How to Ghost a Party without Looking Like a Jerk

Ghosting a party without looking rude.

If you’re an introvert, I’m sure you’ve either heard of ghosting, or have used it as a method of escaping a party without all the annoying repercussions. There are two very different methods of “ghosting” that can be found on the internet that should not be confused – ghosting a person and ghosting a party. We’ll be discussing the latter.

What it Means to Ghost a Party

Ghosting a party is leaving without saying goodbye, and is considered rude or disrespectful by some, but ok, and even necessary, by others. You just disappear, like a ghost. It’s also referred to as the “French Leave” (or “French Exit”), “Irish Goodbye”, and I’m sure a few other names. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about ghosting fellow party-goers or my host/hostess, but I can understand why it’s a thing, and I’ve definitely considered doing it.

The number one reason most people don’t ghost is because they’re afraid someone will notice, but they won’t. You can test this theory yourself by just going out on the deck or porch during a party, and wait to see how long it takes before someone comes looking for you. You’ll likely be out there awhile.

This. ⬇︎ Facetious, but true.

“People really don’t care if you leave. You aren’t Prince William making a grand exit out of cotillion. You are nobody. Nothing, in the cosmic sense. In the grand scheme of world politics and astrophysics and Golden Girl reruns you are strikingly insignificant. When you leave, the party will continue.” – Wil Fulton, Thrillist

Goodbyes can lead to a lot of wasted time and energy, which is a huge turn-off for most people, especially introverts.  It’s hard enough to get an introvert to a party. The last thing they need is to be confronted with a parade of awkward goodbyes when all they really want to do is go home and crash.

Usually, at a party, there are levels of “relation” with those present. Some you will know very well – family members, good friends, etc – and others will be lower on the totem pole, or complete strangers. This is the conundrum. There are some people you probably want to say goodbye to and others you’d rather avoid altogether, but once you start saying goodbye, you’ll wish you had ghosted instead.

Great reasons to consider ghosting a party:

  1. Nobody ever wants to say goodbye, even at a party. It bums people out, even if only for a moment.
  2. People don’t just say goodbye. They ask why you’re leaving, start making plans, or beg you to stay.
  3. Uncomfortable, awkward hugging, touching and handshakes may ensue. Or even cheek kisses.
  4. I don’t know why, but some take your exit as the perfect time to start new (awkward) conversation.
  5. It could take a good half an hour to circle a room and say your goodbyes to everyone.
  6. You don’t want to interrupt conversations, games, and the overall fun that’s going on at the party.

And then there’s the host or hostess. They put all this work into the party – making food, providing music or entertainment, clean-up, etc. Plus, they were nice enough to think of you and invite you to their party. Having hosted parties in the past, I would consider it rude for someone to leave without saying a quick “thank you”, unless they had brought a host/hostess gift or something else of gratitude when they arrived.

But that’s just me, and even if they didn’t do either of those things, I think I would be ok if #4 (below) were executed the following day.

How to ghost without looking like a jerk:

  1. The Polite Ghost: If you know the host/hostess well, whisper in their ear and let them know you’d like to slip out quietly without disturbing anyone, but that you really enjoyed yourself and then thank them for the invitation. Something like, “Thanks for the invite, it was a lot of fun.” (with a quick hug).
  2. The Total Ghost: This will not be a favorite of introverts, but it’s quick and all-inclusive. Grab your belongings and make an announcement near the door that you’re leaving and wish EVERYONE more fun. Something casual like, “I have to go (with a wave). Have a great night!”.
  3. The Ironic Ghost. Let your favorites know in advance you’ll be ghosting the party. This defeats the whole purpose of ghosting, but also saves people from worrying when you vanish and nobody knows where you are, however long it takes them to notice.
  4. The Classic Ghost. I would reserve this for people you don’t know as well, like a work party or the like. Discreetly grab your stuff and leave, but be sure to text or email the host or hostess a thank you note after you leave, or the following morning to keep things courteous.
  5. The Paper Ghost. This will be an introvert favorite, borrowed from Amelia Diamond of ManRepeller, who says, “Instead of business cards, have ‘goodbye’ cards made and keep them in your wallet. Print various excuses on them: ‘My cat just swallowed the neighbor’s laptop’, ‘I was unaware today was also my own birthday’, and ‘The host owes me money’ are some nice ones. Feel free to mix it up so that everyone can swap different stories about why you left. You will create mystery, but not drama.”

Ghosting isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you misuse it, like trying to ghost your mom at a luncheon – not gonna work. There’s a time and place for everything, and the time for ghosting a party is AT A PARTY, which is a gathering of 20 or more people. And, please don’t try to ghost a family birthday party, either – even if you have a big family.

Go to the party and have fun, but when you’re done, ghost. With flair, with silence, or with care.

If you have another way of ghosting with some semblance of respect, please share in the comments section. How do YOU leave a party?

Tea & ♥,

2 comments

  1. Omg when I’m at a party, how I’m gonna leave is always in the back of my mind! I dread that part. Usually, I go for the whole awkward hugs goodbye with EVERYONE in the room. Ugh. I literally wanna cringe just thinking about it! And is it just me, or do u feel anxiety in the car on the way home thinking about how awkward the goodbyes were? I obviously need to come up with a better strategy. I would love to ghost, but don’t think I have the heart to do it.

    1. That’s usually what I do, but I think that’s because most of the parties I go to include a lot of family members. If I were at a bigger party, or one where I didn’t know every guest, I think I would go with thanking the host, and then bail. I would be ok with that. My concern isn’t the guest so much as the person who went through all the time and energy to put the event together. Sometimes anxiety in the car, but not specifically about the goodbyes, more like anything I said throughout the entire party. o.o

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