I was at a party last night. It was an old co-worker's birthday and she gathered us all at a bar downtown. We were able to snag a large table in the back for our pretty sizable group of 30+ people. We danced to MMMBop, took tequila shots, and swam in chicken fingers. It was all obnoxious and fantastic.
I kept noticing something as the night tapered off: Melissa, the birthday girl, was constantly interrupted mid-conversation by friends wanting to say goodbye.
"Sorry! I just wanted to say bye before I duck out." Over, and over, and over, and over...and then a few more times. After 10:30 PM, Melissa couldn't get a word in edgewise without noticing someone lingering behind her wanting to say farewell.
I get it. Custom dictates that not letting the host know you're leaving is a dick move. In the heads of the departing, half-sober partygoer, tapping Melissa on the shoulder and interrupting her conversation is actually gallant. It's like showing up to a dinner with a bottle of wine even when the invitation explicitly says, "Please, do not bring anything." Ingrained social norms say you kind of have to, leaving hosts with crappy bottles of 2-buck Chuck that take up precious wine rack space (I know, I know, bite my bourgeois tongue).
Saying goodbye at the end of a party is lovely, but really goddamn disruptive.
In the words of Slate's Seth Stevenson, "There's a better way. One that saves time and agita, acknowledges clear-eyed realities, and keeps the social machine humming. Just ghost."
That's right. In 2016 and beyond, the once socially taboo end-of-night exit strategy should be completely accepted (if not, expected). And here's why: no one gives a shit if you leave. You're not that important.
Melissa was so overwhelmed with different friend groups that she had no time to worry about any one individual. She just wanted to make sure she could at least acknowledge everyone who came.
Some of you are probably shaking your heads, still thinking the Irish exit is exclusively meant for blackout hooligans who can't keep it together past midnight. You're not wrong.
But disappearing drunks are unconsciously choosing a less jostling, elegant exit from social functions. We should all take note.
Nix clunky, in-person goodbyes from your Rolodex of party cues, and replace it with an efficient "Had a great time!" text. There will be a paper trail of your attendance, and your friends will inevitably thank you for not troubling them as they tried to make the rounds.