Monday, July 8, 2013


An Argument for the "Irish Goodbye"

We all agree it’s fun to say hello. A hello has the bright promise of a beginning. It’s the perfect occasion to express your genuine pleasure at a friend’s arrival. But who among us enjoys saying goodbye? None among us! Not those leaving, and not those left behind.

Goodbyes are, by their very nature, at least a mild bummer. They represent the waning of an evening or event. By the time we get to them, we’re often tired, drunk, or both. The short-timer just wants to go home to bed, while the night owl would prefer not to acknowledge the growing lateness of the hour. 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.

Over at Slate, Seth Stevenson makes the case for the Irish Goodbye/ French Exit/ the Ghost/ Leaving Without Saying Goodbye Because You're A Little Drunk And The Whole Charade Just Seems Like Quite A Burden Right Now, Honestly.

Do you Ghost? I do, every now and then, and then I just end up apologizing for it the next day. When you've had just enough gin you can really convince yourself that you're saving everybody essential time and trouble. But I know my grandmother would not approve.

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Haha! I didn't know there was a name for this--I do it all the time, especially at family events! (That sounds terrible of me, I know.) I make sure to tell Grandma I'm out (because when one is in her 40s and still has a grandma, one wants to be careful) and maybe my mom or sister. Then I run!


@Hellcat - Yes! My strategy! I make sure to tell one or two people, like my brother or my mom, then I'm out. My family knows I love them, they don't need that little bummer/spectacle in the middle of the party.


@Hellcat ~Oh,Unbelievable~~ My best friend Elena has just married to a cool black man. They fall in love through~~IntërracialFìshes. ℂoм ~This is a Specialized Online Interracial Dating Services. For black women meet white men, black men dating white women. Meet interracial singles living in your local area or in countries around the world. .)If you are single, worth a try.eryery


I do this pretty much all the time, mostly becuase by the time I am ready to leave a party, I am REALLY READY to leave and not be social anymore, and goodbyes take forever and aren't nearly as fun as hellos. Basically all the reasons you just outlined. I do try to say thank you to the host (unless we're at a bar)! And I don't usually feel bad when other people leave without saying goodbye either, unless I'm the host. So at least I'm not hypocritical? Do other people think this is rude?

fondue with cheddar

@causedbycomma Saying goodbye to the host is essential, and it's probably a good idea to say goodbye to the guests you're closest to, but I don't think it's rude not to say goodbye to everyone.


@causedbycomma I'm the same. When it's time to leave it's TIME TO LEAVE. I always make a point to say goodbye to the host unless they're super wrapped up in something and I really, really have to go, in which case I flag down the next best person (usually the host's significant other) and ask them to say goodbye on my behalf.


@causedbycomma I feel like it's a good idea to say goodbye to the host/person whose party it is (if you're at a bar) and the people who will notice you've left. The last party I was at, I'm pretty sure half the people had forgotten my name before I left (I had certainly forgotten theirs) so I didn't feel like I needed to make an rounds.


@causedbycomma Same here---when I want to leave, it's usually pretty sudden, & I won't feel like getting into all the drawn out goodbyes. I've definitely ghosted parties... a lot. Or literally RAN AWAY so nobody would see me.

Roxanne Rholes

@causedbycomma This is absolutely the correct call! I love to just find the host/hostess and say "hey, thanks so much for inviting me, I had a great time and I'm going to sneak out so I don't have to say long goodbyes to everyone! Let's chat soon! Bye!" because when I don't see people leave my (smaller) parties, I sometimes wonder when they left or if something happened that I missed.

fondue with cheddar

That's why I love cold-weather parties, because when you have your jacket on it's a signal to everyone that you're leaving, so when people see you they will more often than not stop their conversation and say goodbye to you.

When I can hold out long enough, I prefer to be among the last to leave so there are fewer people to say goodbye to (but early enough so as not to piss off the host). That or I leave at the same time as someone else so I can say my goodbyes in the wake of theirs.

Ha, I had an Irish friend in college who was always the last to leave a party. He didn't take ANY hints short of, "Dude, get out of here, NOW," and even then it still took at least 20 minutes before he got out the door. He was a good guy and everyone enjoyed his company, but boy did he like to talk.


@fondue with cheddar Your Irish friend is like my Irish family - we are ALL terrible at quick goodbyes! Saying "Ok, it's time for me to scoot" is just a preamble to another 20-30 minutes of gossip, maybe one last top-up of your beverage (which is just as likely to be tea as booze, really!). After the first goodbye attempt, you're allowed to put your jacket on and grab your bag, but then you have to make the rounds and hug/kiss everyone and "Bye, Ma, love ya" turns into a 15 minute lecture from Ma about being safe on the road and call when you get in and then THAT turns into a tangent about the best way to get home, and traffic conditions and then, maybe, finally, a good hour or so after you intended to leave you might be allowed to go. If you're lucky. I'm not sure it'd be possible to "ghost" from a party with my family. (Though I do it often when my roommates have folks over, so I'm not unfamiliar with the practice.)

fondue with cheddar

@Jinxie So basically you have plan on saying goodbye before you actually want to leave. :)


Oh you mean "the Swayze"?


@stuffisthings YES. It's harder to explain it to people who don't listen to hip-hop now that P-Sway has left us for the great Kellerman's in the sky, though.


@cinnamonskin I feel like Lazy Sunday made "the Swayze" a cross-cultural thing, right? I don't have to explain it anymore?


I started doing this occasionally at parties when I was tired, and it became my thing that I do at every social event ever. Once no one is looking I am out the door. It never occurred to me that anyone would care if I slipped out of a party.

But I also have a tendency of just going to bed if I am hosting a party at my house and it's too late and everyone is doing fine. So don't listen to me.


@mooseketeer I seriously wish I could just go to sleep at parties I am hosting sometimes. Sleep. It's the best.


@causedbycomma there is nothing better on earth than going to bed!

Probably going to bed early at your own party only works if you are the right amount of drunk and have roommates or live with your partner.


@mooseketeer I am notorious for throwing fancy dinner parties...and then getting so tired during dessert I just go to bed. This worked well when I had a partner who could stay up and continue to host, but last time I had a simpler dinner party for three that ended with many margaritas, and around 10:30 pm I realized I was done. So, I topped up their glasses, said "thanks for coming over - shut the door on your way out" and went to bed. Given I'm a darn good cook and make a decent margarita, no one appears to have held it against me.


@swirrlygrrl I find that falling asleep on the couch, then getting up to "go to the bathroom" and ending up in your bedroom works just as well as an announcement. This only works if you have nice friends who like you, which is all you should have anyways.


@mooseketeer HAHAHAH I do this! I didn't know anybody else did it! It's easier now, because the boy can take care of late-guests, but I used to just pyjamas and mug of tea myself away and leave people to it.


If I'm in a bar, and suitably tipsy, I am not above standing in the doorway and yelling, "See ya, suckers!"

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat "Goodbye losers, whom I've always hated!"


@fondue with cheddar But you use proper grammar, so it's not as offensive as it could be. :)


@fondue with cheddar My sister said that I also have a tendency to abruptly stand up, grab by stuff, and go, "OK, bye!" That seems really rude but I can't say I don't believe her.

fondue with cheddar

@causedbycomma Haha, thanks! While I do know the proper usage of who/whom, it's actually a quote from Futurama. Bender doesn't strike me as the type to use proper English, but there you go. ;)

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat That's actually kind of adorable. :)


@fondue with cheddar Quoting from Futurama makes it automatically okay...


@fondue with cheddar I knew someone somewhere would understand me--especially someone whose name has a WHAS reference in it. (Also, I meant to type "my [not "by"] stuff" above).

fondue with cheddar

@Hellcat The best sudden goodbye (which is also sort of a hello) ever might be yelling, "Hey guys, wait up!" and standing with your face against a wall.


@Hellcat Yeah, "stand at the doorway and yell" always works well for me, but my friends are all apartment-dwellers so we're always in the same room anyway.


@Hellcat And when your spouse/SO/Friend is being all slowski about the goodbyes, you can resort to "LET'S GO ALREAAAADDDYYYYYY!"


@angermonkey God, that reminds me of when I was a kid and my parents would be like, "okay, get ready to go!" and then stand there for 20 minutes doing the goodbye small talk thing. And I mean, I get why they did it, because kids are a pain in the ass to get moving sometimes, but I was a shy kid and I was usually more than ready to go home anyway.


@SarcasticFringehead My boyfriend does a variation of this! I think it's to make people think I am the one ending ye olde good tyme! (He also pulls out his wallet at diners and such, or at the movies, when he knows fully well I said I'd pay! What's with this guy?)

Once, a friend and I suddenly tired of an after-party in a hotel room and really wanted to go back to our own room to watch lame-but-awesome TV. We drunkenly (obviously) decided that the best course of action was to open the door, drop to our knees, and crawl down the hallway as fast as we could. We got about two doors' worth before another friend peeked her head out, turned back to those still reveling, and yelled, "They're trying to leave!" For some reason (drunk) we thought we had to go back.


@Hellcat This is amazing. You sound like (a) a blast and (b) the absolute best goodbye-er ever. Well done!


~Oh,Unbelievable~~ My best friend Elena has just married to a cool black man. They fall in love through~~IntërracialFìshes. ℂoм ~This is a Specialized Online Interracial Dating Services. For black women meet white men, black men dating white women. Meet interracial singles living in your local area or in countries around the world. .)If you are single, worth a try.

Dirty Hands

@zxvzbewtewt346 Why use the Irish Goodbye when you can have an array of interracial options? Black women leaving without saying goodbye to white men, black men slipping away without bidding adieu to white women. If you want to be single, worth a try.


~Oh,Unbelievable~~ My best friend Elena has just married to a cool black man. They fall in love through~~IntërracialFìshes. ℂoм ~This is a Specialized Online Interracial Dating Services. For black women meet white men, black men dating white women. Meet interracial singles living in your local area or in countries around the world. .)If you are single, worth a try.

O! Winged Wanderer

@zxvzbewtewt346 Oh, you are not a person...


I say goodbye to the host and at least try to make sure the people I'm there with know that I'm leaving. But the parties I go to don't usually involve a great deal of drinking.


Always Irish Goodbye, never apologize.


This is the best part about having a fiance. "Matt I'm really drunk I need pizza byeeee" and then he gets to say goodbye to everyone for me and it's like I was thoughtful.

Regina Phalange

@Jaya I'm assuming the fiance then assists with the acquisition of said pizza. May have to reconsider my reluctance to wed...


I think the acceptability of ghosting is directly proportional to the level of inebriation, the size of the gathering, and the lateness of the hour. 2am at a big drunken bash, no problem; 2pm at a small baby shower, it's a problem. I rarely host very large gatherings so it would bug me if my guests just disappeared, but I've definitely stumbled away from parties without worrying if I said goodbye (a thank you text or email later is a good idea though).


@sophia_h yeah... i was reading this and thinking "shit... i do this at every party!" Then I realized that every party I leave is a big drunken bash... Though my out-of-town friends consider it an "evaporation" if you aren't around for lazy brunch and more drinking the next day, so there's that.

paper bag princess

I have definitely done this occasionally. But a bigger problem for me is not knowing when to leave the party -- I usually don't want to go so I stay way too long. It can be pretty awkward sometimes, except I'm usually drunk so I guess I can't tell.


@paper bag princess I will occasionally stay too long/long enough to help clean up, which usually helps abate the awkwardness a little.

Charlsie Kate

My friends refer to this as - Bar Bolters Anonymous. We are all members.


In my group of friends we've started calling this "Shawshanking."


@meetapossum But do you stand dramatically in the rain, arms and face raised dramatically to the sky, once you've bolted from the bar?

('cause that would be pretty awesome.)


@meetapossum HAHA, now I'm just picturing your friends all staring, befuddled, through a misshapen hole your friend dug in the wall to get away.


On the 4th my roommate's friends would not leave after a reasonable amount of time. I just walked into my room and locked the door. I was also very drunk and didn't care if they thought I was rude. I make Irish exits a lot. It's just easier. I also have what I call a homing beacon. When I am too drunk and need to go to bed, then I MUST FIND BED. To a point where I walked 2 miles home at 3 am once because I was too drunk to think of a better way to get home.


@ohmy - As long as you're not in a sketch part of town, I think walking was the best way to get home!


With the friends I usually hang out with I do a vague announcement / wave at the biggest group of people while the guy in my friend group who's been in love with me for five years looks slightly startled and then later texts me something about me leaving suddenly but brah I did it so I didn't have to see you make the "Should I hug her?" face.


@Gulf of Finland

(i maek tht face)
(need 2 stop)


@Inkling Aww no I do too. The face as an idea is not bad in and of itself. But his is a very specific I've-been-idealizing-you-forever-and-don't-know-how-to-not-be-weird-around-you face.


I usually say goodbye to the host of the party, but besides that yeah, I'm in favor of just leaving. My friends and family that have to say goodbye to. Everyone. At. The. Party. while I've been waiting with my coat at the door for ten minutes drive me absolutely insane. Also, most people don't want to stop their conversations to say goodbye to you and have a mini exit convo about the next time you'll see each other. Just bounce.


I always do this, because whenever I host a party, I really don't care when people leave. And no one cares when I leave—none of us as individuals are that integral to the party. I HATE when people assume that "it's rude"—rudeness is only when you're directly embarrassing or hurting someone. Leaving without notification doesn't hurt or embarrass anyone. The host is probably so frazzled by the end of the night that they're just hoping the party was a success.

I like Irish goodbyes so much that I may even insist upon this practice at my wedding! The last thing I want to do is say goodbye to dozens of people.


one of my friends did this just the other week! texted somebody else (it was my party) to be like "bye" ... which is maybe not QUITE ghosting because it seems a little bit "give me attention"-y to ANNOUNCE your irish exit.

I didn't think it was rude, I was just like I wanted to say goodbye and get a hug! :(

or Elsa!

I do always say goodbye (and thank you) to the host[s], but it never even occurred to me that it might be rude not to say good night to other guests. I usually do end up seeking out a few guests --- especially good friends, someone I talked to at length, or someone I met and hope to see again --- to say good night, but I never really thought about whether it would be rude not to. Hmm.

We have rules at our open house parties: come when you can, leave when you want, no knocking when you arrive, no apologizing when you leave.


I do this to avoid arguing with the one drunk person who doesn't want anyone to leave because weeee'reee having so much funnnnnnn!


I used to do this all the time when I drank which annoyed my friends to no end because they would spend the next however many minutes concerned about me until I texted it back.

Now that I don't drink I actually do this even more, but no one gets annoyed because they know I've probably just gotten sick of being around a bunch of drunk people and wanted to go home ASAP.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Oh my. We're twins, I guess.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I always thank the host, but yeah, I'll do this. It's actually happened more now that I'm sober, because I just don't have it in me to say goodbye to all my drunk pals who will just talk and talk and talk on repeat. It's adorable because they are adorable people, without Socializing Juice in my system, my introverted self runs out of gas quicker at these events and by the time I'm leaving, I'm prettttty tired.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose We areeee twins!

I definitely run out of energy faster at big parties with lots of new people now. Which is exactly why I used to drink too much, a drink for every time I felt awkward. So, ALL THE DRINKS.


The irish goodbye is the only goodbye me and my siblings will ever farwell with, though I take issue with the article's assertion that it must be called an irish goodbye because the irish are just too wasted to remember to say goodbye. I always thought it was more along the lines of we really really really hate talking to people and that small talk is the worst oh god please don't tell me any more stories about your kids I don't care about you job where is the emergency exit, and then, you know, we just kind of disappear into the mist of the night. Ya feel?


@deirdre In my family it's more that we all really, really love chatting and if you don't just sneak out when no one's looking then you'll spend an hour + trying to get out the door. But then sneaking out without a goodbye is likely to get you a guilt-trippy phone call from Ma Jinx wanting to know where the hell you'd gone off to and is everything ok? Because why would you go without saying goodbye to your mammy?


The absolute worst is an open-house type party where you have to spend all your time saying hello or goodbye to people who can't seem to fathom that you would rather do something other than discuss their schedules.

Noelle O'Donnell

Two arguments for Irish goodbyes:
What's the point of me drunkenly talking nonsense at you that neither of us will remember the next day?
Plus, I get anxiety cat if I have to say bye to people I don't know well and for some reason, my social butterfly friends always do.


I thank the host/ess if I can find them, and then I go. The people I party with know about and expect this, so I never have to make apologies. It's a good system.


Big fan! Ideally, I'd say bye to the hostess, but at a recent birthday party, I told one friend I was ready to leave, she says "Oh! I'll go with you I'm ready too. Let me just tell my husband." Then he says he's just about ready he just wants to do one more thing and then I give up on him to find the birthday girl and she's surrounded by people so you have to say goodbye to all of them and then my friend and her husband have wandered out now too and they're saying goodbye to all those people.. it takes 20 min at a minimum. No more!

As for the host just going to their room and shutting the door -- perfect. I think my guests would much rather I go to sleep than have a crying fit at 3am because I'm exhausted and they haven't left yet.


I will do this even in my own house.



also it only occurs to me to do this within the 2:30-4 AM time period in which, unless something truly epic is happening, no one really needs to hang out more anyway


I think of this as the "Andy Warhol" b/c this was reportedly his strategy for leaving parties. Although, he also says it was a strategy for increasing his popularity--everyone would be asking where he was, making him the topic of conversation. Better to be missed than say goodbye? I am not as much of a partier as Andy Warhol, or as popular, but I do enjoy this type of exit. I had not thought to send a thank you email the morning after, but it sounds very civilized.


I didn't know there was an official name for this! Brilliant!


In peer group settings, I only do this if I don't care about anyone at the party. At family gatherings, the best strategy is to find the room with the most people in it and just kind of shout OKAY BYE as you leave. To not do so would be an offense comparable to not writing a thank you card (grievous indeed).

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