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Some call it the “Irish Goodbye,” some call it the “French Exit,” some call it “Ghosting,” and others just call it “rude” or “brilliant.” It’s slipping out of a party without saying goodbye to the host (or anyone else), and some people would love for the trend to catch on here in the states:
“Goodbyes […] represent the waning of an evening or event. By the time we get to them, we’re often tired, drunk, or both. […] These sorts of goodbyes inevitably devolve into awkward small talk that lasts too long and then peters out. We vow vaguely to meet again, then linger for a moment, thinking of something else we might say before the whole exchange fizzles and we shuffle apart. Repeat this several times, at a social outing delightfully filled with your acquaintances, and it starts to sap a not inconsiderable portion of that delight.”
If you’re worried about seeming rude, it’s suggested that you send a heartfelt email the next morning, which can double as a formal thank you to the host.
What do you think of the Irish Goodbye/French Exit/ Ghosting? Poll below!
Bittergaymark November 5, 2013, 2:38 pm
It is tacky, rude, self-serving, oh, and beyond cowardly — which, sadly, means most here will not only defend it, but think it’s just swell…
Banana November 5, 2013, 3:31 pm
I don’t share your low opinion of most folks here, but I do agree that it’s kind of rude to duck out. I think it all depends on the context, but I at least try to say goodbye to the host before ever leaving a party. I don’t, however, think it’s necessary to go around and say goodbye to everybody I ever talked to the whole evening. Usually I try to say a quick goodbye and thanks to the host, then head out. And if the host is busy/unavailable when I’m leaving, I send a note later thanking him or her for a lovely time.
lemongrass November 5, 2013, 4:39 pm
If you think so low of the commenters here and are so often bored with this site then why do you not only read it but also leave inflammatory comments?
lemongrass November 5, 2013, 4:39 pm
In other words, why are you so mean?
Bittergaymark November 5, 2013, 5:20 pm
Read the comments. Many do think it’s just hunky-dory to rudely duck out without so much as a word of thanks. NEWSFLASH! It’s very tacky. Miss Manners would concur. Honestly, I don’t know how exactly I am being mean when I am merely predicting what soon indeed becomes fact. Recent letters here have proven that most feel being rude is a-okay.
rachel November 5, 2013, 6:00 pm
But…clearly if a lot of people here don’t think it’s rude, it means it’s not necessarily rude in all social circles. I’ve had parties with a lot of people before, and I sure didn’t keep track of who did and didn’t come find me to say goodbye. It’s about knowing your audience. I wouldn’t duck out of a small gathering, but a large party? Who even keeps track of everyone at a large party?
lemongrass November 5, 2013, 6:04 pm
It’s not just this comment but your comments are almost always negative or rude or mean. Why?
Bittergaymark November 5, 2013, 6:28 pm
Honestly, I think my original post comes across as more disappointed than mean. Note the use of the word “sadly”….”
rachel November 5, 2013, 6:38 pm
Haha, “sadly” we’re all rude and tacky? You’re right, not mean at all :p
Bittergaymark November 5, 2013, 7:45 pm
Yeah. It IS sad. It is sad that few seem to think it is necessary to call and give a heads up before bailing on a dinner party. It IS sad so few can be bothered to take — what? — fucking fifteen seconds to say: “Thanks, for the party, Carol! Ted and I had a wonderful time.” It is sad so few seem to put the feelings of others before themselves. So yes — sad.
Fabelle November 5, 2013, 2:42 pm
The Irish goodbye 😉
Fabelle November 5, 2013, 2:44 pm
Maybe I should read things before I post (I normally do, but I missed the intro, somehow)
It’s objectively rude, I guess? but saying goodbye at certain kinds of parties takes SO LONG, & sometimes when I want to leave, I want to leave THATVERYSECOND (sorry BGM, clearly I’m the epitome of a tactless, selfish millennial ;))
KKZ November 6, 2013, 2:46 pm
Yeah, leaving any family event on Bear’s side takes like half an hour because you’re expected to hug and kiss ALL the uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins. My preference would be to just stand by the door and yell “WE”RE LEAVING AND WE LOVE YOU!!!” and then dash, haha.
Truth: My dad once left my mom at a party because she was taking too long to say goodbye. She’s really bad about the goodbye small talk (it takes forever for us to get off the phone too). He had already done his rounds and got sick of waiting for her so after several attempts to speed things up, he just got in the car and left.
I mean, obviously that caused a fight between them, but I think it’s pretty funny.
He pulled the same stunt on my brother and me when we went on a shopping trip with him to a particularly boring store (Tractor Supply Co.) but they had ONE aisle with some toys in it so The Kid and I kept abandoning my dad to go to that aisle… so when we weren’t with him after he checked out, he just went out to the parking lot and moved the car to make us thing he’d left when we came looking for him and scare us out of doing that shit again. My dad has an awesome sense of justice!
theattack November 6, 2013, 3:10 pm
I can’t get over how you said Tractor Supply is boring. Whaaat? Even as a kid I thought Tractor Supply was a blast. haha And their toys are badass.
KKZ November 6, 2013, 6:18 pm
LOL, Tractor Supply COULD be fun if you’re not there with Dad buying birdseed and being told not to touch anything or stray too far. But we did love the toys. I was super into horses at the time and my brother had a small collection of various tractors and other farm-themed toys.
We had WAY more fun at Lowe’s than Tractor Supply, though, especially when my parents needed something from the Garden Center. Hello imaginary jungle world!
Addie Pray November 6, 2013, 7:02 pm
What is tractor supply?
jlyfsh November 6, 2013, 7:24 pm
stuff for farms, livestock, but also like apparel for people who work outside boots, gloves, etc and then dog and cat supplies too. i actually like to go in and look at the bargain bin. you never know when they might have something fun or useful in there! like i have a pretty awesome pair of pliers i got for 99 cents 🙂
theattack November 6, 2013, 7:47 pm
Like jlyfsh said, a store with farm supplies. Not major farm equipment usually, but like tools, cages, farming books, rope, fencing, and outdoors apparel. I looove it. If you ever need a book full of adorable pictures of baby goats, and Alice doesn’t have enough on her Facebook page, tractor supply is the place to go.
theattack November 6, 2013, 7:49 pm
Plus they have great gifts for farm-types or horse-types. Things like lamps with horses or blankets with cows or toy pigs that oink.
Addie Pray November 6, 2013, 10:16 pm
Wow – never ever heard of that it would have thought something like that existed. Makes sense though!
rachel November 5, 2013, 2:44 pm
I picked “Depends”. If it’s just a random party and I don’t know the host that well, I don’t feel the need to say goodbye, but if it’s a smaller event, or the host is a friend, I always make it a point to find them before I go. Though…this usually isn’t a problem for me, haha. I often find I’m somehow one of the last ones at the party.
starpattern November 5, 2013, 2:46 pm
The only thing I leave without saying good-bye to the host is a wedding, honestly. Which sounds awful, but the bride and groom are usually SO busy and tied up with other people, I’ve already talked to them in the receiving line, they’re trying to eat, etc. If I know either set of parents, I will try to speak to them if they’re around, but mostly, I’ll say ‘bye to whomever I was hanging out with, and leave. Weddings are such chaos.
Other than that, I typically only attend parties small enough that my absence would be noticed and I have plenty of opportunity to speak to the host before leaving.
Other Southerners: Do y’all actually air kiss? I’ll hug anyone who doesn’t recoil in terror, but I always thought the air kiss was more of a European/Big Money New England thing. Totally off base? Haha.
Miss MJ November 5, 2013, 2:54 pm
No one did this where I grew up in Alabama, but in Southeast Louisiana, everyone does the side cheek air kiss thing, even in some professional situations and in non-professional situations, even with people you barely know (or don’t know). It took some getting used to at first.
Miel November 5, 2013, 2:57 pm
European kisses for real, it’s not air kissing. I think hugs are so weird. I always step forward for a kiss then people choke me with a big hug and I’m like “oh no, I just fell in the trap !”
Banana November 5, 2013, 3:33 pm
Hahaha, I’m a little grossed out by both. I’m an extremely physically affectionate person with folks in my “inner circle” but everyone else…I don’t even want to be touched! No hugs, no kisses. Just hi is okay. I especially can’t stand it when I’m trapped into a hug in a business context. Since WHEN did it become okay to greet a business contact with a hug at the start of a meeting?
starpattern November 5, 2013, 4:42 pm
Eek! To be clear, I do not hug anyone in a work setting. That would be pretty awkward.
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:44 pm
“Since WHEN did it become okay to greet a business contact with a hug at the start of a meeting?”
Haha, We just had a super serious meeting that lasted all day (like the most serious meeting that only happens every 5 years), and that’s how everyone started it off.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 4:47 pm
Yeah, I think this is a big regional/work environment difference. I work in construction and would never dream of hugging, but I could see in a different environment it being the norm.
starpattern November 5, 2013, 4:41 pm
Ahhhaha I have had many an awkward moment like this with a Swiss friend.
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:16 pm
I’ve never gotten an air kiss. People do real kisses on the cheek if they do that at all. For the record, I am NOT a supporter of any kind of kisses like that. I don’t need your neighbor’s cousin’s great aunt Hilda’s lipstick on my face.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 4:11 pm
It depends in my experience. The older generation in my husbands family (from the Carolina’s) kisses on the check, but the younger does not. There are LOTS of hugs all around though.
bethany November 5, 2013, 2:50 pm
I think it depends. Often times the host is talking to people, and you don’t want to be rude by interrupting. Hell, sometimes at parties of certain friends you can’t even FIND the host!
If possible though, I always try to say goodbye.
BriarRose November 5, 2013, 2:52 pm
I didn’t even know it was a thing to leave without saying thank you/goodbye. All of my friends make our kids say thank you and goodbye to the hosting parent(s) at a birthday party, so if they can do it, surely adults can too.
kerrycontrary November 5, 2013, 3:00 pm
I definitely do the french exit at big parties. And I feel no qualms about doing it at a wedding where it’s difficult to even locate the bride/groom, nonetheless say goodbye. I mean I wouldn’t leave a dinner party without saying goodbye cause that would be weird.
Kate B. November 5, 2013, 3:04 pm
I say goodbye to the host and whoever I encounter on my way to the door. I don’t make the rounds before I go. If I did that, I’d never get out. And, I hate air kissing. Either kiss/hug me for real or don’t bother.
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:19 pm
No. I would never leave without saying goodbye. That’s horrifying to me, and I would most definitely be talked about for doing it and then categorized as unfriendly and disinterested in everyone from then on. In my culture, you must go around to everyone and say your goodbyes. If you’re elderly, you have someone else go gather everyone for you to come to you when you’re ready to leave. We call it “making our rounds.” You can never just decide to leave spur of the moment. You just learn to plan for about twenty minutes of goodbyes before you can actually leave.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 3:45 pm
Yes. Exactly this.
katie November 5, 2013, 3:45 pm
ah this is why i hate the whole saying good bye thing! it takes so long. and it always, always, always ends up with you finding something else to talk about, and then youve talked for another half hour, and then jake is mad because he needs to get home. super lame.
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:53 pm
That’s why I can’t stand people who bring up other things when you’re trying to say goodbye. The goodbyes work very well, and I think they bring people closer together, but it only works if everyone respects the unspoken rule that you can’t bring up new topics during the goodbye! There’s always one older woman (sorry, but it’s true) who won’t respect the rule.
iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2013, 5:18 pm
Know what I find really ironic? That it’s soooo impolite to not say goodbye to each person for the required 20-30 minutes, but then you don’t feel bad being like “fuck that guy, he brought up an extra topic – god what was he raised in a barn?!” Stuff like that is why I think all etiquette rules are dumb.
I realize that paragraph sounds kind of personal but I hope you don’t take it that way, I literally do just find it’s funny. I could never live in a place where rules were that structured.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 5:25 pm
I don’t think our minds go to “fuck that guy” rather something more along the lines of “oh Aunt Sally, always asking one question too many!”
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:26 pm
Haha, It’s not etiquette at all. It’s just cultural. And it’s not like it’s wrong to bring up another topic. People do it a lot, but it is annoying when you do want to get out quickly but you’re trying to be polite and tell everyone bye, but then someone completely ignores that that’s what you’re doing and wants to take you out back and show you their workshop full of trains or something first, and then you’re stuck for another half hour. It’s not something that’s rude, and no one would ever judge someone for it at all. It’s just how we keep the system working well. It’s like the equivalent of people in other parts of the country just being cool with someone quickly leaving, but on a different level.
It might just be something you have to be immersed in to understand. Believe me, it’s a great system here because most everyone “gets” it.
iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2013, 5:37 pm
You people are the silliest. Although I apologize when people bump in to me, so I guess you can’t get the canadian out of me either.
Terrie Bruce November 6, 2013, 11:28 am
As a fellow southerner, I appreciate you defending our culture. It’s very different than other regions and personally I love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I almost moved to Delaware for work many years ago and I just couldn’t do it, everyone was so unfriendly. There’s a reason we have expressions like southern grace, southern hospitality and why so many people retire “down south”. It’s also perfectly fine when someone is from a different region and are happy with how they do things. What I don’t like is when people move down south and criticize our way of life or if someone moved north and expected everyone to be like them.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:34 pm
Also it’s really not structured at all. It’s not even a rule. It’s just how we all happen to do things, and it works for us. Everyone needs to come visit me so I can show you because I feel like you all have crazy misconceptions about Southern culture. It’s actually completely awesome and makes you feel so loved.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 5:38 pm
Yes! It sounds crazy pants from the outside (I thought it was before I lived here) but I love it now.
Matcha November 6, 2013, 4:08 pm
Haha, this is exactly how goodbyes function in my circle. Although growing up, my middle school phone conversations always went, “You hang up!” “No, YOU hang up!”
Wendy November 5, 2013, 3:28 pm
I think I’d just stay home!
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:33 pm
Seriously? It’s not bad at all. It’s just one last round of socializing before you leave. You just go around and tell everyone it was good to see them, you can’t wait to hear more about XYZ next time, and you’ll see them at Christmas, then move on to the next person. It’s really not hard. It takes maybe 1-2 minutes per person (or group of people if they’re standing around together), and it gives everyone one last chance to finish things up.
Wendy November 5, 2013, 3:42 pm
Yeah, not for me at all. I really would just stay home.
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:45 pm
Wow. I mean, it’s sometimes a chore, but I can’t imagine completely missing out on all social events just because of the last few minutes.
Wendy November 5, 2013, 3:53 pm
Talk to me when you have a kid and live in nyc and it’s two hours past your bed time, you’re going to be woken up at 6 am, the car you called to come pick you up is waiting downstairs (or you still have an hour-long subway commute ahead of you) and at 15 dollars an hour for babysitting, those 20 minutes of making rounds telling people you can’t wait to hear about xyz next time, just cost you another five bucks. No thanks. If I can’t say my good-byes and thank-yous and lets do lunches in under five minutes, I’d rather stay home!
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:03 pm
It would definitely be a problem if you didn’t expect to have to do it, or if something changed (like the car arrived ten minutes early maybe). If you’re raised here though, you just learn to plan for it. You just start saying your goodbyes sooner, and it doesn’t change the time you spend there at all, so it doesn’t cost you any extra money. I mean, the whole southeast works that way without many problems. To each their own. I’m glad you don’t have to do it since you don’t want to, but I have to defend my region and say that it works well when everyone already expects it to work that way.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 4:15 pm
You just start leaving 20 or 30 minutes before you actually want to leave. It’s just like a common social practice. Rather than planning for 5 mins of goodbyes, you plan for 20. Just like you start planning for 30 minutes, rather than 5, to leave the house when you have a kid (to gather all their stuff).
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:18 pm
I can see it causing problems sometimes, but people are generally understanding of it too. Like if someone’s kid starts crying, the mom might kind of lean toward a whole group of people and say she has to run right this second, sorry she can’t stay, and do a sad wave goodbye, like indicating that she wishes she could give a longer goodbye. That takes five seconds if you’re having a crisis, and people understand that.
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:06 pm
Ugh, I’d hate to host that party. I have to reserve 20-30 minutes to say goodbye to each guest?!
I think if you’re having a small dinner party or something, sure, you should say good bye and thank you and not leave without notice/word…. But a large party? Meh. I always tell someone so no one worries about me. If they say where’s AP then someone can say oh she had to go home. But otherwise, eh who cares.
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:08 pm
Also, I irish-exited MG’s wedding. I really did not want to interrupt her fun to say I’m leaving.
Update about MG’s wedding: I got her a gift, finally. Cue MG to say it was the best gift ever.
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:12 pm
A final comment in this conversation with myself about Irish exiting – I’m really bad about it because I usually tell a lot of people I am Irish-exiting right before I do which sort of kills the Irish-exit. I can’t seem to do anything without telling everyone about it.
Also I figured out that if I turn my wifi on on my iPhone and connect to my firm’s wifi then I get a much better signal in the restrooms at work. Heaven!
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:13 pm
No, I can’t stay and chat with myself. Must get back work.
I love you.
I love you more.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 5:13 pm
You spend 20 to 30 minutes saying goodbye to the host and everyone there. It’s like a 2 minute interaction per person/couple.
I spent 2 minutes saying goodbye/thank you to each guest/couple at our wedding. It really didn’t take that much time to talk to all of them. Same thing for Canadian Thanksgiving. I said bye/thanks and walked each guest to the door. No sweat.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:16 pm
Also it’s just part of socializing? Like the two minutes you spend walking your guest to the door is just two more minutes one-on-one with someone you loved enough to invite to your house.
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:17 pm
No that’s fine. I guess I wasn’t being all together serious when I said I don’t want to say goodbye to my guests. I’m happy to chit chat with everyone and say goodbye, whether it lasts 2 minutes or 20 minutes. Really it’s just if someone wants to leave quickly that’s fine too. I mean for big parties or whatnot. That’s more the perspective I was leaning – from the guests’ point of view, it’s fine if they want to head out quickly. Though it would be weird if someone just left without saying goodbye at a small gathering.
Wendy November 5, 2013, 4:56 pm
But it’s not a common social practice where I live because no one here would want to spend a half hour saying good-bye!
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:03 pm
Wendy, you can Irish exit any party I have, it’s fine. I know it will be because (1) you want to get home quick for any or no reason, (2) you just puked on yourself, (3) you can’t find me and/or think i am busy making out with someone I just met, (4) you just want to leave, or (5) Jimmy Kimmel called with better plans. All are fine. Same goes for all of you, let’s just get that out of the way so no one stays home when I invite them over.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:04 pm
haha, That’s fair enough!
Wendy November 5, 2013, 5:05 pm
But it also doesn’t take 30 minutes for us to kid stuff before we’re ready to leave our house, either. It’s at the most ten minutes and that’s when we have to put on winter clothes. Just different cultures. Life moves super fast in New York. No one has time for 30 minute goodbyes. There are cabs to be grabbed and subways to catch. Everyone is always in a hurry.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:08 pm
Interesting. Such completely different cultures. Down here we slowly savor everything we do, and then we revisit it all before it’s over just to take it in all over again. Even when we’re in a big rush we do these things, just faster. That’s what we do in business and everything.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 5:08 pm
Honestly, I greatly prefer the slow pace of Southern life. The Philly suburbs where to fast paced, interactions where too short, everyone always had to be somewhere. I love how down here the cashier says please and thank you and the idea of a good time is sitting on the porch doing nothing. Different strokes for different folks.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:13 pm
@GG, Do people not spend all their time on the porch in Pennsylvania? Holy crap. What do people DO if not sit on the porch swing, watch hummingbirds all afternoon, and wave at everybody?
lets_be_honest November 5, 2013, 5:17 pm
I don’t wave at people, haha, but I LOVE sitting on a deck or a porch. The first area I set up when I moved was a little corner of the patio.
My grandpa on the other hand thinks he’s super friendly to the neighborhood kids, but he’s really just scaring the shit out of them when he starts shouting hello and asking them to sit with him. Poor guy.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:19 pm
And cashiers don’t say please and thank you? What is that? That’s bizarre. A cashier could probably get fired for doing that multiple times here. Do you have conversations with cashiers at all? What happens? Please explain this because I can’t even comprehend.
lets_be_honest November 5, 2013, 5:20 pm
My ‘I feel very important’ moment is when the cashier sees me coming and gets my ciggies for me. Who am I? The President? Love it.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:20 pm
Aww, LBH, that’s both cute and sad. I want to hug your grandpa and sit on the porch with him.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 5:23 pm
TA- My parents sit on the porch for HOURS. I think I was meant to be a Southerner from day one. But I do think a lot of people in the NE (not all, but a lot) just move at a faster pace- always somewhere to go, someone to meet, etc etc. I grew up with Sunday being church then sitting on the porch.
And as far as the cashiers, it obviously depends but generally speaking I’ve found the exchanges in the NE to be much more brief, impersonal and impolite. Like when you check out a the grocery down here, you talk/joke/etc. Up there it’s a You-Scan and you’re lucky to find a person. (In my experience, that is.)
Addie Pray November 5, 2013, 5:27 pm
You know what’s weird? I don’t mind when service providers are chatty or not chatty at all, I usually let them set the pace in terms of whether we’re going to be chatty or not. *But* know what I can’t stand? Chatty hairstylists. I don’t know why, but I can’t stand it when as soon as my ass hits the chair they start with the weather, where I’m from, if I’m married, etc. etc. and I freeze up and take on a “I’m not chatty” personality. I think it’s because what I’m thinking is “aha! i know you don’t really care you just think this is good business and I’m not falling for it!” I always request the stylists who do my hair in complete silence. I feel they’re more honest that way. I don’t know if that makes sense.
theattack November 5, 2013, 5:32 pm
hahaha, AP. That’s hilarious about the hair stylists! Good luck finding that type at all here. If Southerners have bad hair cuts, it’s because we all have to find a stylist who we can be practically friends with, sometimes at the expense of being good at cutting hair.
the_optimist November 5, 2013, 5:42 pm
I have to second Wendy’s NYC comment. I’d also like to add that most New York City abodes are rather tiny, so trying to squeeze out of the space you’re in in the first place is sometimes a small victory itself. By the time I’ve miraculously reached the door it’s all I can do to muster a weak goodbye to the group before I peace out.
Matcha November 6, 2013, 4:07 pm
The way I see it, I’ll look at the time and mention, “Yeah, so I should probably go soon.” If it’s a medium sized gathering (big enough that others won’t be bored without the host, but small enough that I can spend a lot of time with the host without taking time away from too many people), we’ll just walk reaaaalllly slowly to the door while I talk about what we should do next time we meet up. Then we’ll get off topic, someone(s) will jump into the conversation too. We spend another 20 minutes chatting while standing at the door and then I take off.
If it’s a big party and I know everyone, I just pop into a room/groups and say, “Hey, I’m leaving. Nice to see you, Chris. Lisa, let me know about that thing you’re doing next week.” Etc. Then rinse and repeat.
If it’s a big party and I don’t know many people, I say goodbye to people I’m close to or people I made friends with.
Lindsay November 5, 2013, 7:14 pm
I don’t have kids, so maybe I can’t understand, but I never felt super bothered by goodbyes when I lived in NYC. I think it also might have to do with the fact that I didn’t have a ton of friends, so when I was at a party, I usually just had to say goodbye to a couple huddles of people, rather than saying goodbye to every single attendee at a party.
bethany November 5, 2013, 3:52 pm
I’m with you. It’s one thing to say goodbye to the host, but to go around to every single person at a party and say bye? I don’t think so. I mean, if it’s a 10 person dinner party, duh, you say goodbye to everyone, but if there are 50+ people at a party? No thank you.
Fabelle November 5, 2013, 3:53 pm
Especially if there are repercussions like how TA described. That makes it even more of a chore (for me, anyway. Because it’s like, “Damn it, I must say goodbye OR ELSE”)
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:57 pm
No no no, it’s not like that. It’s just like any other time you fail to do something that’s socially expected of you. It’s not like a punishment or something.
bethany November 5, 2013, 4:02 pm
“Fail to do something that’s socially expected of you”??? Like what?
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:05 pm
Anything. Cutting into someone else’s birthday cake first. Stepping in front of someone in a buffet line. Wearing your muddy boots into someone’s house when they all take their shoes off at the door. Failing to say thank you when someone cooks you dinner. Take your pick. Just anything. It’s not like a weird, systematic thing where you’ll be cursed if you mess something up. It’s just that it’s a common courtesy that’s expected like anything else.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 4:16 pm
Yeah, I totally hear you and understand what you’re saying. It’s as expected as saying please and thank you.
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:22 pm
It definitely is. It’s really kind of a thank you on its own too, even to everyone who just provided you with good company.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 4:26 pm
Yes! When else would you say “It was so nice to catch up!” or a million other little tid-bits that need to be said. Haha. I guess it’s a cultural thing.
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:34 pm
Right. I also think this functions as a venue to let someone know how important they are to you. Not that it has to, or that a short goodbye means you don’t care, but people use it a lot to express heartfelt feelings in real time that they don’t otherwise say. It’s awkward to stop your awesome conversation to tell someone how much you love talking to them and how funny they are, but it’s natural, uplifting, and bonding to say it as you’re leaving.
starpattern November 5, 2013, 5:03 pm
I’m nodding along with everything you say, TA! It’s just a regional culture thing, and it’s no big deal when you’re used to doing it. It’s part of the flow of socializing.
meadowphoenix November 5, 2013, 5:34 pm
Yeah, I get this must be more of a locational or cultural thing, but I don’t feel like having a social obligation to say goodbye is like any of those other things at all.
Like if I were to go into social “policy” reasons why those other things are rude, not saying goodbye doesn’t fit.
That said, I’m pretty sure my grandparents and my mother do in fact do this goodbye ritual. I’m foregoing.
starpattern November 5, 2013, 6:31 pm
Well, the birthday cake thing is actually a very good example, in my opinion. It’s just the social protocol. Culturally, we value birthdays, and the birthday person getting the first slice is part of the celebration ritual – there is no real logical reason for it. In areas of the South like where TA and I are from, this kind of saying ‘bye is part of the social contract – we value the people and the saying ‘bye ritual is part of showing it, even if there is no real logical reason for it. Nobody’s going to slap the premature cake slicer or the person who doesn’t say ‘bye – but it’s seen as a little antisocial and weird, and especially if it’s older folks you’re dealing with, they might start to think you don’t like them all that much if you just duck out without saying ‘bye every time they see you.
theattack November 5, 2013, 3:54 pm
I get that it sounds exhausting, but you would really rather just not go to any events at all ever?
bethany November 5, 2013, 4:03 pm
And am I supposed to say goodbye to people I don’t even know? Cause I sure as shit am not doing that.
theattack November 5, 2013, 4:08 pm
Well not really, unless it’s someone who was introduced to you at the party and you spent more than a minute talking to. Usually you just quickly tell those people you enjoyed meeting them and hope you see them again soon, and if you really had fun with them you might make some quick jokes or something. My mom’s cousin likes to tell everyone she just meets “If you feel your ears burning, it’s because I’m telling everyone all about you and how fun you were!”
Matcha November 6, 2013, 3:58 pm
I do some in between hybrid. If it’s a large party, I look at my watch, go “Look at the time!” and whoever I’ve been hanging out with at the party gets a mass “See ya next time.” Then I make my way over to the host, say, “This was awesome. Thanks for inviting me over.”
Sara November 5, 2013, 5:19 pm
This is mostly how we roll where I’m from, too. But we just plan it into the party. And we don’t know any different. So it just feels normal. Like, if you want to leave at 11, you start preparing for departure at 10:30. But it doesn’t feel like a chore. It just feels good to small-talk one last time to people who are important to you. And, yeah, we skip the people we don’t know here, too.
rosie posie November 5, 2013, 3:34 pm
I typically say goodbye to the host, although if it’s a large party and they are tied up with someone I will make eye contact and give them the nod.
mylaray November 5, 2013, 3:43 pm
At a reasonably sized gathering, I say goodbye to everyone before I leave. My fiancé hates this as it can take a long time to leave. But I couldn’t imagine leaving a party without saying goodbye to the hosts, at a bare minimum. It doesn’t take that much effort in my opinion to quickly thank someone, but I would think it’s rude if someone left a party I was hosting without saying goodbye. I would wonder what happened to them or if I did something wrong to make them leave without saying anything.
TECH November 5, 2013, 3:46 pm
I think basic manners dictate that you say ‘Good bye’ and ‘Thank you’ to the host of the party, since they went to the trouble and expense to invite you and host the event.
But you can get your good bye brief, “Thank you, I had a great time, but I have to get going.”
I don’t even see why this is an issue.
katie November 5, 2013, 3:47 pm
the thing i hate about saying good bye is actually being like “ok, im leaving now”. everyone is always like “ohhhh, you are?? stay for another drink!” which i get is just them being nice and everything, but then i feel guilty and i dont want to go, and then i stay too late, bla bla bla.
i would totally do this if it was cool. i mean id probably feel bad about it, but i already hate the “ok, im heading out” conversation anyway, so i guess the whole interaction just sucks in general.
Fabelle November 5, 2013, 3:51 pm
Yes, exactly, that’s why I hate it. It’s never just a “okay, heading out, bye”— people will still chat, ask you to stay, etc. & if you’re saying ROUNDS of goodbyes, then it’s that X10, & I just can’t. Especially with a chatty S/O, who I keep trying to train (don’t flip out at my use of the word “train” guys, I’m being joke-y) to be like, “WELP… bye!” (smile, wave, turn on the heel & ~walk away~ no pausing).
Has anyone ever gotten caught Irish goodbye-ing? I have. I was running to my car, & I heard someone be like, “Fabelle! Fabelle!” but I just kept running, haha
Ele4phant November 5, 2013, 3:53 pm
Pretty much you should always say goodbye. I think an exception would be of it was some huge party and the host was wasn’t a close friend. So really, a big keggar or something is the only time it’s acceptable. But otherwise, I think you need to tell the host you’re taking off, and thank them for having you.
I do think, however, it’s totally fine to leave without saying goodbye to every other guest. Make sure the host is thanked, and if people stop you on your way out by all means say goodbye, but you don’t have to individually say goodbye to everyone.
lets_be_honest November 5, 2013, 4:05 pm
My uncle is known for the irish goodbye. Most extreme story: We were at a wedding, outside smoking waiting for the valet to bring the cars and we’re chit chatting and his car pulls up and just gets in it and leaves. Doesn’t even say goodbye and I am literally standing right next to him. Strangest thing ever.
Fabelle November 5, 2013, 4:11 pm
One time a group of friends & I took the train to a bar town nearby, & we were all outside smoking a cigarette halfway through the night (after going to a few places, drinking, etc.) when we turn around to see our one friend hopping into a cab. We texted her like, “What the hell, Gina, did you go home?” & she’s like, “yeah” haha
(Sorry I’m just telling random stories now, but basically, the Irish goodbye is considered unexpected-in-the-moment-but-generally-fine in my circle?)
iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2013, 4:24 pm
Oh man I did this ALL THE TIME in college. Like I would get to a certain level of drunkeness and decided I needed to no longer be around people so I would just go home and not tell anyone. I think subconsciously I did it because my friends would have tried to talk me into staying out later and I KNEW I needed to go home. I was kind of notorious for pulling the disappearing act actually. I remember one friend said that she could eventually figure out this face that I would have where she knew I was about to bolt. Like she could see me plotting my escape. I miss college.
Fabelle November 5, 2013, 4:39 pm
Ahh you just reminded me of one of the most asshole things I did in college— & it was because of that whole “I’m too drunk to be around people thing” you’re describing, haha.
My roommate & I had a bunch of people drinking over our dorm, & I got to That Point, so when everybody was like, “we’re heading downstairs for a cigarette”, I drunkenly & deviously was like, “I’m okay, go ahead.” Then as soon as everybody left, I locked the door behind them & passed out (I knew they could go down the hall to chill, but still). The next day I was just like, “huhhhh, what are you talking about? You guys were locked out?”
iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2013, 4:46 pm
Yeah it’s weird. I’m not very good at using my communication skills while wasted. Weird.
iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2013, 5:08 pm
Also if that’s your biggest asshole story, you’re a really sweet person. Either that or I was a terrorist in high school/college. Take your pick.
GatorGirl November 5, 2013, 4:10 pm
I picked a few different options, what I do is mostly dependent on the audience/size of gathering.
In GGuy’s Southern family it would be BEYOND rude to leave a gathering of any size with out saying goodbye to each and every person there. Sometimes you say goodbye twice! There are lots of hugs, some kisses, lots of “love yous!”
With our friend group, it’s pretty common to say goodbye to the host and then like a big “bye everyone!” said loudly from the door.
In my side of the family, I say goodbye to the people I like and ignore the rest. But that’s how all of my interactions with them go.
rachel November 5, 2013, 6:15 pm
Oh, see, family is different too. I can’t imagine leaving a family gathering without saying goodbye to people.
jlyfsh November 5, 2013, 4:49 pm
It depends on the party. I say good bye to the host and the people I’m talking to right before I leave most parties. If its a small ‘party’ I would just make a statement, it’s getting late I’m leaving good-bye. I mean I don’t think it sounds that curt when I say it in real life 😉 I usually email the host or send a thank you of some sort depending on our relationship. Like some are fine with a text others I know getting a note means a lot to them. I don’t know I don’t really think I’ve thought about this before now. Also a lot of people do cheek kiss here, but not if they don’t know you well.
Lindsay November 5, 2013, 7:10 pm
I find it pretty rude. Maybe some hosts don’t, but I know that if I started realizing people left without saying goodbye, I’d be offended or at least think they lacked manners.
I read the article yesterday, and I thought the reasoning was kind of stupid. First of all, if you don’t like making awkward goodbyes, then don’t be awkward. Just say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know I’m leaving. Thanks for having me. Goodnight!” Also, the idea that emailing an apology/thank-you is a replacement only makes sense if you do it once, but if you find yourself apologizing three times to the same person for ditching their party without saying goodbye, then it’s just going to look weird.
Lindsay November 5, 2013, 7:12 pm
Also, I date a guy once who was really fond of doing this, and honestly, it just boiled down to the fact that he was really pompous and also bad at being social.
Miss MJ November 5, 2013, 7:35 pm
I grew up in the South and I still live there and the only time I do the good-byes to everyone thing is at family functions. I hate it. It’s kind of awkward, it takes forever, you always get sidetracked and half the time you get roped into doing something else you really don’t want to do, but you can’t really say no. For work or friend get togethers or other social functions of more than a handful of people, I will say good-bye to the group of people I am talking to when it is time to leave, maybe find someone I needed to follow up with or didn’t get to say hello to, and try to find the host to say good-bye. If the host is unavailable or talking to someone else, I will leave without interrupting, follow up with a thank you/had a great time email or text and not think twice about it. And that’s what everyone else I know does, too. Except for family functions. Then it’s the long, drawn out good-bye!
Sue Jones November 5, 2013, 7:35 pm
I leave without saying goodbye often at a big party, when I am tired and ready to go. I may tell a few friends that I am going, but don’t draw it out. And sometimes the host/hostess is deep in conversation and I do not want to interrupt. If it is a small gathering of course I say goodbye and thank the host. But otherwise I need to go when I get tired and I will often text or email the host the next day to thank her/him for the wonderful party.
Sue Jones November 6, 2013, 12:38 am
I am originally from the NE, and now I live in the mountain west where there are tons of NE transplants. Funny, but when I visit the NE (suburban Philly!) where I grew up, I love being around people who talk like me, think like me, etc. I don’t think we are being rude, just to the point. We all get it. When I go to a party I ALWAYS bring my car because when I am done socializing (introvert here!) I am done and really just need my space and alone time to decompress. I remember being hostage to other people’s rides in my past, staying way past my cranky limit, and it was not fun. So now, after an evening of socializing at a big party, when I am ready to leave, I quickly slip out, maybe wave to the host. And that is it. And I agree with Wendy on the childcare issues.
Imsostartled November 5, 2013, 8:03 pm
Does anyone ever get an itch to do something rude? I generally try to be very polite and would never actually do an “Irish Goodbye” but I was like oh, that would be so sweet, I really wish I could be rude sometimes!! hahaha Seriously, I wish I had enough balls to jump in line, or flip someone off, etc, but I never would because I would feel SOOOO bad, but I wish that I wouldn’t? Does that make sense? Actually it sounds like I’d like to be a sociopath without any guilt. 😛
I generally don’t go to large parties where I think it’d be ok to leave without saying goodbye to everyone, but my husbands family generally has big get-togethers and everyone spends about 30-40 minutes saying goodbye. For me it gets really tiring, like you have to keep this weird smile on your face and it starts to hurt, but your ride is still saying goodbye so you can’t bolt. However, I don’t think that if someone just left or just said goodbye to the host anyone would be angry or think badly of them in the future. That seems really silly to me, people might not like goodbye’s or have something important to do. In fact I find it rude that people would judge others by that standard. Live and let live people.
theattack November 5, 2013, 8:27 pm
Who is judging anyone for it?
Imsostartled November 5, 2013, 8:48 pm
I’m sorry TA, but when you said “I would most definitely be talked about for doing it and then categorized as unfriendly and disinterested in everyone from then on.” ,that is the epitome of judgement in my opinion.
theattack November 5, 2013, 8:56 pm
I mean, I was exaggerating a bit. People would think it was a little stand offish, but it’s not judgmental.
katie November 5, 2013, 11:18 pm
yea, this is how i feel about the whole thing too. like, if it was acceptable, id totally do it. but its not, so i just wishfully think about it. haha
Emily November 5, 2013, 8:54 pm
I always say goodbye (and thank you!) to the hosts. But I don’t go around saying goodbye to all the people at the party. I just vanish. POOF!
Samantha November 5, 2013, 10:59 pm
I don’t think it’s always bad. If your host is otherwise engaged, it seems rude and self-serving to interrupt them to say good-bye, especially at a large gathering.
If it’s a birthday or a smaller gathering, I definitely try to do one last round of well-wishing, but who cares? No one remembers your good-bye, just that you were there.
I host people quite a lot, and if it’s a larger party, I’d definitely rather people just leave when they’re comfortable leaving. I’d feel bad if people thought they had an obligation to me or to our friendship or to my perception of them and stayed longer. Honestly, I didn’t realize this was a big deal until I read the Slate article yesterday. I guess I’m a total barbarian.
Nookie November 6, 2013, 6:39 am
Does it count as a good bye if you’re asked to leave? 😉
thatgirl November 6, 2013, 12:16 pm
Definitely off the hook for a long, drawn out goodbye!!
Miss MJ November 6, 2013, 3:45 pm
No way. If you’re asked to leave, you might as well make it a super special, extra long good-bye! 😉
SasLinna November 6, 2013, 6:47 am
I haven’t read all the comments, but I think this is truly 100% culturally relative. As in, if you live in a place where leaving without saying goodbye is considered OK, you’re not going to be perceived as rude if you do it. If, on the other hand, you live in a place where saying goodbye is customary, you’re definitely going to be perceived as rude if you don’t do it. I tend to try to adapt to my environment with this and observe how others do it. I wouldn’t leave a party without saying goodbye if I suspected people may consider it rude (exceptions: super tired, emergency etc), but I would if it were clear that no one would consider it rude. I don’t think there’s any basis for saying it’s objectively rude or not rude to do a french exit, people are just expressing their cultural standards.
theattack November 6, 2013, 10:38 am
“I don’t think there’s any basis for saying it’s objectively rude or not rude to do a french exit, people are just expressing their cultural standards.”
Yes, exactly. Every single time I say that people do things a certain way where I live, it’s interpreted as me saying that everything else is pure evil, and it’s not. Just do whatever you’re comfortable with wherever you live.
thatgirl November 6, 2013, 12:15 pm
I don’t do this at a party so much as at a bar, or industry event. In someone’s home, it would be very rude. But out with a bunch of friends/coworkers…when I’m done, I leave. Usually this is at a bar or a club. I got tired of saying goodbye and hearing “No, stay!!”
I hope that doesn’t make me horribly rude, though.
MsMisery November 6, 2013, 1:51 pm
Even with as much social anxiety as I have, I cannot imagine doing this. I don’t host events, but thinking back to parties I have been to, I’ve always sayd goodbye to the host and people I know and enjoy. I have never been to a party where I didn’t know the host, so that’s never been an issue. Even if I am in an inebriated state and I just loudly announce I AM LEAVING Y’ALL (exaggerated wave), I still say something, just so the host or my friends don’t think I died in a closet or was abducted or something. You don’t have to say goodbye to EVERYONE and you don’t have to give your life story.
Sil June 11, 2017, 5:19 pm
I just did it. Went to a family boring party. Said hello to everyone. Looked like I was not welcome. A lot of that same silly nonsense talk. Im fed up. “Hi, good to see you” and the person move to another one to talk after just saying hi to me. Its how it goes at all the family parties. Today I walked back to my car and left the event. I didnt care to say goodbye or explain how fed up Im with all this family “celebrations” of adults birthday, kids birthday, mothers and fathers days, hight school graduation, aniversary dinner… give me a break. NY summer is only 8 weekends if its not raining or non sunny. And I waste most of my 8 summers sundays at this boring parties. I walked out happy that I did it and mad that i drove 50 minutes to get there and another 50 to come back home. Yes leave the party and go home if it was boring.
K June 12, 2017, 11:06 am
You sound like you’re in my family, haha. We have lots of those celebrations too, and even though they’re for my aunts/uncles/cousins, etc., I’m tired of them.
Bittergaymark June 12, 2017, 10:39 am
PS — Hah. This is oh so long ago. But I meant say goodbye to the HOSTS! Not each and every soul at the party. Just a quick hug and thanks for a fantastic time. To turn half an hour of an event into your goodbye tour is so NOT necessary!! Or polite!! 😉
Monsieur P October 15, 2018, 9:30 pm
For me, saying goodbye means you care. The time we have with each other is precious, so if you like the person at all, take time to close the loop. Beyond that, it’s just plain nice to acknowledge another person. I also stand to shake hands with people when they walk in the room and stop to let laddies walk through the door first, cuz it’s sexy as hell. That’s my contribution to make a better world and fight douchbaggery in San Francisco!