How to Escape from a Bad Party without Offending the Host
We’ve all been there -- stuck at a party that’s about as entertaining as mopping the floor. That’s why it’s important to have an exit strategy.
Step 1: Set the stage Set the stage for a possible early exit when you RSVP for a party -- especially if the host is a repeat offender in the annals of disastrous soirees. Say you have a previous engagement on that date, but will drop by briefly.
Step 2: Chat her up As soon as you arrive, ditch your coat, grab a drink, and head for the host. Note how charming the bathroom décor is or how tasty the appetizers are to pretend you’ve been at the party for a while instead of having just walked in the door.
Step 3: Make the rounds After talking to your host, make the rounds. You want the host to notice you at different points in different places. It will create the impression that you’re having a lovely time, and register that you were there… more than you were really there.
Step 4: Drop key phrases A few minutes before you ditch, sidle up next to the host and announce something that makes it seem you were there longer than you really were—like, 'I’m gonna have to make this my last drink!' (even if it’s your first) and 'This is my third trip to the buffet!'
Step 5: Bide your time When you’re ready to make a break for it, discreetly gather your belongings and pause at the door. Wait until the host seems engaged in conversation, then catch her eye, point at your watch apologetically, and mouth 'Thank you!' Give her a devastated and conflicted look as if you can’t believe you have to leave so soon… then bolt.
Step 6: Keep it vague If your host breaks away from conversation to say goodbye face-to-face, try not to offer any reason for your early departure other than the aforementioned prior commitment, since lies have a tendency to trip you up later. Deflect her attention by lavishing her with compliments about the party.
TIP: If you failed to establish a prior commitment, cough in your host’s face as you say you’re coming down with something. She’ll no doubt be happy to see you and your germs go.
Step 7: Send thanks Send a thank-you note after the party. Not only is this good manners, but it will help alleviate any resentment your host may harbor about your early departure.
FACT: When Lauren Bacall first arrived in Hollywood, industry parties made her uncomfortable, because she was one of the few teetotalers.