Call it ghosting, the Irish goodbye, the French exit… whatever you want. When you’ve had your fill of a party, you simply duck out and leave instead of wandering around the event space and saying an individual goodbye to everyone you know in attendance. Everyone knows what this parting strategy is, but what you may not know is that it is far and away the best way to leave a large social gathering.
While etiquette experts are less than fond of leaving a party without saying goodbye to the host, this practice can actually be mutually beneficial. If your host or hostess is in the middle of another task or conversation, you won’t have to interrupt them or awkwardly mill about until they’re free before you part.
Ghosting also gives you the benefit of leaving on your own time, alone, before anything bad happens. Maybe you’ve had one too many and need a big, greasy burger in your stomach before you get sick. Perhaps you sense that the party is about to take a sinister turn. Or it could just be that you’re tired and want to snuggle up in your own bed — instead of having to deal with friends trying to convince you to move on to a second location or stick around for one more drink, party game, or dessert. You can get on with your night in the manner that you choose without feeling guilty or making others feel bad or uncomfortable.
Is ghosting rude? Well, yeah. We will have to admit that. Leaving a party without graciously thanking your host is a no-no. However, this situation can be remedied by sending a text as soon as you’re safely home thanking your host for the evening at hand. To really show your gratitude, you can send a thankful email or handwritten card explaining your sudden exit and rhapsodizing about the great time you had. Just because you ghost doesn’t mean that you’re automatically a terrible party guest.
Now, of course, there are a few situations where ghosting is still pretty unacceptable. If you’re at a restaurant dinner, ghosting really turns out to mean skipping out on the check. It’s also especially rude to simply duck out when you’re at an intimate gathering with 15 people or fewer. In that case, your absence will be totally noticed, and it can raise questions about your safety.
But, if you’re at a big party and it’s been a long night? Feel free to just ghost — we won’t notice (or tell).