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The Party’s Over So Please Leave Already

05 Jan

Ever been plagued by guests who won’t leave? So annoying. The party ended at 2 am and it’s 3:15 am and they’re just hanging around like they’re waiting for daybreak and you want to get to bed. Not necessarily guests from hell – you know the ones who just seem to do everything to rub you the wrong way and get on your last nerve – but the ones who are nice enough or even downright sweet or charming. People who you probably like but they just won’t leave. What do you do? My friend Sean the joker says when it’s past 2 am and you feel nauseous from being overtired and can’t stop yawning; some man is babbling on about his accomplishments, and his woman hasn’t the guts to tell him it’s time to go home, stand up, stretch, yawn, tell your spouse to make coffee for the morning while you put out the cat and then go put on your pajamas while she puts on her nightie. If they still won’t take a hint, turn out the lights.

Though I rather like his methods I don’t know if I’d want to resort to this sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong it would probably work, but I gave the matter some thought and figured that there must be some strategies I could undertake to “push them out the door” at an acceptable hour while still remaining on their “friends” (and party)list. Here at Warner & Company we believe in maintaining healthy social relationships, so I am going to pass on to you some strategies that even the shyest, most polite, or non-confrontational person can pull this off. Remember it is your house (or room, or rented location etc…), your party, and therefore it should follow your time frame!

1) Start early to prep persons to leave as soon as the event is over. Make small talk with several small groups. Since it’s your shin-dig, they will inevitable tell you how nice, fun, original etc it is. This is your opportunity to let them know the time frame for them to exit. Try: “Thanks, this is fun, I wish it could go all night (day, afternoon, whatever) but unfortunately I have a meeting/appointment at (insert time minus two hours so it seems really early).” This will alert the guests ahead of time that the party will be ending early so the end of the night won’t sneak up on them. Remember you don’t have to tell everyone, just a few groups of people. As they mingle, word will travel fast. This is sure to work because we all know how Jamaicans love to chat out already.  Any bit of new information doesn’t rest with solely the learner of it for very long and you could even do a countdown as to when exactly they’ll start laying it all out.

2) Be polite. Sometimes just flicking the lights on and off to get people’s attention (and let them know it’s not Jamaica Public Service up to its usual lights out antics) and explaining why the party is over will do the trick. Be sure to thank them for coming.

3) Appoint your closest friend/confidant as the gatekeeper. It becomes his/her job to shoo everyone out of your place. It helps to have someone supporting you in this sometimes uncomfortable task. You know what? I think this would be a job for Sean. His caustic comedian style would auger well for a speedy emptying of the place.

4) Subtly convince people that they don’t want to be at the party any longer. Invest in/rent a karaoke machine. Challenge your guests to see who can do the best rendition of “Hotel California” or some other song you think will bore them. But first ensure that it’s not a karaoke-loving group or this strategy might backfire. That done, all things being equal, after an exciting pumping party, nobody wants to hang around for karaoke. Another strategy to try is to announce that it’s time to watch home movies of yourself as a small child or of you daughter/son performing in their prep school’s end-of-term staging of “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, etc. Watch them fight to get through the gate then!

5) Stop serving alcohol about an hour and a half before you wish people to leave. Offer coffee about an hour to thirty minutes before you want them to start filing out – and make it so strong they’ll be sober and alert enough to drive in about two minutes. When it come to the “kicking out” time, don’t be mean, but be firm. And if anybody gives you trouble they are probably not really your friends. As far as I am concerned, my friends should respect my space and me. Before starting to toss people out, ask yourself if you’ve ever been in their shoes as the last person at a party and this will help to give you some perspective on the matter and allow you to show some leniency in that odd situation that just might call for it. If, for example, you’re dealing with a drunk and disorderly straggler and you know that this has been you at some point in the past, have another drink unless you want to be a hypocrite (but make sure they only have coffee and water so that they’ll hopefully be able to leave no later than daybreak). This party’s going all night. And when it comes down to it, they are your friend and you wouldn’t want them to drive off in that state and have an accident. You might just be saving a life.

The final strategy I want to give to you is from the popular “Miss Manners”, who gives advice on just about everything under the sun and has several published books to underscore this fact. Followers of hers are sure to like this bit of advice. And even if you’re not her follower, listen up anyway; you’re sure to learn something.) In her delicate and refined style she says: The least subtle way to get rid of guests that is still polite is to say goodbye to them. This is done almost as if you were the ones who were leaving. You stand up, approach them, and say, “It was wonderful having you here. We must do this soon again.” If you remain standing in front of them, Miss Manners promises that they will arise, too, and then you can slowly walk toward the door. At the last minute, remember that you live there, and do not go out. Now that’s class!

 

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