12 Tricks for Pulling off an Irish Exit Without Pissing People Off

It’s so hard to say goodbye—so don’t. The next time you’re ready to head out, make an Irish exit (or a French goodbye or a Dutch leave—whatever you want to call it) and stroll out the door without any awkward hugs or we’ll-keep-in-touches. It may seem like a bit of a jerk move, but it doesn’t have to be. You just have to know how to do it right. Here, the best tips for making an elegant Irish exit without angering your friends.

Leave on a High Note

Pull a George Costanza, and leave the party on a high note. After you’ve told a particularly entertaining story or hilarious joke, quietly step aside, leaving them laughing, and exit stage right.

But Don’t Leave on Too High of a Note

If you’ve been providing entertainment for the crowd the whole night, you’ll leave a vacuum when you slip out the back door. In the wake of your antics, your friends will be left bored and forlornly wondering where you went and why you took all the fun away. Set someone up to tell their signature funny story and pass the “life of the party” torch to someone else before you quietly sneak away.

Buy a Round

If someone’s drinking a beer you bought them, they’re much more likely to forgive you for surreptitiously slipping out. You’ll leave them with the happy memory of you laying down cash for their beveraging benefit.

Don’t Do It Too Early

Ghosting on a party is totally acceptable after a few hours. But if you’re leaving after one drink, you’re not Irish exiting; you’re just plain ditching out. You have to put in some decent time before you get to magically disappear.

Don’t Tell People Your Plan

If you must, tell one or two people that you’re planning on making an undercover exit (maybe the host or the friend you met). But don’t tell everyone. That sort of defeats the purpose.

Don’t Ditch Your Date

If you came to the party with someone, then you better be leaving with them too—unless you have their explicit OK to go. If the party happens to be in a friend’s apartment, leaving your date is an especially heinous social faux pas. No one wants to find a stranger that you left behind wandering alone in their kitchen. And said stranger probably isn’t a big fan of the situation either.

Stay Calm

Don’t creep out like the Hamburglar. Relax your shoulders, and stroll out like you would if you were just heading out for a quick breath of fresh air.

Accept That You Might Miss Out on Things

If you’re immediately filled with FOMO the second you step out the door, then maybe Irish exiting isn’t for you. To be a pro Irish-exiter you have to accept that which you will not experience and enjoy the freedom of being a party ghost.

Initiate a Misdirect

If you’re having trouble making your escape because all eyes are on you, create a distraction. Slip a couple of dollars into the jukebox and invite everyone to make their own bar song selections, point at the TV and say, “whoa, look at that!” or, if all else fails, just look in any direction away from the door and say, “awww, puppy.” They’ll be searching for a cute ball of fluff while you’re quietly coasting out the door.

Don’t Do It if There Are Less Than Seven People

If you want your exit to go unnoticed, you need to be with more people than can comfortably fit in a large minivan.

Don’t Cut off Communication Entirely

Leaving the party doesn’t mean you’re off the grid. If someone texts you to ask where you went, answer them, lest you want the police knocking down your door after your buddy files a missing person’s report.

Don’t Do It at an Important Event

It’s in your best interest not to Irish exit a wedding or your dad’s 75th birthday party or your BFF’s baby shower. These events are important and, unfortunately, require formal goodbyes. We can tell you from experience that people do not appreciate it when you try to secret yourself away from a relative’s funeral.