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Don’t Say Goodbye. Just ghost.
July 8, 2013 11:59 AM   Subscribe

"Ghosting—aka the Irish goodbye, the French exit, and any number of other vaguely ethnophobic terms—refers to leaving a social gathering without saying your farewells. One moment you’re at the bar, or the house party, or the Sunday morning wedding brunch. The next moment you’re gone. In the manner of a ghost. “Where’d he go?” your friends might wonder. But—and this is key—they probably won’t even notice that you’ve left."
posted by A Terrible Llama (139 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
And in relationships, it's called "The Fade Away." At least that's what Garfunkel and Oates taught me.
posted by moviehawk at 12:04 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


So... You can be smug about being rude? I don't get it.
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think this is a dick move. Not the end of the world or anything, but you should let your close friends know you're taking off. At social gatherings people tend to depend at least a bit on their close buds, and at the very least someone might be concerned that you're getting home properly (this ius what I've taken "Irish Goodbye" to refer to - you're leaving in such a way so as no one stops you from driving drunk.)

Anyway, it's kind of shitty. Don't do it.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:06 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I tend to go for the very rude yell "OK GOODNIGHT I LOVE YOU BYE BYE!" with a wave and I'm out. Then again I rarely have the rarified company of a Slate reporter.
posted by poe at 12:07 PM on July 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


It actually seems like a wonderful thing to me. Are you upset when a friend is no longer at a party or event? The key (as mentioned in the article) is to email/contact your hosts the next day and thank them for hosting the event.

Particularly in large gatherings, the act of saying goodbye to everyone seems like a way to add another 10 minutes to a departure (which can be troubling if someone you're with really wants to leave *now* for whatever reason). And then if I miss someone (they were in the loo, or I overlooked them) then I slighted a specific person. The goodbye ceremony is also another way to embarrass yourself by forgetting a name you just learned (as you were trying to copiously memorize a half-dozen new names).
posted by el io at 12:09 PM on July 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


I was going to post this when I saw it last week, but since it was the same day as the Chicago meetup, I thought I might be setting myself up to do this. Which I do. Often.

(I actually said goodbye to some folks this time.)

When I was younger, we often were the hosts of parties. And I'd ghost there too, which meant I just went to bed.

I realize this isn't necessarily not-rude behavior. But, like everything, situationally it can work for the group.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:10 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gotta say I disagree with the article. The goodbye is indeed bittersweet, marking as it does the transition from event back to ordinary life. It is also somewhat awkward, in that it requires interrupting others so as to mark that event.

But it exists for a reason, and that reason is that the fact of you and I being in the same place in a social context is a fact worthy of marking and noting and, a little bit, celebrating. We do these things at the beginning and at the end precisely because we are not with strangers. I don't say goodbye when leaving the subway car, but I have a higher regard for my friends and even my acquaintances than I do for strangers on the subway, and the niceties of saying hello and goodbye are one of the ways to show that regard. It's worth a little awkwardness and bittersweetness to do this.

It's also a courtesy to hosts, who may need for any number of legitimate reasons to know how many people are still in attendance.

As well, if everybody ghosted their way out of a social occasion, then storming angrily out without saying goodbye would lose some of its weight.
posted by gauche at 12:11 PM on July 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


“Where’d he go?” your friends might wonder. But—and this is key—they probably won’t even notice that you’ve left.

Bad either way, which is why civilized people say goodbye. Also uncivilized people. Pretty much everyone. What's wrong with Slate?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:11 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Don't say goodbye, Fisher. Get out of there. You're a ghost.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:11 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the instance the writer describes, birthday party in the courtyard of a local bar, ghosting wouldn't be so rude (assuming he wasn't the official host of the evening). But I cannot imagine leaving a house party or a wedding without saying goodbye to your hosts and thanking them.

Then again, I tend to be introverted so goodbyes aren't really a bummer for me. They're just a nice transition.
posted by gladly at 12:12 PM on July 8, 2013


What's wrong with Slate?

The thing about self-conscious contrarianism is that you can end up writing a lot of dumb and ill-considered shit about things that exist for good reasons.
posted by gauche at 12:12 PM on July 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I just throw down a ninja smoke bomb and nature takes care of the rest.
posted by selfnoise at 12:13 PM on July 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


Yeah, whatevs, I'm rude, cry me a river. If I'm in a bar with 3 people I'm not gonna fake a pee and then leave, I'm going to say goodbye to everyone. If I'm at an afterhours with 20+ hammered friends and foaf's you are out of your fool minds if you think I'm going to deal with the hour-long drama of trying to say goodbye to a dozen people who want me to stay for another 5 hours. MY CONTACTS FEEL LIKE POTATO CHIPS FUCK OFF AND LET ME LEAVE.
posted by elizardbits at 12:13 PM on July 8, 2013 [74 favorites]


It's more that when the question "is X still here?" probably at least one person should have the answer. I mean, sure, your ineffable party spirit doesn't get to linger but if someone has found some keys and wants to know if they are yours it means they won't waste the rest of the night looking for you to ask you.
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


In French, of course, it's called "filer à l'anglaise"
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:15 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


As a woman, I would never do this. Because rape and murder and ketamine and abduction are a thing that exists, and part of the framework of living as a woman in this day and age. And if a woman goes missing, it is generally Cause For Concern. Especially if the party is happening out in public, like at a bar.

Maybe guys can just vanish from a party and everybody's like, "Eh, he's probably fine." But as a woman, I would at least text someone there that I was leaving, so that nobody worried about me.
posted by ErikaB at 12:15 PM on July 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


A good host should be able to sense when someone is getting ready to leave, and facilitate good-byes.

The first paragraph, to me, anyway, indicates all that is wrong with our self-satisfied, self-absorbed age:

One recent evening, I celebrated my birthday in the outdoor courtyard of a bar. As the night wore on, and friends fell by the wayside, each departure occasioned a small ritual. A pal would sidle up to whichever conversational circle I was in; edge closer and closer, so as to make herself increasingly conspicuous; and finally smile, apologetically, when the conversation halted so I could turn to her and say goodbye.

First of all, it's rude not to acknowledge a friend who wants to be "let in" to your conversation circle. Really rude.

Second, this fellow should be keeping an eye out for people getting ready to go, excuse himself politely, and see the friend off.

It's the cultured and civilized thing to do. Good manners. Dammit.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:15 PM on July 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


If you leave without utilizing the proper socio-cultural farewell pattern, how are people supposed to know that the coast is clear to slag you off? Do try to show some consideration, won't you.

MY CONTACTS FEEL LIKE POTATO CHIPS FUCK OFF AND LET ME LEAVE.

This wouldn't be a problem if you didn't go out partying WITH YOUR EYES ON NOW WOULD IT?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:16 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So the Irish Goodbye is the opposite of the Minnesota Goodbye? How about something in between? Why not briefly say goodbye and thank your hosts? ("Bob, we are going to take off. We told the sitter we'd be home by 11. Thanks for inviting us. We had a great time.") Why does it have to be hours of leavetaking (something I have never understood about life in the upper Midwest) or nothing?
posted by Area Man at 12:17 PM on July 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


because people
posted by elizardbits at 12:17 PM on July 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Do this at parties that are on boats for the ultimate dick move.
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on July 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Do this at parties that are on boats for the ultimate dick move.

Close, but the ultimate party dick move is ghosting and then crawling into the deep freezer in the basement and closing the door behind you.
posted by gauche at 12:19 PM on July 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Départure à la française is fine. Good friends will assume that something interesting occurred to which they might one day become privy, or something not so droll came up and you had to leave in haste. In any case, it does relieve us and others of the burden of calling attention to our exit, and it may help disguise the company with whom we leave, which helps keep our good friends from engaging in anything so déclassé as gossip.

It's not shitty. Do it.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:19 PM on July 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't mind this as long as you say farewell to whoever threw the thing and, where applicable, anyone who will be heading in the same direction as you. I mean, you don't have to ask everyone in your neighborhood if they want all leave right this second. But, say, if there are any solo women heading in the same direction they might feel safer at night with a companion.

Also one time my boyfriend and I were visiting Philly we went out to a bar with some friends and our host did an irish goodbye without telling the two people who were staying on his couch. So, uh, don't do that.
posted by troika at 12:20 PM on July 8, 2013


I thought saying a formal goodbye to one's hosts was on a par with sending a little thank you note the day after; a long-vanished nicety.
posted by Segundus at 12:21 PM on July 8, 2013


If it's a large party and the hosts are being good hosts and making sure everyone gets some face time, I don't mind telling someone there that I'm going to head out, and then remove myself. I'll generally try to find the host(s), but for something bigger and less formal, I don't think it's terribly rude to just exit.

For smaller gatherings, I say goodbye to all, even if it's just an eye contact/head nod to people as I'm grabbing my coat.
posted by xingcat at 12:24 PM on July 8, 2013


because people

Yeah. The problem is that we've all been so socialized to not be rude that if someone is talking at us, most of us will stay and let ourselves be talked at. It feels less rude to avoid the situation entirely than to say "sorry, gotta run" to the person being all "awwww, but we're having so much fun!!! just another five minutes so you can hear Bob's amazing story about drywalling the house last weekend!"

Some folks you can just straight up say no to and they're cool with it. But there are plenty of folks who will seethe and stew and say terrible things about you to others for totally dissing their great drywall story. Much better to just disappear and let them assume you told someone else you were leaving.

Sometimes I think the best thing about my puppy is that he needs to eat and poop with some regularity, and it allows me a perfect reason to just up and leave a social gathering (especially work gatherings) whenever I want.
posted by phunniemee at 12:24 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I do the opposite of this, which is, wherever I am, and whatever the circumstances may be, I stand on a table in the middle of the room, and start screaming:

"Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey everyone! Hey! Hey! Everyone! Hey! I'm leaving now! Ok? I'm going to take off! Any minute now! Hey! Were there any people in the back that didn't hear me? Hey! I'm leaving! Right now! I'm out the door! I hope this is no problem for anyone! Ok? I'm taking off now! Hey! Did you catch that? I'm leaving now!"

Most stores are pretty happy when I finally go.
posted by quin at 12:24 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Close, but the ultimate party dick move is ghosting and then crawling into the deep freezer in the basement and closing the door behind you.

That's dedication.
posted by Artw at 12:26 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I just naturally assume that people who ghost fall into at least one of two categories: people who are tired of being at the party and people who have diarrhea.

I am sympathetic to both.

No judgment.
posted by phunniemee at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


The problem is that we've all been so socialized to not be rude ...

Someone is flaunting their goddamn civilized privilege!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I will defend the practice of ghosting in some limited contexts.

Sometimes, I will be invited to a party. I am not party people but I feel fairly bad about rejecting each and every party request, no matter how freaked out, uncomfortable, and generally useless the act of attendance may make me feel. I show. I thank the hosts for inviting me. I leave whatever wines, cheeses, chocolates, and/or gifts that I have brought along. I will be seen to mingle and will speak with at least two (2) people who try to initiate a conversation. I will smile where appropriate. I will wipe up a few messes in the kitchen or drag out a full bag of trash.

However, about half an hour is stretching it; less, if the party is crowded, if there are cameras, or if someone I do not want to see is present. I've done my duty and, frankly, the hosts are busy, running about patting everyone, making sure beverages are in supply, and so on. Monitoring arrivals and departures like an air traffic controller who is forced to smile is asking a bit much of them.

I do not want to have the "so soon?" conversation, which ranks up there with Mississippi porch etiquette in terms of trying to figure out if you were invited pro forma or not. For all I know they are disappointed I actually showed. Minus a witnessed departure, hosts are free to imagine I had a wonderful time. That, I think, is for the best.
posted by adipocere at 12:27 PM on July 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


First of all, it's rude not to acknowledge a friend who wants to be "let in" to your conversation circle. Really rude.

And yet this happens all the time, even among people who are generally well-behaved and polite. I can only conclude they have never had this happen to them and therefore do not understand just how isolated and unimportant this makes someone feel.

Unless you really want to fuck with someone in the worst way (and if you do, maybe you should just remove yourself from polite company) don't do this.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:28 PM on July 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Pro-tip, if and when the cops do show up at your unlicensed illegal events space, be sure to wear a nice crisp suit as you walk backward out the door and through the alley to cross the street without talking to or making eye contact with anyone cause no one questions the white guy in a suit even if it's 3 A.M in Crown Heights and you smell like a Phish concert.
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


What? The Irish goodbye is the one that takes forever because you say goodbye, then you talk a bit about where you're going next, say goodbye again, tell them you'll see them soon, talk some more, say goodbye again, thank them again for the food, say goodbye again, ad infinitum. It seriously took 45 minutes to leave my grandparents' house.
posted by desjardins at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


In my world, ghosting is called an Irish Exit, and I've been able to apply the theme to how I was, um, "not said goodnight to" in my last relationship. Yeah, broken up with more by attrition than an actual, you know, conversation. Thanks for this.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2013


I do this but it's unintentional. Drunk Ghostride eventually hits a point where HOME NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW is the overriding impulse and despite me being a large human with a big bald head that's easy to find, I've become famous for my ninjaing skills. I'm not always sure how I *get* home (not drunk driving b/c I give up the keys if it's that kind of night) but I always get there.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2013


Oh, also interrupting. If I realize I have interrupted someone, I ALWAYS apologize and ask them what they were going to say. Nothing says, "fuck you and everything you have to say" like cutting someone off in the middle of their talking, especially when what you go on to say is totally unrelated, and MOST especially when you just start talking to someone else about whatever.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2013


*texts Navelgazer*

"Maybe I've left, maybe not. If you really cared, you'd know or least drag your ass off the bathroom floor and come looking."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2013


So the Irish Goodbye is the opposite of the Minnesota Goodbye?

In much the same way that the opposite of a truth is a falsehood, but the opposite of a profound truth may very well be another profound truth, the Minnesota goodbye sounds more like the typical Irish goodbye compared to the derogatory form mentioned in the article. (I appreciate the attempted change of terminology to 'ghosting' though)
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:31 PM on July 8, 2013


It feels less rude to avoid the situation entirely than to say "sorry, gotta run" to the person being all "awwww, but we're having so much fun!!! just another five minutes so you can hear Bob's amazing story about drywalling the house last weekend!"

Well, that's where it flips. Social convention privileges the idea that people are generally being truthful, so when you say, "I have to go" and people tell you, "No! You can stay! Come on!", then they're being rude for disbelieving (or overruling) you.
posted by psoas at 12:32 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Put your coat on, say thanks to the host(s) and wave to everyone else as you head toward the door. Is that really that difficult?
posted by octothorpe at 12:32 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Because it's not enough that I took the time to come to your stupid party? I'm expected to sign in and sign out like I'm withdrawing a book from the library?

My brother and I ghosted at our cousin's wedding. I followed up with a polite "It's-not-you-it's-me" note on facebook. I made my obligatory appearance, now leave me alone.
posted by blue t-shirt at 12:33 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who is renowned for doing this. It seems to frustrate people who aren't familiar with it.

One time he and I and four other friends took a ski vacation to Austria. We were staying in Innsbruck and day-tripping out to ski resorts. One night, he did his usual disappearance from the club. Nobody thought it unusual; we were all used to the routine. When we all meet in the morning to go skiing, he didn't show. He wasn't there when we got back, nor was he to be found when it came time to crash.

The next morning, there he was at the van, ready for skiing as usual. We asked, "Where have you been?" He replied, "Venice."

Free spirits gonna free spirit, I guess.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:34 PM on July 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


the trick is to just tell one person, so when your group asks "hey where did she go?" someone will have an answer. I do this all the time.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Because it's not enough that I took the time to come to your stupid party? I'm expected to sign in and sign out like I'm withdrawing a book from the library?

You can't just walk in and out my heart like that. Give me some damn closure and chance to save face. It's like these last two hours have meant nothing to you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2013


i leave parties without telling anyone and then drive away while walking alongside my car

double ghosting
posted by raihan_ at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


"Then again, I tend to be introverted so goodbyes aren't really a bummer for me. They're just a nice transition."

My introversion is why I hate these kinds of social goodbyes.

There's something particularly uncomfortable for me about calling attention to myself when I leave. Also when I arrive, actually. But especially when I leave. I don't like that my decision to leave somehow means that it's relatively important to other people that I'm leaving — that is to say, it interrupts whatever they're doing as they're expected to say goodbye. My announcing I'm leaving feels intrusive.

And, often, I don't like the attention. Why am I leaving now? Is it early? Am I expected to explain myself? Some people I don't want to talk to again, much less hug. Some people hardly know who I am and really couldn't care less that I'm leaving, why would they want to say goodbye, anyway? But they're expected to. We're strangers and this is a ritual and I just feel uncomfortable.

So sometimes I'll ghost. The degree to which the above concerns don't exist, I won't. If I'm leaving at the same time as everyone else and so I'm not exceptional, I'm more comfortable. If I know everyone well and they really are likely to care that I'm leaving, I'm more comfortable. If I don't feel like I'm interrupting what they're doing, I'm more comfortable. Otherwise, though, I'll just leave.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


But it exists for a reason, and that reason is that the fact of you and I being in the same place in a social context is a fact worthy of marking and noting and, a little bit, celebrating. We do these things at the beginning and at the end precisely because we are not with strangers.

And also, parties are very distracting and I can't count the number of times that someone (either I or a friend) is leaving a party and that final goodbye serves as a trigger to tell someone of something important or interesting. ("Oh! You don't have to get up at four to pick me up at the airport, I found a ride!" "Oh! Jack just got arrested!" "Oh! I wanted you to meet Stella before you go; she has a ton to tell you about that thing you were going to pay through the nose for!")
posted by psoas at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've tried to tell relatives that I'm leaving, sometimes more than once with a loud voice, but they're yammering so much that they don't notice. So I leave, they wonder where I went, oh well.
posted by Melismata at 12:39 PM on July 8, 2013


Ghostbyeing the Whip is where your car rolls away without you.
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't always practice this. It's place is in non-intimate settings like at a bar or a crowd where I have friends--but not a crowd OF friends. Decide I'm ready to go, wait until no one is looking, throw the hood up(in the winter), and dip.

As far as I know it's never caused any harm. Sometimes you gotta go.
posted by yonega at 12:42 PM on July 8, 2013


Among my old set of friends this is known as "pulling a *1f2frfbf's last name*."

It's an accepted way of leaving when being too drunk/stoned/grumpy/in lust/etc. It is generally laughed at when it is realized that the vanisher has left and said object will universally be hounded when next seen for details, however mundane they may be. My anonymity as leaver is generally limited to about 6 hours. It started because I hate being hugged and it is impossible to leave any modern get-together that involves mind-altering substances stronger than coffee and not be hugged.

Hmpf.

I still hate hugs.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:43 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh, I didn't realize this stuff had a name.
I've done it a few times myself. Usually when all these friends/acquaintances are so engrossed in their own conversations, and ignoring me when I hover around trying to get an "in" in the conversation, and I just end up feeling excluded and like oh why did I even bother showing up in the first place and well they don't really notice me here so they wouldn't really notice me not here either so.. *heads for door*
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


It started because I hate being hugged and it is impossible to leave any modern get-together that involves mind-altering substances stronger than coffee and not be hugged.

I'm sure there's a Slate article about that...
posted by madajb at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh wait I'm forgetting the time I technically ghosted a party cause I had to make out with someone in the gallery's janitor closet and then forgot to go back to say goodbye.
posted by The Whelk at 12:46 PM on July 8, 2013


At almost every one of my stage performances, I've desperately hoped to ghost the hell outta there so I can drive the long back way home and get a banana shake to celebrate, but while I'm winding up my cables and closing up road cases, I get caught.

In party situations, I just make myself invisible, fade into the corners, and blow away in the drafts.
posted by sonascope at 12:46 PM on July 8, 2013


Ideally that should be the reason for all ghostings.
posted by The Whelk at 12:46 PM on July 8, 2013


Oh wait I'm forgetting the time I technically ghosted a party cause I had to make out with someone in the gallery's janitor closet and then forgot to go back to say goodbye.

But that's called Whelking and is considered perfectly acceptable in all social situations including weddings, funerals and quarterly strategy meetings.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


In French, of course, it's called "filer à l'anglaise"

Yeah, it's the same in Hungarian (I'm assuming we got the saying from the French language). Hard to translate back to English, but means the same thing, something like "Leaving like the English [person]" ("Angolosan távozik").
posted by KTamas at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2013


the trick is to just tell one person, so when your group asks "hey where did she go?" someone will have an answer.

So as the evening gets later you start having to say, "Hey, Bob? If you take off, make sure you tell someone I left, and that Angie told me she was leaving and that Cheryl had said goodbye to her and that she should tell people that Ron had gone home. Okay?"
posted by straight at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


now i understand why people use foursquare

geez
posted by LogicalDash at 12:52 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey, Bob? If you take off, make sure you tell someone I left, and that Angie told me she was leaving and that Cheryl had said goodbye to her and that she should tell people that Ron had gone home. Okay?"

logically, yes, but we're talking about drunk people here
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:53 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer: "Oh wait I'm forgetting the time I technically ghosted a party cause I had to make out with someone in the gallery's janitor closet and then forgot to go back to say goodbye.

But that's called Whelking and is considered perfectly acceptable in all social situations including weddings, funerals and quarterly strategy meetings.
"

The non-tech old way used to be called the Whelking, but these days I think they call it using Grindr.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:55 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some people take goodbyes to excess. My wife's family is ridiculous. A gathering of a mere 10 people, you have to say goodbye like 8 times over 30 minutes before you're out the door. They're also the kind of family where if there's a toast or a cheers, they insist that every single glass has to clink every other glass in the room, or else jinx or something.

I don't want to make a big spectacle of leaving somewhere. Saying goodbye and then leaving should be enough. In a large gathering, maybe tell the host and a few good friends.
posted by Hoopo at 12:55 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


With me, they never notice that I was there in the first place.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:55 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I just figure that the whole goodbye process is for people who matter, and were I to do it, people would be more annoyed that I thought I was important enough to bother them to let them know I'm leaving, than the handful of people that might care.
posted by evilangela at 1:00 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


phunniemee: "Also, I just naturally assume that people who ghost fall into at least one of two categories: people who are tired of being at the party and people who have diarrhea. "

I think that's an Irish Good-Morning
posted by mannequito at 1:02 PM on July 8, 2013


For high-comfort voluntary situations with close friends & family goodbyes are no problem, and are almost always quick & efficient. For low-comfort, extended family/acquaintance and "obligational" gatherings, please just let me get the fuck out of there without having to call attention to myself.
posted by anazgnos at 1:02 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


One recent evening, I celebrated my birthday in the outdoor courtyard of a bar. As the night wore on, and friends fell by the wayside, each departure occasioned a small ritual. A pal would sidle up to whichever conversational circle I was in; edge closer and closer, so as to make herself increasingly conspicuous; and finally smile, apologetically, when the conversation halted so I could turn to her and say goodbye.

Count me in as thinking that this behavior on the author's part is... not so great. Conversations at parties are designed to be interrupted, and if you're doing it right no one should be offended at being interrupted with a brief gesture of "hold on I'm going to talk to this person briefly" and likewise no one should be offended if, when "briefly" turns into "a few minutes" as sometimes happens, the interrupted party moves on and starts talking to someone else. If you're having a really great in-depth conversation, then it's easy enough to either make plans to continue it in the future or just go somewhere quieter right then and there as the situation dictates, because in a party atmosphere it's going to get interrupted, and that's an inevitable and acceptable side effect of a situation where people are encouraged to talk among each other freely.
posted by invitapriore at 1:03 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


First of all, it's rude not to acknowledge a friend who wants to be "let in" to your conversation circle. Really rude.

...

And yet this happens all the time, even among people who are generally well-behaved and polite.
Exactly so. The extent to which I am likely to ghost at any given function is directly proportional to how difficult it is to get a word in edgewise with the people I'm trying to say goodbye to, which should always include the host or hosts.

If I'm standing there waiting for Bob's fascinating drywall story to end for more than 5-10 minutes I'm going to wave at whoever and make a break for it. And saying goodbye to everybody? No way. If I had to do that I could only be at any given event for about 10 minutes. The next two hours would then be spent trying to extricate myself from a dozen different 'goodbye' conversations.
posted by usonian at 1:05 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


TwoWordReview: In much the same way that the opposite of a truth is a falsehood, but the opposite of a profound truth may very well be another profound truth, the Minnesota goodbye sounds more like the typical Irish goodbye compared to the derogatory form mentioned in the article. (I appreciate the attempted change of terminology to 'ghosting' though)

I was going to say – most of the times I've done this have been to avoid the actual Irish Goodbye, which involves a minimum of five minutes with everyone in the room, including the ones I didn't get to talk to in ordinary time.
posted by carbide at 1:09 PM on July 8, 2013


I don't know; the pal conspicuously moving in closer sounds to me like someone who doesn't want to interrupt just to say a quick goodbye. Is the expectation that everyone should drop everything mid-sentence when they spot you?
posted by Hoopo at 1:09 PM on July 8, 2013


Anyway, I don't really care too much about whether people say goodbye or not, because I definitely empathize with the "got to get the fuck out NOW" feeling that can grip you sometimes, but I will note that I have noticed that if you figure out how to imbue your goodbyes with a vague sense of finality and haste in your tone and body language then people seem to react to that and don't really try to draw you in with small talk of any kind.
posted by invitapriore at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2013


Well, it's rude to interrupt, and it's rude to leave without saying goodbye, so clearly when you leave you should split the difference and declaim your ultimatum to the city government
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have friend who does this and it's annoying. Largely due to the fact the departure is supposed to be innocuous so not to draw attention to oneself then it turns into a big "hey where did Dave go" and we all waste our time trying to figure out whether he is still in bar or left or whatever so that we don't abandon him.

Either someone invited you, in which case you should definitely say thank you on your way out, or you arranged to meet people on your own in which case you still owe them the courtesy of a goodbye.

Seriously, once I'm leaving I'm not running around the room saying goodbye to every person or listening to anymore drywall stories but you owe at least a couple of people a quick goodbye. Mostly just to say thank you and also to prevent them worrying about where you are later.
posted by bquarters at 1:16 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I do not want to have the "so soon?" conversation

UGH, I hate that. About twice a year, The Fella and I host big open-house parties, and we have two rules: no knocking when you arrive, no apologizing when you leave. The corollary to the second rule: if someone starts with "awwwww, so soon?" to a departing guest, they get cut off with a bright "I'm so glad you could come!" or "See you soon!" or anything except the please-feel-bad-for-leaving song.

Also, I just naturally assume that people who ghost fall into at least one of two categories:

I assume people who ghost are either so drunk they can't spare a minute to say goodbye* before they toddle home to bed, or they have a cab waiting.

*The closest I've come to ghosting in the last few years: The Fella and I broke out some champagne for friends before all going out to see Star Crash at the Geek Chorus, a MST3K-ish showing held in a neighborhood bar. I'm not much of a drinker; I don't know what happened, but somehow (I later figured out) I must have drunk most of the two bottles we opened.

As the film approached its climax, I realized that if I didn't lie down soon, I was going to fall off my chair. I leaned over to The Fella and whispered "I have to go home. You stay." I don't know what he responded, but I just repeated "I HAVE TO GO HOME. You stay." And I trusted him to explain to our friends, because the notion of whispering excuses was waaaaay beyond me. I was going to use all my concentration not falling off my shoes on the five-block walk home. I didn't even say the two-syllables "goodbye," I just took off.

I always suspect that's what's going on with ghosters: that at least one person in their party is way too far gone [drunk or exhausted or upset or social-anxiety-having or whatever] to cope with the social dance that is the goodbye.
posted by Elsa at 1:16 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The long goodbyes where you have to personally hug or well-wish thirty people drive me crazy, because by the time I'm ready to leave I am socially just *done*. Mr. logical, on the other hand, delights in them, so as a compromise, I tend to tell him and then just start shepherding him towards the door after ten minutes of the leavetaking dance. Left to his own devices, it's a half-hour or more of social grooming.
posted by tautological at 1:17 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I’ll slip out when it suits me, as silently as I please, and I don’t care who thinks it’s rude. Those are the people I don’t want to be around, those who cling to arbitrary formality as some kind of self-important cloak. Please do get over yourselves.
posted by scamper at 1:19 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just don't want to karaoke.
posted by srboisvert at 1:20 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have ghosted under two types of circumstances: 1. when I'm oops too drunk and really need to go home right away or things will get ugly or 2. when the bar suddenly gets really crowded with really loud/annoying people and my patience is so thin that yes, saying goodbye to all 20 people I know there would, in fact, be too much.

As I texted a Mefite who inquired if I had left the bar after ghosting the Chicago meetup last Wednesday for reason number 2, "Yeah, sorry, it was fight or flight."
posted by misskaz at 1:21 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


First of all, it's rude not to acknowledge a friend who wants to be "let in" to your conversation circle. Really rude.

...

And yet this happens all the time, even among people who are generally well-behaved and polite.


This!! I went to a therapist once who had trouble grokking that this happens to me all the effing time. I was trying to go meetup events with strangers, both for singles and otherwise, and failing miserably: "Well, if they're going to be that rude, then they're not worth your time." Um, but this happens at every single event that I go to.

And so then you try to push yourself into the conversation and wind up saying "you guys playing cards?" like Flounder in Animal House. So I don't do these events anymore, despite the fact that the nonzero chance of meeting people is now zero.
posted by Melismata at 1:27 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


In much the same way that the opposite of a truth is a falsehood, but the opposite of a profound truth may very well be another profound truth, the Minnesota goodbye sounds more like the typical Irish goodbye compared to the derogatory form mentioned in the article.

As Aristotle wrote, "There are many truths, but only one Truth. Hey, has anyone seen Ptolemy? He was just here."
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:30 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


And so then you try to push yourself into the conversation and wind up saying "you guys playing cards?"

*college improv group after-party at this one guy's apartment*

*opens door to someone's bedroom*

*lots of people seated everywhere*

*everyone turns and looks*

*retreats*
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:31 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


At a large enough gathering, the pre-goodbye is a great strategy for the discerning introvert. Tell the host one-on-one that you will be leaving at some point, thank them for the invite, maybe even make a small joke about being an introvert, then bounce when you need to. No muss, no fuss.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:32 PM on July 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think it's strange that no one has mentioned the feelings of the host in this situation. If I'm having a party, it's quite clear to me that once one person makes a big show of leaving, others soon follow, like dominoes falling. Sure, every party needs to come to an end, but I'm often left thinking, "really? c'mon, people, the party is still going strong!" I would much rather my guests not make a big show of leaving, so that others who are having fun don't think about whether they really should be leaving or not. If I'm at someone else's party, I hate to draw attention to the fact that I'm leaving. THAT seems really rude to the host. Of course, I respect people's independence, and would never pressure anyone to stay. Then again, if they just leave, I don't feel like I have to.

That having been said, every party and situation is different. I do like the idea of quietly and quickly thanking your host, if you know your host is not the kind to pressure you to stay, and they are not otherwise occupied in an interesting conversation with someone. Especially if you don't know your host well, the last thing you want to do is interrupt them so they can say goodbye to someone they hardly know. I also like the idea of telling one or two close friends that you're leaving, so that should someone notice your absence, no one has to go looking for you. A text message is a good idea also.
posted by PigAlien at 1:35 PM on July 8, 2013


There's a name for this? Several, in fact? Hooray! Validation!

Mrs. Bastard and I have developed an elaborate system of non-verbal codes, including shoulder-tapping, specific eye-contact, etc. to let one another know that it's time to bolt from this fucking scene NOW. We generally try to let the host know, as we beeline for the exit, that, "hey we gotta get home the babysitter is going into overtime but thanks so much for having us buhbye!" But all others at the event can just watch our trail of dust and think whatever they wish.

If we're at an event where there are Very Important People with whom we need to maintain supercivilized relations, we will, during the course of our initial conversations with them, say "Oh yeah, we can't stay long because babysitter, but I'm glad we got to spend some time with you here!" In other words, we say our goodbyes along with our hellos.

Are we rude? Maybe. I'm comfortable with that. Generally speaking, we're very, very polite. But sometimes we just gotta get the fuck out of this godawful party ASAP, and this is one of those situations where Judith Martin can go suck eggs.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:45 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The babysitter is such a great excuse. People can't really plead with you to stay longer and you can politely get out of any attempts to prolong the farewell conversation. I'm going to miss that when my kids get older.
posted by Area Man at 1:49 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


When the kids are too old for babysitting, you can start phasing in "We have to pick up the kid from a party that she's at. She just texted that there was alcohol there. Can you imagine? At that age?
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:54 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The long goodbyes where you have to personally hug or well-wish thirty people drive me crazy, because by the time I'm ready to leave I am socially just *done*.

This is totally me. I'm done, I just want to go out the door and leave. I don't want to talk to everyone all over again as some sort of social payment to be allowed to leave.

I grew up in Minnesota. What's referred to up-thread as "Minnesota Goodbyes" was always called "door talk" in my circles. I hated door talk with a passion, but I was a kid so I could get away with just going off to sit in the car, or wandering around the lawn in blissful silence until my parent extricated themselves. It sucks to be an adult and get subjected to door talk. Especially with boors like my father-in-law, who uses it to spring all sorts of future social obligations and favors on you. My husband and I now have lots of dogs and use "dogs need to potty/get dinner/go for a walk!" as a handy way to shorten good-byes.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:54 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are many reasons why I'm generally a patient person, but a main one is because my entire childhood insists of my mother standing at the door, on her way out, and yacking, yacking, YACKING with the host.

OK mom, if you're going to be talking so much, I'm going back to play with the host's kid and their friends, which is what I was doing before you rudely pulled me away saying that we were going home.

No, *grab* stay here, we're leaving in just a few seconds.

Yack yack yack.

(Repeat.)

Years later, my father said it drove him crazy too. I felt vindicated.
posted by sockerpup at 1:54 PM on July 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's always a good idea to tell people when you leave a social gathering; it helps the police with a timeline when you wind up missing or dead.
posted by Renoroc at 2:08 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"There are many reasons why I'm generally a patient person, but a main one is because my entire childhood insists of my mother standing at the door, on her way out, and yacking, yacking, YACKING with the host."

My mother's husband's family is like this. I've known them all my life, they were childhood friends of my parents. They're super-nice people. But they'll spend thirty minutes at the door saying goodbye. And then they'll spend another twenty minutes at the car. And then maybe once people are in the car and it's started, the window will be rolled down and there'll be another five minutes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:14 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I cannot imagine leaving a house party or a wedding without saying goodbye to your hosts and thanking them.

It depends on the party, doesn't it? I used to live in a big house where we semi-regularly threw all-night parties with 300+ people on the invite list. It would have been madness for everyone to try to say goodbye to the hosts! Of course you just leave when you're done. If every guest had felt obligated to find the hosts to say hello, and then again to say goodbye, we would have spent all night on hellos and goodbyes. And, you know, sometimes it's 5 AM and the bedroom door is closed, and whether they're sleeping or having sex or just getting high in some particularly spectacular way, are you really going to go bother them?

The last house party I threw (at a different house) had something like 60-70 people and similar etiquette held. Maybe half the people there said goodbye, mostly in the wee-sma's when the party had shrunk and breaking into the conversation to say goodbye had become correspondingly less disruptive. The point is to hang out and socialize and build friendships and have a good time. Etiquette should be followed precisely so far as it promotes those goals, and ignored otherwise.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:38 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just throw down a ninja smoke bomb and nature takes care of the rest.

On the downside, the log sort of ruins the hang of your jacket.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:41 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The irish goodbye is not for MeFites. MeFites sit quietly in their booth sipping a craft beer or spritzer of some sort. MeFites say hello, goodbye and enquire after everyone's cat.

The Irish goodbye is for 21 year olds and drunks. When I am at the bar I don't know where anyone I came with with is.I don't know who the people I'm talking to are. I don't know where my cigarettes are. If I find my friends I'm probably going to end up doing a shot or a bump to fortify myself and continue drinking. Best to leave before it gets any worse. Nobody will mind because they won't remember I left.

If I go missing they can track me by my cell phone, unless I joined the CHUDS.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:47 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I combine all my ghosting with crop-dusting.
posted by Perko at 2:47 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think I can tell which of us in this thread are the introverts.
posted by usonian at 2:53 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If an introvert farts in public, are they engaging in extrovertive behavior?
posted by Perko at 2:56 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My solution is to simply never get invited to anything. It works wonderfully.

*sob*
posted by aramaic at 2:59 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


My solution is to simply never get invited to anything. It works wonderfully.

That's the thing about bars. You don't need an invitation. The only problem is everyone there started without you.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:02 PM on July 8, 2013


The maximally rude thing a person can do is impede me when I want to bounce. That is what is known as a FACT, as opposed to all this opinion being waved around.

Irish Goodbye fo LIFE!


World record Irish goodbye (which I don't consider a slur and at least for me has got nothing to do with drunk driving, as I did all my drinkling in NYC, it's about being a moody weirdo) was me and 3 other friends closing down a bar in Queens, bartender turns around to put away a glass in mid-conversation, turns back and we are all gone, he thinks we went outside to smoke, keeps the bar open an extra half hour and then sends us a text - this is a friend bartender - that says "Fuck the lot of yis Donk assholes."
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:02 PM on July 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's the thing about bars. You don't need an invitation. The only problem is everyone there started without you.
Is that why there are people queued up outside the local dive when it opens at 11:00 AM?
posted by usonian at 3:05 PM on July 8, 2013


You don't want to be like 6 drinks behind. Everyone hugging and telling you they love you and you are stone sober.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:11 PM on July 8, 2013


No that's great cause you can totally gaslight people in state state.

But I've said too much
posted by The Whelk at 3:13 PM on July 8, 2013


Man, I hate finding out that my cat-like social niceties (with a side o ADHD, and social anxiety) are actually the height of rudeness. I kind of thought interrupting people to tell them that I, ME, SUPER-IMPORTANT etc SELF was leaving, was selfish and self-important. Now I find out I've been intolerably rude - I wonder why people keep inviting me back to things. Maybe I just shouldn't go, because even tho I now know this, I'm bound to offending people some other way.

Sigh
posted by b33j at 4:08 PM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'll usually ghost if I'm at a party where I can't connect with anyone, and either the person who invited me has left or got sucked into the vibe. Getting moderately drunk used to be a good substitute, but not so much anymore.
posted by tservo at 4:18 PM on July 8, 2013


I did this fairly often. Once I've decided it's time for me to go I'm already out the door in my mind, and I'd rather just disappear than make distracted farewells that might be more rude. And sometimes I just am feeling bad and not really clicking with anyone and need to gtfo.

Another opportunity for rudeness is when a certain party is winding down, yet it's really only just started getting good. The people who didn't want to be there are gone, the butterflies have made their displays and moved on, and things are generally more low-key and friendly which I like better anyway. You've just got to keep an eye on the host for the "everybody get the fuck out now" signal because you don't want to be one of Those People. Leaving before that point is even better, but sometimes it's frustrating because: fucking hell, the party had finally just started and it's over.
posted by fleacircus at 4:31 PM on July 8, 2013


You're a ghost, a la la-la...
posted by ovvl at 4:43 PM on July 8, 2013


Three years ago we had a housewarming party here, and my buddy Art ghosted during it.

We still wonder if he might be here somewhere.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:08 PM on July 8, 2013


I've got a friend who does this so often that we just expect it of her now.

The one time it was really awkward was at a dinner party at her place, where about eight of us were all sitting in the lounge drinking an after dinner coffee (about 10pm) and suddenly noticed she had disappeared. We shrugged it off initially thinking, "oh that's what she does. I guess she left." Then we remembered we were at her house.

It turned out she had ghosted and gone to bed. She figured it would be politer than to tell us she was tired, as she was happy for us to keep on chatting in the lounge without her. No one quite knew how to handle it, though.
posted by lollusc at 5:38 PM on July 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Every time that I think that I'm an introvert, metafilter convinces me that I'm Bill Clinton in comparison to half the people here.
posted by octothorpe at 6:22 PM on July 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


I've ghosted from online communities before, sometimes due to a bang, and sometimes due to a whimper. Far better than leaving a "you all suck" post.
posted by tservo at 6:55 PM on July 8, 2013


elizardbits: "because people"

Whenever I attend parties, everybody says "goodbye", and maybe "thanks for the party" or "see you at the BBQ next month" or something else like that. Then the folks at the party all say something like "goodbye", and maybe "drive safely" or "sorry I forgot to bring that CD. I'll lend it to you next time I see you", or something like that. The whole process takes around 30 seconds, max.

So you're saying my friends are not actually people?
posted by Bugbread at 7:06 PM on July 8, 2013


I'm really confused by the French description. When you're in France, don't you have to kiss every single person when arriving and leaving?
posted by carolr at 7:33 PM on July 8, 2013


It would bother me if a friend did this, if only in terms of safety. We do a lot of "text me when you get home," etc., in my social circle, and it's good to make sure someone isn't walking alone to get a cab or bus, or to make sure they are sober enough to drive, if they are planning to.

I have also experienced situations where the person who ghosts is the same kind of person who will just hide away in a corner pouting over something until someone comes to find them and addresses whatever drama is going on. I don't know people like that anymore, but there is an overlap there to me.

I don't think there's never a reason to just up and leave. But I don't think it's an awesome thing to do on the regular.
posted by juliplease at 7:44 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know someone whose wife ghosts him at parties. At some point she's just gone, and nobody, her husband included, has any idea where she's gone, or when she left.
posted by Bugbread at 8:05 PM on July 8, 2013


Sounds like my wife. She hates going to parties in Canada, mostly because she has to talk to self-centered idiots like the writer of this Slate article.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:02 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't think of a time that I haven't done this. Especially if I had previously ordered a bunch of drinks on someone else's tab unaware, or heaven forbid people will expect me to chip in and that would just turn into an ugly conversation. The nerve of these people!

Wait, what, why am I banned from all future meetups?
posted by Literaryhero at 9:25 PM on July 8, 2013


So you're saying my friends are not actually people?

yes

probably they are millions of tiny polite spiders zipped up inside people suits
posted by elizardbits at 9:49 PM on July 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


"probably they are millions of tiny polite spiders zipped up inside people suits"

*Steven Moffat makes a note in his Moleskine*
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:30 PM on July 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I used to do this all the time. Friends know this about me. Now that there's at least 1200 miles between me and anyone I consider a friend, I don't really have any opportunities to ghost. These social conventions, and the meanings attached to them - they're made up. Inherited. Maybe it's not playing nice to just ignore them, but so what? It isn't a game I want to play, and it's not as though any real damage is being done. If some FOAF host cares so much about social norms that they really feel aggrieved by ghosting - well, so be it. There are many more important things that are actually worth getting worked up over than etiquette and eccentric social behavior.
posted by unmake at 10:56 PM on July 8, 2013


unmake: "These social conventions, and the meanings attached to them - they're made up. Inherited."

So is every other interaction at a social get together. That's what makes this reasoning so weird to me. "Yeah, sure, when someone calls my name, I'll say, 'Yes?', and if someone asks me a question, I'll answer it, and I won't interrupt people, and I won't walk away from someone mid-sentence, and I won't call people idiots, and, and, and, all of these other social conventions. But I won't say goodbye, because that's just a social convention."

It's like saying "I love apple pie, and cookies, and candies, and ice cream. But I won't eat chocolate, because it has sugar in it."
posted by Bugbread at 11:15 PM on July 8, 2013


I feel compelled to clarify that I don't mean, by that, that you shouldn't ghost, just that "it's just an arbitrary social convention" doesn't make sense as a justification.
posted by Bugbread at 11:19 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm really confused by the French description. When you're in France, don't you have to kiss every single person when arriving and leaving?

Yes, yes you do. Properly leaving a party in France takes a long time, which is why I am 100% guilty of leaving without saying goodbyes 100% of the time (context: live in Paris). The host, a couple people I talked to or am close to, and I am outta there.

Note that it is the English term that is the French exit. The French have a term for it which blames it on the English, which I'm naturally forgetting the exact phrasing of at the moment...
posted by whatzit at 12:44 AM on July 9, 2013


Also, old English slang term for condom is "French letter", while an old French slang term for condom is "English overcoat".
posted by Bugbread at 1:02 AM on July 9, 2013


I'm a veteran Ghoster, feels good man.

What's the term for 'Hot Ghosting', when you leave with someone you're not supposed to, so you both have to Ghost?
posted by colie at 1:41 AM on July 9, 2013


I ghosted my own leaving do once.
I say ghosted I mean didn't turn up.

"you all go on ahead I have a couple more things to grab"
Taxi. Train. The fuck out of dodge.

I assume they had a good time I don't really care to be honest.
posted by fullerine at 3:33 AM on July 9, 2013


i leave parties without telling anyone and then drive away while walking alongside my car

double ghosting


When I do this, I also smoke and hold it in for so long that nothing comes out when I exhale.
Triple ghosting.
posted by Gordafarin at 4:31 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's definitely down to the setting. I'd never do it now, but I had this down to a science at university parties. People called me Keyser Soze* because I could just vanish from a room without anyone noticing, even if there were only a few people in it. The reason was because conversation in some cultures tends to overflow from person to person. Finding a spot to interject "Bye!" just seems rude to me, at best equal only to those "Hi, how are you?" greetings that most people can't even respond appropriately to. Allowing the conversation to proceed and leaving silently seemed best as such.

The process was second nature to me, but basically I'd just:
1. Wait for a person on the side of the room to start talking;
2. Back out a bit;
3. Repeat 1 and 2 as needed, and yes, distance from the group, body language, and floor creaks (memorize on entry) can be a giveaway so be mindful;
4. Back out to the door, still facing the conversation;
5. With it still behind you, open the door silently (move the handle slowly) and as little as possible (the outside light tips people off);
6. Rotate 180 degrees to the other side;
7. Close the door silently.

There is a technique to the last one because doors tend to slam against their frames with the slightest touch. Once the door is almost fully shut, grasp the frame with your pinkie, ring, and middle fingers of the hand that isn't on the handle. The side of the door gets your index finger (curl it), and the back of the door gets your thumb. Use your other hand, on the handle presumably, to pull the door towards you (open). Let your thumb do the "closing", and your index finger to provide friction to slow things down (and avoid shutting it in the door!). Putting the two together, almost like a pinch, seems best. Regardless, now you should have enough control to make closing the door silent, assuming you are still moving the handle slowly.

Numbers 4-7 take about five seconds, and there only two people who ever were perceptive enough to notice it while in progress... mainly because they were fellow ghosters who often wanted to leave too. And yes, we all tended to go to multiple parties per night, so expediency was one factor.

* No criminal syndicate and ruthless violence were needed. Usually.
posted by jwells at 5:25 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


In my experience, people have only noticed if I hadn't arrived and not at all when I ghost. Especially as elizardbits say, I am not about to say goodbye for an hour because I want to just go home and wash my face and peel off the bar/party/bbq/smoke-smelling clothes.
posted by Yellow at 6:18 AM on July 9, 2013


Thanks for the great thread, everybody, but I've gotta head out. See you next FPP!
posted by Eideteker at 7:26 AM on July 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's tough enough to show up at a party why do you want to make leaving it hard also
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:51 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the advantage of being in a heteroverted relationship. My introverted husband will ghost and go start the car, and I will find the host and say goodbye. I have the excuse to butt into a conversation to do it because, hey, my husband's in the car, I gotta bounce! It also gives my husband the opportunity to sit completely alone in the car for 5-10 minutes and breathe deeply, secure in the knowledge that there are no other People.
posted by KathrynT at 9:20 AM on July 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


So if I am rude, and then write a Slate article attempting to justify my rudeness, does that make it socially acceptable?
posted by inertia at 10:39 AM on July 9, 2013


Is writing for Slate socially acceptable?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:45 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


slán leat!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:47 PM on July 9, 2013


Maybe guys can just vanish from a party and everybody's like, "Eh, he's probably fine." But as a woman, I would at least text someone there that I was leaving, so that nobody worried about me.

It is pure male privilege, and one I exact often. I think I should obviously speak to and thank my host (if there is a host), but aside from that fuck it. There are a plenty of reasons why I would sneak out of a party.

people who ghost fall into at least one of two categories: people who are tired of being at the party and people who have diarrhea.

s o c i a l   a n x i e t y.

i've discovered several strategies that work, and actually claiming explosive diarrhea is a pretty good one.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:59 PM on July 9, 2013


I think I must party differently than everyone here. Actually, I know I do.

I hate being there. I'm not talking to anyone anyway. Eventually, I just leave. Saying goodbye will involve one of two things:

1) Having to justify myself to the person who says "nooooo!!! stay, dude!!!"
2) Having to introduce myself so they know who I am and why I'm saying goodbye.
posted by DU at 10:34 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


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