You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here

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you don't have to go home but you can't stay here
The last few parties I’ve hosted made me gunshy about wrapping the night up. There have been a couple people who stick around long after I’d like to go to bed. They don’t get the hint — there’s an ending time on my Facebook invites, I start cleaning up the kitchen, I’ve even changed into my pajamas before only to have the guests keep hanging out. It’s not like they’re deep in conversation! They actually seem sort of bored.

I’m just not frank enough to say, “Guys, I’ve got an early morning tomorrow. I’d love it if you leave.” How else can I prevent my guests from overstaying their welcome? -Anton

Oof, that’s tough. What have you got, Homies?

Comments on You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here

  1. That is tough, especially since you’ve covered what seem to be the most standard of bases (Pajamas even? And they don’t get the hint? Yeesh.)

    I am forced to ask my friends to leave, especially when we’re all back in out hometown and I’m at my parents. My mum and dad are relatively early to bed and definitely early to rise. If I want to do things with them, I need to get up early too (plus, I get sleepy at eleven or so). I’ll tell my friends outright, and though it might be a little out of your comfort zone, you might want to try too.

    You could also schedule more lunch events, and don’t supply dinner. Or everyone loves brunches. You could even schedule something after. (“Oh, Clueless Clara, I’m sorry, but I have an afternoon hair appointment. Sorry to run you out, but I’ll see you soon!”). You could also try to leave those people off your invite list, or if it’s really only one or two people, ask a designated mutual friend to give them a hint. (“Oh Hostess Heather! Thank you so much, but you must be beat. I bet you’re ready for bed and we all ought to be going.”)

    Otherwise, recommend an all-night diner in the area, or a bar and hope that plus your pajamas and frothy tooth-brushing mouth will be enough to scare them to another haven.

  2. Honestly, just tell them. Or at least that’s what I do… considering many of my friends are still students and I like to get up at 5.30 A.M. to get some writing done. It helps, though, that most of them use public transportation for getting to my place, and the last bus leaves around midnight. (Which is late for me, but…)

    So, just tell them. “Honeys, I’m tired, out you go!” ^^

  3. I think it’s okay for you to be direct. I have a friend who does this and I’ve never seen anyone get offended. She usually says something along the lines of “Hey guys, I hate to kick you out but I’ve got an early start tomorrow.”
    You might also try the Let’s-move-this-party-somewhere-else trick. After everything is cleaned up, suggest taking the party elsewhere, like a bar, dance club, or an all-night diner. Stay out for only half an hour then bid everyone adieu and head home alone.

    • My friend and I use the “Ok, I hate to kick you out, but…” all the time in college; it’s just sarcastic enough to make people smile but direct enough for them to get the hint.

  4. Just say “Alright guys, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”, as simple as the title of this post. You can say it in any tone you wish. Friendly and lighthearted if you’re wishing not to offend, but to get the point across. Or direct, firm, and blunt if you’re not concerned about inviting them again.

    I’ve had those friends, believe me!

  5. I’ve been in that situation before where no amount of yawning and feigning (well not even really feining) sleep on the couch will get the guests to leave. I know it’s difficult to be frank if that’s not in your nature (luckily I have made it part of mine at this point!) but one trick I would do is start brushing my teeth and ask if the guests needed extra pillows and blankets. Most of the time they’d suddenly realize I was trying to sleep and say “Oh, don’t worry about us, we actually have to leave” though on occasion I did end up with unwanted breakfast buddies the next morning. You could also try telling them that you’d need to wake them up at 6am since that’s when you would be leaving. That typically scares overnighters off. Also try employing a friend to start the leaving process by grabbing everyone’s jackets and handing them out.
    The easiest way I have found at this point is to just really own your space and say “Hey guys, thanks for coming but I am beat and have a full day tomorrow. Let’s get together again soon, but I really need to go to bed now.”

  6. My favourite line of all time for this sorta thing is: “would you like a cup of tea before you go?”

    Implying that after the tea they should go. Or you could do the “I have SUCH an early morning tomorrow, what about you?”

    • i saw on tv a few years ago (it may have been on queer eye for the straight guy, don’t judge me) that serving coffee usually gives people more of a hint than turning off music and turning on lights….

      a casual “i’m going to have a coffee, does anyone want one before they go?” should give them the hint without being too direct or giving offense.

  7. I am sometimes one of those people that can’t take a hint (although, in your case, I think I would know when you started to change for bed). One of the best thing to do with people like me is to be direct earlier on in the night by saying that you have an earlier day tomorrow. That way people know what is coming later on when ask them nicely to clear out.

    • That was going to be my suggestion–make the announcement early in the party that you have an early morning the next day and that you’ll need everybody out by 11, 12, 1, whatever. If you do it early and with a smile on your face, there will probably be a mass exodus around your shutdown time, and if you end up having to ask people to leave, you don’t come across as bitchy or a killjoy. πŸ™‚

      • I would add that instead of just having an end time on the fb, also put one in the event information, i.e. “I do need to be up at a reasonable hour the next morning, so please plan your ride home for around 12:30” or something like that, so they know you mean business. If guests still hang around after the stated end time, my approach is to stand on a large piece of furniture and loudly announce, “OK! I love you all to bits and this has been a real slice of heaven, but I’m about to die of exhaustion, so you all need to leave!”

  8. I agree with JPT further up…the same people who are insensitive to my house rules don’t get invited the next time around. But as for the current party, after a point I tell them outright to leave. Where I am now, I’ll state that I’m going to bed and if they want to stay up and chat with my roommates, cool. Otherwise, go home.

  9. I, and a couple of my friends, are usually known to make the announcement “I love you all dearly, now get out of my house” in a friendly, teasing tone. No one has ever gotten offended, and frankly if they do, they don’t get invited back. It IS your place after all, and they do need to respect it. It’s not rude for you to lovingly toss them out, especially where you’re not exactly being subtle on the clues. At that point, honestly, they are the ones being rude by ignoring them.

  10. In my group, it’s pretty common for the host/hostess to say, “Okay gang, I’ve got to kick you all out now.” We all know each other well enough to know who is an early riser that will need us to leave early and who would prefer that we stay until daylight. So we know that if we hang out at Kit’s house, she’s going to kick us out. And we’re cool with that, or we would find somewhere else to chill. Once you establish a habit of putting a firm end to the evening, people will adjust.

  11. This is a big problem in my group that just doesn’t get dealt with. I’ve even just gone to sleep while they’re still at my house! My muffin is in the Navy, so when his friends come over they can’t get enough of seeing him on Skype. I’d feel mean to tell them to go, yknow? I know Muffin likes talking to them, too. So I just go to bed! Heh πŸ˜›

  12. As many others suggested, this doesn’t have to be confrontational or uncomfortable, you can be direct and sweet/funny at the same time. In my house, it usually goes something like this, “Okay my darlings, it has been a delightful evening, but I’m an old lady and it’s midnight (usually more like 10:30) and I have to go to bed, so get out of here.”

    Of course, the ditch gets harder if it’s not a night-time event (brunch, etc), especially if you don’t have “real plans.” With my friends I can say, “I’m having so much fun, but I really have to start getting some shit done, talk to you later this week?” The same thing works with my family, but I can’t initiate the ditch with my mother-in-law or sister-in-law. I feel like this is really my hubby’s responsibility, but he sucks at wrapping up conversations (on the phone or in person), I have to literally drag him by the arm out of places because he goes to say goodbye to people and starts new conversations… oh no, I just realized HE’S that friend who can’t take a hint when the host/hostess wants him out. Crap.

  13. My husband gets up super earlier for work, so if our friends stay too long he will just fall asleep in his chair. (That makes us sound so, so old!) That’s usually a pretty good way to get the point across.

  14. We have friends who do this–the same couple every time! I used to be afraid to say anything, but I’ve learned that there are just some people who need to (and in this couple’s case, expect to) be told when they should leave. I’m not able to be quite as blunt as the boyfriend (who will say “Well, we’re going to have to kick you out now, guys”), but my usual line is (yawn yawn) “I think I really need to go to bed. Thanks so much for coming tonight!” and then getting their coats or asking if they were taking anything with them.

  15. Maybe about 30 minutes before the end time, announce a final drink call or activity. Its lets you say “please leave in 30 minutes” while also being nice about it.

  16. Wow, this is such a strange question for me. When I’m ready to go to bed at one of our parties, I just … go to bed. Then again, we encourage people to crash and are usually up for hanging out some the next day if they’re still around. Sure, my Facebook invites have end times, but only because the formatting seems to require it – not because I expect anyone to notice them.

    So … coming from my world view I guess I would go with “Well, I’m going to bed. Gotta have energy to clean all this up tomorrow. If you’re planning on sticking around to help I can go ahead and grab you a blanket…” I imagine most people would leave at that point. And if they DO take you up on your insincere offer to stay, at least they are obligated to help you clean the next day.

    Personally, I tend to love my overnighters as many of them take it upon themselves to wake up before I do and start cleaning up. I have often woken to a post party house where the only evidence is a few trashbags full of beer bottles and paper plates.

    OH! Helpful thought! If your friends come from the same social environment that I do, they may genuinely not realize that you expect them to leave before you go to bed (or to leave at all). So telling them any of the above suggestions “I hate to kick you out, but …” will not be offensive. It will be informative. Sometimes it’s not that people are being rude, or even oblivious to your cues (“Man, she’s had her pajamas on for 20 minutes now. Why doesn’t she just go to bed?”), they just have a different series of social expectations and need to be told where those differences are.

    • My friends are all like this too. It was actually a problem when one of us got a new gf who wasn’t used to this arrangements and who would get more aggravated as the night wore on until she finally snapped, which baffled everyone else. We get it now, but it would have been easier for her to have just piped up earlier.

    • i just go to bed too!
      but right before i go to bed, i always ask “who is staying the night? i’ll bring the pillows and blankets out and whoever wants to stay can. but i’m going to bed!” my hubby and i have went to bed after a party and our friends just let themselves out and lock the door behind them. good thing i trust them! πŸ™‚

  17. Considering you said they often seem kind of bored by the end I can’t help wondering if there isn’t a mix up of hosting styles going on. Maybe they’ve had it drilled into them that it’s rude to leave early and they’re waiting for you to tell them to go?

  18. another vote for a friendly/sarcastic “love you guys, but you need to leave now…”

    I’ve also said this in the same breath that I suggested getting together soon for another event.

  19. My husband and I were invited to a couple’s house that was about my parents’ age for a little get together. (I was their Barista and quitting my job to move and they wanted to give me a little farewell at their house). It was just the 4 of us, but the best way we were kicked out of their house was “Lets grab your stuff and I can give you a tour of the house on the way out.” It worked really well since we wanted to leave, but not quite sure how to be polite about it. They left the tour of the house for the end! Not sure how it would work with people who have already been to your house, but my husband and I have used that trick now for new people coming to our home πŸ™‚

  20. We have a friend who has a huge party every year for his birthday – probably 100-150 people in and out from 6 PM on. Around 2 AM, he goes through the house and says “Ok, it’s time for people to start leaving!” I love it – it’s direct and to the point. No mistaking what he means! πŸ™‚

  21. Sup I don’t recommend this but I will share lol.

    I met a girl while overseas that was having a rough time with culture shock. I would invite her over after work to talk but then she would stay well past bedtime. My boyfriend worked odd hours and usually didn’t get home until after 10 pm and she would STILL be there even though it was a work night. I was just too nice to tell her to scoot.

    One night after several weeks of this my boyfriend had had enough. He saw the girl in the apartment, said hello, then took off his pants and sat at his desk. She got the hint that night lol.

    • Haha, I was going to say in response to the original post, if changing into PJs doesn’t work, maybe it’s time to start sleeping in just underwear.

      I’m probably more of an “I hate to kick you out, but…” type. Honestly, though, sometimes I’m in the situation as a guest of worrying about leaving too early and being rude in that manner. It can be tough sometimes to strike the right balance…

  22. I’m going to agree with everyone and say there’s nothing rude about nicely telling people you’re done. I have a hard time being blunt sometimes too, but even if you don’t think a semi-sarcastic semi-loving “I love you, now leave” will fly, it’s easy and polite enough to say “Thank you so much for coming, but I have an early morning and I really have to get to bed.”

    I also agree that, as a guest, it’s nice to know when you’re expected leave, or if it would be rude to peace out too early. I would never want to hang around after I’ve worn out my welcome!

  23. My current line is: “Okay guys. I’m turning into a pumpkin. Goodnight!”

    Usually they’ll leave, or else finish watching the show/movie/board game we were playing and then leave. But, 99 percent of my friends I’ve known for 10 plus years and they all have keys to my house. It’s not uncommon for me to come home and they’re there cooking me dinner or cleaning for me. Which I love.

    (And for the record, my wake-up time is 3:45 am, so you all can imagine what time I turn into a pumpkin.)

  24. We have a soft rule of 11PM being the time we split up on days when people have work the next morning. My fiance is usually the one to shoo people out when we hang out here. Saying “ok it’s getting late, so after this game/movie/we beat this level, we should pack it up” seems to work well. If the others aren’t done hanging out, they can move operations to their place. Nobody’s ever gotten upset by us taking that tack. Plus, you’re not exactly throwing anyone out, just making a suggestion. Most people are not rude enough to argue about bedtime in someone else’s home. If they are, they’re crappy friends anyway.

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