How to Get People to Leave Your Dinner Party

You might be reading this post hiding out in the bathroom, trying to figure out how to get your guests to leave your dinner party. While you should be happy your guests are enjoying themselves, one won’t stop telling inappropriate jokes, another is yawning, and you really just want to go to sleep.

There’s no shame in wanting to end your party, whatever the reason.

Here are some ideas to help you get out of your predicament, what you can do in advance to avoid shooing people out, and what exactly to say when your friends still don’t get the hint.

How to get people to leave your party BEFORE the party starts.

You can take preventative measures before your dinner begins, so you don’t need to beg people to leave.

1. Set an end time when you invite them.

If your idea of a fun dinner party ends on time, warn your guests when you invite them. It’s much easier to tell people it’s time to go when they already know in advance that you want them to leave early or at a specific time. When you send a message to your friends, tell them the party is from x to x time. You can make a joke about it ending promptly at 9:30 pm (or whatever time you choose) 

Make sure you allow enough time for your guests to eat and not feel rushed. For example, you shouldn’t expect people to leave at 9 pm when serving dinner at 8:30 pm. It’s just not enough time.

2. Hide the booze.

It’s easy for time to pass by when you’ve had too much to drink. Unfortunately, being intoxicated can lead to people missing obvious cues making it more difficult for you to get people to leave your party. To help avoid this situation (and still allow your guests to have a good time), try limiting having an open bar. Keep drinks in the fridge or the kitchen rather than on the table, use smaller glasses (if you have them), and encourage people to drink water.

3. Ask a friend or partner to help enforce your end time.

Sometimes being a host sucks, and the last thing you want to do is to be telling people what to do. Get your partner or a friend you’ve invited to make sure they know you want the party to end at a particular time. This way, they can help round up people and start cleaning up or turning down the music to help people understand the party is coming to an end.

group of friends drinking together in a kitchen

How to get people to leave your party WHILE it’s happening.

Your guests are just having too much fun, but you want them to leave. Here’s what you can do.

4. Make a joke out of it.

A friend of mine recently shared this Twitter post with me on Instagram, which I thought was pretty funny. Feel free to use it to help get people to leave your party.

Yesterday I learned there's a phrase in German meaning am feeling visited  enough" that you can say when you want company to go and this is brilliant.  - America's best pics and

5. Be honest and firm.

If having your guests stay an hour longer than you want, you know how it’ll affect you the next day. Tell them you have errands to do in the morning, how you’ll (we’ll) all feel better the next day if we end on a high note, and that you look forward to the next time you all get together.

Keep it short and sweet.

6. Stop serving alcohol.

It’s easy to get carried away with booze when it’s readily available, but if everybody’s glasses are near empty and there’s no alcohol in sight, it’s much easier to get people to leave your party. If you stop serving alcohol, this will signal that your party is nearing its end time. You can leave the empty bottles on the table but refrain from opening up one last bottle for a nightcap, which can drag your party on longer than you want. 

Tip: 15-20 minutes before you want people to leave, do a “last call” and explain your party is just about over.

7. Wrap it up.

Turn down the music, blow out the candles, turn up the lights (just a little), and start putting dishes away. Yes, you can begin cleaning while your guests are around if you’ve gone through some of the other points in this post and they are still lingering. If they offer to help, you can take them up on it or just say no worries, and they’re free to leave! Your guests will (well, should) get the hint that the party’s just about over.

person cleaning dish in sink

How to get people to leave your party (if they STILL don’t get the hint).

8. Play Enya.

I play this Enya playlist when I want my son to sleep. Hopefully, the soothing melodies will have a similar effect on your guests and make them want to crawl into their (own) beds.

9. Give your guests something to do.

If you’re still figuring out how to get people to leave your dinner party, I commend you for being so patient.

I like to give lingering guests a task. If they’re going to hang around, they might as well be helpful! Ask them to take dishes off the table, load the dishwasher, or dry the wine glasses you’re washing by hand. Hopefully, this will get them out of their seat and get the memo that you want them to leave.

10. Kick them out.

If you must, sometimes people need to be asked to leave. Put on your PJs, brush your teeth, and push them out the door if they still won’t leave. Do it kindly, and say something like, “Hey, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to get you to leave now.”

Wait, are they still there?

By now, I hoped you’d left the bathroom and figured out a way to get people to leave your dinner party. I would love to know which (if any) of these tips worked and which didn’t. If you have any others to add, leave a comment below or send me an email!

Read This Next

how to host a stress free dinner party cover image
How to have better dinner party conversations cover image
Guy looking through records for a dinner party playlist

Leave a Comment