How to Politely End a Party

What to do so your guests will shoo.

Trent Armstrong
4-minute read
Episode #104

I know I've been hitting the email bag a little hard lately, but it's been so fruitful that I can't help myself! The most recent topic is from a listener who gets sleepy after a big meal, but can't seem to get the party wrapped up so she can get some shut-eye.

How to Politely End a Party

The scenario occurs around the world and it's awkward every time. Right now there could be a very well-mannered host nervously wondering how to encourage his or her guests to hit the road after they’ve stayed longer than their fair share of time. Every situation is unique but there are some things we can look at that might clear up this question.

Our particular friend who emailed the podcast was concerned that her propensity to grow tired after a big meal and yawn at her guests would be offensive. So I think we should start with that. If it becomes evident that you have issues with the big evening meal turning you into a virtual somnambulist, try having guests over for early hors d'oeuvres. Should you realize alcohol turns you into a yes-man (or woman) who can't wrap a party, drink less during the party. Whatever you can do to minimize your risk will make it easier for you to end the party at a reasonable time or at least keep you in the party long enough for your guests to feel partied out.

Provide A Time Frame In Advance

Speaking of minimizing your risk, if you are the type of person who thinks a party actually has an ending point, go ahead and inform your guests of that time. By doing that, you develop a set of expectations to which it will be easier to adhere. Having an ending time for the party is not without precedent so you are not being rude. You could print the time on the invitation or even mention it during your conversation when you relay information about the party. "Hey! We're having a thing at our house this Friday from 7 to 9PM." Setting up that rule in advance will certainly make it easier to wrap things up at the appropriate time. However, if you establish an ending time, make sure you are able to stick to that time. Shutting things down early is far more sketchy than posting a reasonable time for concluding the function.