don’t make a scene.
A goodbye is not the time or place for declaring your unspoken love for the hostess. Just thank her for inviting you. You can do this by giving her a high five, a hug or a kiss on the cheek. Don’t go in for an uninvited kiss on the lips or a squeeze of her bottom, especially around her boyfriend.
12. Don’t be on your cell phone while saying goodbye to people.
This is just rude. If you’re caught in that situation, just tell the person you’re saying goodbye to that you “have a thing about adding people’s birthdays to your contact list.” Then find out their birthday and add it.
13. If you clog up the bathroom, blame it on someone else, but tell the host before you leave.
Do unto others and all that fun stuff, right?
14. Saying goodbye is not meant to be the time and place for catching up on the last 10 years of your life.
Those conversations should have been had at the actual party. If someone is chatting your ear off while you’ve got one foot out the door, excuse yourself and promise to catch up with them another time. Say you’re meeting someone. You’ve got to get home to walk the dog. You’re ordering in a stripper at home and he gets paid in 15-minute segments. Say your goodbyes and then actually go buh-bye.
15. If you’re planning to get an attractive stranger’s phone number, the best time to do this is right before saying goodbye at a party.
This way, if the person rejects you, you don’t have to stick around and be the Rejected Loser for the rest of the night. If you do get the number, you should quit while you’re ahead and make a run for it.