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Telling Guests to Go

Elena Mauer
Telling Guests to Go
You thought the party would be over by now. You’ve been working all day getting the house clean, decorating, prepping food, and doing dishes. And as much as you love your guests (even the one who’s loud and a tiny bit drunk), it’s late and you’re exhausted. Sound familiar? Here’s how to end the festivities without being rude.
  • Set An End Time: Don’t make the common mistake of not setting an end time for your bash. Instead, when you send out the invitations, put in an end time instead of saying something like, “8 p.m. to ????” “It’s okay to do this even on a very informal invitation,” says Daniel Post Senning, author of Emily Post’s Manners in a Digital World and spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute. With an end time, guests get the upfront message that it’s not okay to hang out all night long.


  • Be Clear and Honest: Okay, so you said there was an end time and still no one’s leaving? Making fake, loud yawning noises or starting to vacuum the living room are not the ways to go. “Don’t be awkward or passive aggressive,” says Senning. Either guests won’t pick up on it, or they’re likely to be put off by your reaction, and maybe even think that you’re a bad host. “Be clear and honest,” says Senning. If you’re tired, go ahead and say it nicely.


  • Give a Reason, Not an Excuse: Yup, there’s a difference between a reason and an excuse, says Senning, and that’s the honesty involved in what you’re saying. So you don’t have to make up a whole story about an early work meeting or about a noise curfew in your neighborhood. Instead, just tell them the legitimate reason you’re ready to end the party. People sense sincerity and usually respond to it positively.


  • Set Boundaries: As much as you might want to allow guests to stay super late just this once, don’t do it. Guest have pretty good memories (and tend to be creatures of habit!), so you’ll probably make a late party night more likely to happen again next time if you let things slide. Instead, nip this thing in the bud and ask them to leave. Saying something as simple as, “It’s been really great having you, but let’s wrap this up,” should work every time.

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