What Should You Do When Your Guests Won't Leave?

What Should You Do When Your Guests Won't Leave?

Dana Velden
Mar 23, 2012

The evening was fabulous, from the before dinner cocktails to the last dollop of creme anglaise licked off the dessert spoon. And now you and your guests are lingering around the table, talking, winding down, finishing the last of the wine. An hour later, they're still there, still talking, still lingering and they don't look like they're at all ready to leave. It's getting late, you're tired, you still have the clean up to do and you have to get up early tomorrow morning.

Much of the response likely depends on who you're entertaining. If it's old friends, the blunt route is easier. But if the new boss is your dinner guest, then you may just have to suffer until they finally make their way out the door. Here are a few other things you can do to gently hurry folks along:

Don't change venues. If you're at the table, stay at the table. People will get restless and may initiate leaving on their own. That said, a suggestion to move to the living room may be just the opportunity for people to decide to leave. You'll have to feel this one out.

Hint. Mention your early appointment for tomorrow morning or that you didn't get much sleep last night. Discreetly (but not too discreetly) muffle a yawn.

Start the Ball Rolling. Sigh a satisfied sounding sigh, place your hands on the table like you're just about to stand up, smile broadly to everyone and say in a friendly tone, "Well!"

Related: Proper Etiquette: Would You Serve Leftovers to Guests?

(Image: Mad Men)

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