Samsara in Pasadena, California asks:
“Today at breakfast there was a discussion about the appropriate way to exit a party. I think it’s important to say hi to the host when you arrive but you don’t always have to say good bye. It can disrupt the flow of the party or signal to the host that the party is winding down which in fact may not be the case. My friend said the one time she tried that 20 minutes later the host of the party texted her saying, ‘Where are you? I wanted to talk to you about something. Did you leave?’ And my friend felt rude like she had snuck out. What is the correct way to handle this?”
Lizzie Post: You are wrong. You definitely want to say goodbye to your host. You never want to just sneak out of a party. The way that you avoid making it seem, ‘This party’s a drag so it’s winding down and people should leave’, as you say, ‘I’m so sorry I have to leave.’ So that the host knows that it’s not about you’re not having a good time.
Rico Gagliano: The problem for me is if you go to find the host to say good bye then suddenly you end up saying good bye, especially if there’s a lot of people at the party, to everyone there. You end up staying for another half hour saying goodbye to people.
Daniel Post Senning: Lizzie’s got the A+ answer of course. You’ve got to say good bye and thank your host. Of course there are going to be times, more informal situations, a really roaring event, where if it would absolutely distract a person…you can’t say good bye to every single person there.
Lizzie Post: That I agree with.
Daniel Post Senning: Maybe you get out the door but making an effort to say good bye and thank your host is definitely the standard.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Maybe there’s something we can learn from Samsara’s question which is you could also text the other people that you weren’t saying good bye to. Say good bye to the host and then you just quickly text…
Lizzie Post: Do a mass text.
Daniel Post Senning: It’s funny because the kind of informal thing I was thinking if you had to slip out you couldn’t catch the host, it was an inappropriate time, you might even follow up with a little quick note or a text.
Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning are co-authors of the 18th edition of the Emily Post Manners Manual, run the Emily Post Institute in Vermont and are the great great grandchildren of Emily Post herself.