How to Leave a Party Early
I’m not too good when exposed to people
― Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Ah, every introvert’s nightmare—you’re invited to a party. Perhaps it’s your boss’s birthday and you absolutely must go to avoid a very awkward interaction at the cubicle the next day. Maybe the people you know have started making noise about how worried they are about you since you’re so solitary, even though they don’t get it that you’re perfectly happy at home with your hobbies and your peace and quiet.
Maybe you genuinely want to go, but you’re dreading the moment when your social battery runs out and the party is still going on. You can’t exactly yell “fire” and run while everyone is distracted, but here are a few suggestions if you are looking for a way to leave a party early.
How to Leave a Party Early
Tell the Host in Advance
If you set the bar low in the beginning, then nobody will be disappointed. This might not work in situations such as dating, but it helps when extricating yourself from parties. The second you RSVP to a party, explain that you won’t be able to stay for very long. You can be as direct (“I will turn into a mumbling zombie after one hour of social interaction”) or mysterious (“I am needed elsewhere for important business”) as you’d like.
Make up a Headache
A headache is the perfect excuse to leave the party early. Everyone’s had a bad headache before so they will take your alleged ailment seriously (and understand that the cure is some peace and quiet far away from a raging party). However, it’s not serious enough that someone will threaten to call an ambulance and cause an even more awkward situation. Chances are, being around people will give you the beginnings of a pounding headache anyway, so you won’t even have to lie.
Blame Someone Else
When in doubt, explain to the host that you would love to stay at their incredibly amazing, loud party but that someone else is preventing you from doing so. Blame your babysitter or pet sitter that suddenly has to go home, or your boss who is making you come in early the next day (just don’t use the boss excuse if you are at a work party).
If you’re really looking for a dramatic way to leave a party early, make a pact ahead of time for a friend to call you with an imaginary emergency at a certain time.
Use the Bathroom, Then Slip Away
The best way to time your early exit is to make sure that you leave at a lull in the party. Instead of abruptly walking away in the middle of a conversation, excuse yourself to use the bathroom. Once you come out of the bathroom, grab your coat, say a quick goodbye to the host, and leave. If you’re already on your feet, it’s easier to run away from overexcited hosts who want to make you stay.
Parties are draining for introverts, but if you have an exit strategy for when your social battery runs out, they can be fun! Or, at least manageable.