Give up and ghost the host, leave a party without saying bye

10 July 2013

When it comes time to leave a social gathering, sometimes people simply drift out the door without saying a word. It’s bad form for sure, but dispensing with what feels like contrived pre-departure small talk, might make for a more graceful exit. It turns out though the practice is quite widespread. So much so, it has been given a name, and has become known as “ghosting”:

Goodbyes are, by their very nature, at least a mild bummer. They represent the waning of an evening or event. By the time we get to them, we’re often tired, drunk or both. The short-timer just wants to go home to bed, while the night owl would prefer not to acknowledge the growing lateness of the hour. These sorts of goodbyes inevitably devolve into awkward small talk that lasts too long and then peters out. We vow vaguely to meet again, then linger for a moment, thinking of something else we might say before the whole exchange fizzles and we shuffle apart. Repeat this several times, at a social outing delightfully filled with your acquaintances, and it starts to sap a not inconsiderable portion of that delight.

Context is everything of course. We’re talking large events here, not small, intimate, dinner parties. That said, how many people here have first hand experience of this? Of ghosting? Yep, as suspected… I see more than a few of you nodding your heads.

Originally published Wednesday 10 July 2013.