Imagine: The evening was wonderful, from your delightful watermelon cocktail to the last scoop of your homemade roasted peach ice cream. Every of your guest is full and happy, lingering around the table, talking, winding down, finishing the last of the wine. But an hour later, they’re still around the table (or crashed on a sofa), still talking, and they don’t look like they want to leave at all. You are the most perfect hostess in the world, but it’s late, you’re tired, and you still have the clean up to do. What can you do to subtly make them understand it’s time to go home?
Much of the response likely depends on who you’re entertaining. If it’s old friends, the blunt route is easier. But if the new boss is your dinner guest, then you may just have to suffer until they finally make their way out the door. But here are a few other things in between you can do to gently hurry folks along:
1. Change the mood
To get rid of guests who won’t leave, change the mood with music and lighting. If things are lively, put on something slow and vice versa. If the lights are low, brighten up. Changing the mood works because the guests feel THEY have decided it’s time to go home.
2. Try an explicit approach
This can be done in a variety of ways, but keep in mind who your guests are: Mention your early appointment for tomorrow morning or that you didn’t get much sleep last night. Discreetly (but not too discreetly) muffle a yawn.
3. Or the blunt way
« Let me heat you up some leftovers ». Your spouse could quickly add up « I’ll make it to go». At least one of you guest should notice the signal it’s time to go.
4. The humorous way
Say something like “Honey, we might need to go to bed, so these wonderful people can get home”. It will generates a few laugh and everyone leaves full and happy.
5. Start to clean off gently
Try to place something like “Well, I hate to put an end to a wonderful evening but I’m fading fast… let’s plan another evening together very soon because we enjoy your company very much”. Assuming you do, of course… Then start taking glasses and plates to the kitchen, set them in the sink and make some rumble in the kitchen, leave your guests alone for a while, and head toward the door. No doubt everybody will do the same. Usually men can pull this off much better than women who try to be the ultimate hostess until the end!
6. Use a friend to get the ball rolling
Maybe you’ve observed that it only takes 1 person leaving to get the rest of them leaving too. So the most powerful solution is to talk to a good friend, and ask him or her to go around telling everybody good-bye, mentioning how late it is and how tired s/he is, etc. That will usually get the ball rolling. If there are always a few who don’t clue in, it won’t be seen as rude to tell them politely, but frankly.
Remember that no one should drive home drunk from a party, so make sure to call a cab for your friend or install some blankets on the couch!
Do you have any tips and tricks to put an end to a party and make your guest leave without embarrassing yourself? Please share in the comments below!