Ghosting a party, the Irish Goodbye, the French Exit - whatever you want to call it, there's a continuing debate over whether it's atrociously rude or a huge relief to everyone involved. Customarily, before leaving a party or event, one would circulate and announce their departure to the remaining guests, creating an opportunity for friendly goodbyes and any closing remarks. But is it possible this tradition has overstayed its welcome and is no longer practical? Sometimes going around and saying goodbyes to everyone is more trouble than it's worth; not to mention how much time it can take after you've already decided you're tired and want to go home. So if you ghost a party, will it be seen as a giant faux pas, or will you be commended for starting an overdue revolution of party etiquette?
We're not going to make the judgment call here, but we will go over some of the pros and cons to leaving a party without saying goodbyes.
Let's face it - it kinda sucks when you're really enjoying a party and suddenly other guests start leaving or talking about leaving. Why do that to someone else? It's only gracious of you to let the people having a good time continue their good time without the threat of the party losing steam.
Saying goodbye to everyone usually means going up to different groups of people and interjecting just to say you're leaving. The more intense or high-energy the conversation, the more awkward your interruption. Plus, doesn't it feel a little self-important to cut into a lively dialogue just to announce you're withdrawing your presence from the room? It's uncomfortable to do, and it can kill the momentum of an otherwise good talk between other guests.
We all know circulating our goodbyes can be an unfortunate timesuck. Especially when you're tired, or your shoes are hurting your feet, or you just want to get home and see your dog. Some people interpret a "Goodbye" at a party as an invitation to offer up a whole closing speech, which is how we sometimes get caught in conversation loops that are hard to escape elegantly. You're too polite to come out and say, "This conversation's gone on long enough, so I'm ending it and going home," which makes ghosting look like a comparatively painless alternative.
Having to repeatedly list off your reasons for leaving or excuses for why you have to go just gets exhausting. Of course, people mean well when they encourage you to stay, but it can take a lot out of a person to keep having to justify their decision to go. Plus, you feel like a jerk insisting over and over again that you've spent enough time with everyone and would literally prefer your own solitude.
You know that according to convention it's not the most polite thing in the world to grab your coat and leave without saying a word, especially to the host. If you're able to corner the host to thank them when they're on their own, perfect. It's more likely that they won't be available, so consider sending a text or email their way the next day to show your appreciation.
Because it's the 21st century, you're still reachable even after you make your unannounced exit. Once people start noticing your absence, you may start receiving texts asking about where you are. And then you're stuck making those same excuses you were avoiding explaining in person earlier. Not ideal, since the only thing potentially ruder than not saying goodbye in person, is doing that and then not responding to texts.
While the majority of guests you say goodbye to probably won't have anything pressing or urgent to share, sometimes it's only when someone knows you're heading out that they remember the name of that recommendation they mentioned earlier, or have the time to write down the phone number of their cute coworker they think you'd be a good fit for.
Even if you're mostly sure you did the right thing, you may find yourself carrying a sense of guilt or worry that everyone thought your departure was uncouth. Maybe not at first, but potentially the next day when you start to wonder if that easy exit was worth it and if it was noticed and commented on by others.
Of course, a sudden departure is not always going to realistically be an option, depending on the type of get-together. In some cases, it would plainly make no sense to ghost, so be smart and choose your opportunities wisely.
You can't exactly slip out of a dinner party when there's only 6 guests, including yourself. It's much easier to casually depart when you're at an event of upwards of 15 other people, but obviously, the more guests and more spread out over a space they are, the better your chances of leaving unnoticed.
Your brother's wedding may not be the perfect event to leave unannounced, just like you'll probably want to say your goodbyes if the event you're attending is a going-away party for someone who'll be moving to France for a year.
Again, exercise best judgment here. It's always a good idea to thank your sister-in-law if she's hosting, but if the host is someone you barely know, they'd probably appreciate it just as much as you would if you just saw yourself out, without making too big a deal of it and drawing them away from their other obligations.