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How to end a house party

Assuming that you actually like your friends, throwing a party is exciting and fun. We’ve discussed before on the blog about how to throw a great summer BBQ party. There are whole stores dedicated to throwing parties. They are a well-documented phenomenon. But, what about ending a party?

If you’ve ever been stuck with a 3am straggler, who just wants to have “one more,” while you just want to go to bed, then you know why it’s important to know how to end a party. You can pre-empt a lot of the stress by setting time frames. However, who really pays attention to those when they are four margaritas in? For those instances when no one except you is ready to wrap up the shenanigans, here are some ideas to end a party without being rude.

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The Taper:

The first step in ending a party is the subtle art of The Taper. This is where you start gathering up dishes, and put away food. Maybe you put a pot of coffee on. You change the music playlist or turn it off (or, maybe, play that recording of your eleven-year-old learning the recorder!). You might even consider playing with lighting. The two keys here are subtlety, and lead-time. You want to create a sense of finality, without making anyone feel like they need to apologize for overstaying their welcome. Start this step about thirty minutes before you start getting annoyed, so people have time to get the message.

However, some of them still won’t. That means it might be time for The Yawn.

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The Yawn:

Most of the party goers probably got your clear hint during The Taper. But, maybe there’s one guest left who is determined to watch the sunrise with you. In this case, we require stage two. The Yawn is a bit more obvious than The Taper. As the name suggests, this is where you start doing exaggerated yawns – the big kinds, with arms stretched as far overhead as you can manage. A shake of the head. A deep sigh. And then the kicker: “Wow, am I ever tired. I think I need to go to bed.”

You aren’t being rude, but you are being super clear – the party is over and it is time for everyone to leave. And, leave they do. Except… DID YOU JUST POUR ANOTHER WINE SUSAN? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?

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The Door Trick:

Tact hasn’t worked. Susan is still here with a fresh glass of wine. So, what now? The obvious answer might be, “tell Susan it is time to leave.” But, we don’t like to trade in obvious on this blog. The much more unexpected, and considerably more fun way to deal with Stage Three Resistors is to give them the ol’ Door Trick. It works like this:

Cock your head to one side. Put your finger to your lips to silence everyone while you listen. Go to the door, open it, and gasp. Shout, “what is that?” while pointing outside. When they inevitably can’t see what you’re pointing at, tell them to step outside for a closer look. As soon as they are over the threshold, throw them their coat and close the door.

There. Party over. You’re welcome.