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Leaving Early: A Primer

November 1, 2016


I am the person who leaves early. Before the event is over. Long before other people start thinking about leaving. I get a notion. I get itchy. I get bored. I get tired. I get, as my sister would say “cooked.”

If you need to leave early, here is my expert advice

Do not telegraph your moves. Be stealthy. Take a moment to map the escape route, carefully considering everything you need to do on your way out.

  • Spring suddenly into action, alerting as few people as possible. The longer you dilly-dally, the more “Oh, don’t go!” steam can build up. Speed is key.
  • Explain very little. “I’m sorry, I have to go,” is perfect. No one can come up with a counter-argument and you are left looking like an international person of mystery. Or maybe someone with irritable bowel syndrome. Who knows?
  • Do not argue if someone tries to stop you. Keep moving swiftly and silently toward the exit. If someone asks “Why are you leaving?” just give a sad little shake of your head and say “I’m sorry.”
  • Do NOT be pulled into long goodbyes. If someone says “You must say goodbye to Uncle Kevin,” just say “Oh, please tell him goodbye for me. He’ll understand.”

That’s it. Swift, silent, mysterious. It may seem hard and awkward at first, but believe me, in 5 minutes, they will have forgotten you left, and you’ll be breathing free air. Good luck.

  1. November 1, 2016 23:05

    I ghost. I arrive after the first drink and leave as the third is starting. Everyone’s warm and happy and no one notices that I’ve left, they all think I’m chatting with someone else. Never say goodbye – then they know you’ve left early.

  2. cindymaddera permalink
    November 2, 2016 06:20

    I used to longingly look at the door when I was stuck in a science seminar that had gone on too long. Now, when the speaker goes over their allotted time, I quietly stand up and walk out the door. It feels so liberating!

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