If you’re an introvert, you probably don’t enjoy parties. Because they’re parties.

In the future you may be able to avoid parties via the Party Avoidance Calendar App or Party Avoidance e-Vite Autoresponder App. Or to happily survive parties with the Party Survival Pod.

But what if attending a party is really important to someone you care about, and it’s worth mustering the psychological resources to get yourself there? Do you have to stay until the last person leaves?

Well, guess what? No!

So then how do you extricate yourself? Here’s how to do it with grace.

How To Leave A Party Early And With Grace

Party Introvert
Sometimes it’s hard being an introvert.

Option 1: Lie

One option is to tell a good old porky.

  • I have an early meeting tomorrow. 
  • The dog needs to be walked. 
  • The CIA is waiting at my house. 

But that’s no way to live, telling lies to avoid being who you are. Over time it will erode your self-esteem and your relationships.

Option 2: Whine

Another option is to plaintively over-explain. To launch into a longwinded account of how you’re really uncomfortable at parties and you get super anxious and it all began when you were a child…

But that isn’t going to leave you feeling good either, especially if the host wisely starts to nod off in the middle of your saga.

Option 3: Be Honest And Keep It Simple

Nope. The best way to handle parties is to be honest and to keep it simple.

It’s fine to be self-deprecating, but don’t insult or disrespect yourself.

Here’s my 3-step formula.

3 Steps To Leaving A Party Early

Step 1: When you RSVP, say upfront that you’ll be leaving early.

If possible, RSVP by text or email so you can finesse your wording.

Try something like:

  • I’m not a party person so will head off around 9pm. But I’m looking forward to celebrating with you!
  • I’d love to see you and drop by with your gift. I’ll just stay an hour.

Now you’ve set expectations about how long you’ll stay, making step 2 much easier.

7 Things Introverts Jim Leaving Parties Early
Sensei Jim.

Step 2A: If appropriate, simply slip away.

If it’s a large party and the host is busy, just slip out.

The host has enough going on. Your saying goodbye might make them feel like they should encourage you to stay.

Plus, you’ve already explained that you’ll leave early so there’s no need to make a big deal.

If you get stopped by another guest and asked why you’re leaving early, just deflect the focus:

  • Wasn’t it a beautiful ceremony?
  • Didn’t George look great in his purple velour suit?
  • How about that paleo cake!

Then give them a smile and be on your way to that pleasure dome known as home.

Step 2B: If it’s a small affair or dinner party and you can’t slip away, use my patented Restroom Segue.

Excuse yourself to go to the restroom. That will give you a moment to collect yourself and already be on your feet, plus it lets the evening start to move on without you. Honestly, it’s genius.

When you return, gather up your coat and purse or whatever on the way back to the host. Then you can simply appear, coat in hand, and say something like:

Well, George and Martha, thank you for a lovely evening. 

If you’re entreated to stay, say thank you and immediately deflect the focus off yourself with something positive but true about the food, company, venue, decor, wine, whatever. A genuine compliment is a lovely way to mark your exit.

  • Oh you’re very kind. Those cocktails were amazing! Goodnight night, everyone.
  • Thank you so much. Oh and I love the table settings – so elegant. Goodnight.
Family Gathering Introvert
For best results prepare your party-extrication plan in advance.

Step 3: Accept That Some People Might Not Like It

With some people it won’t matter what you say, they’ll be offended. Possibly the host, possibly a guest, possibly the caterer who saw you secrete that canapé into the syngonium podophyllum foliage.

You can’t please everyone and also be whole and true to yourself. People are too different and have their own stuff going on and don’t always understand.

All you can do is be kind and respectful to yourself and gracious to your host and fellow guests, and let the chips fall where they may.

And if someone gets cross and hurls a bowl of snacks at you, then also let those chips fall where they may.

There’ll be a lot of cleaning up to do tomorrow anyway.