How to Make a Graceful but Early Exit from Any Social Situation
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How to Make a Graceful but Early Exit from Any Social Situation

Almost everyone has attended an event and couldn't find the right way to leave early.  This is due to a feeling of guilt and in many instances an obligation to attend, or, perhaps the event you wanted to attend didn't quite turn out as expected.  What do you do?

First, It is important to consider the circumstances PRIOR to attending.  A friend of mine ALWAYS had a back-up plan.  Regardless of where we went, there was an alternative.  Caution using this however as not to make plans with another individual 'just-in-case' and then stand them up because your having fun when you thought you wouldn't be.

Second, Set the stage.  If you felt uncomfortable attending to begin with it might be better to send a card or telephone and let yourself off of the hook easy.  A quick phone call although painful might be less painful than hours of boredom! But if you truly must attend your bosses six year old daughter's dance recital then set the stage early.  Appear frazzled upon arrival and mention "it was tough getting here because of X (difficult getting that project done, especially one for work-hint!) but glad I made it." "I'll have to fly early because of X (more work to do, have an obligation-hint!).  The important thing is to allow yourself a means to leave when you arrive and not let yourself be pulled farther in.  Escalation of committment-once you're there, it's harder to break away because of that guilty feeling.  However, if after you set this stage and find out you actually are having a good time, then feel free to make that phantom phone call and then mention you can hang around a while longer. Or, if someone mentions they "thought you had to leave" express "Oh my gosh, I forgot, I need to make a quick call" and then return indicating it's all good.

Third, Sometimes bailing out early is BEST-regardless of reason.  If you are not enjoying yourself you're dead weight on the party.  Sometimes when there is an uncomrtable person hanging around it drags everyone else down.  Once they leave everyone else is relieved and can start having a good time. So don't feel guilty, be kind and thank the person for the invite, then make your way out.

Forth, The "I have a headache" excuse is a bunch of nonesense that nobody appreciates.  If you think you are fooling someone forget it. Far better to be honest and mention that you have to be going.  Honesty, although painful at times for both you and the host, is still the best policy.

Fifth, There are excuses that are acceptable.  Examples such as the babysitter is having a hard time with the kids or the kids are sick. The important thing is to not stretch this out because most folks will follow up on this crisis when you meet back up with them. Especially if they suspect a phony excuse. What do you say?  "Oh, it was nothing, little Billy punched his sister and the babysitter was having trouble maintaining order."  Most times, incidents like these are very truthful-trust me when I say you don't know the half of what goes on when you're not home!

Ever consider sometimes YOU were invited out of obligation?  Of course not.  Think of that nice host who invited you when all they really wanted there was their best friends from work.  Unfortunately you worked in the same office and overheard the details so they felt obligated to include you. Better to pass on these events, or if you made the mistake to be there then step up and make it worth your while. You just might gain some new friends. But if all is not going well, then be true to yourself and leave. No excuse needed, just say thank you and that you need to be going. Sometimes mystery is a good excuse as it leaves people wondering what else you might have going on.

Lastly, If the person was kind enough to invite you then there are times when being selfish and bailing early may not be the right call.  Suck it up for their benefit.  Kind of like when you attend the opera with your wife-you don't want to be there but you went for HER and it means something, right? Or when you ladies attended the football game and froze your a-- to the bleachers so your man could drink beer and scream at the top of his lungs.  On second thought, scratch that, most guys would rather let you off the hook and allow you to stay home. But, if you go make the most of it, for HIM. And susequently, for that kind person that thought of you and invited you to their function, make the most of it, for THEM.

So there you have it.  Next time think things through before you accept the invitation, have a plan before attending, be ready to bail, and by all means always express regret and thankfulness for attending.

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