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5 Polite Ways to Get Your Guests to Leave, Experts Say

Here's what you should do when friends have overstayed their welcome.

Hosting people in your home is often a joy—but even when you love your guests, it can be exhausting. That's especially true when some guests fail to realize when they've overstayed their welcome. Knowing how to subtly get people out the door without being rude is one of the more challenging skills involved in hosting. To help you out, we consulted experts for tips on how to get your guests to leave. Read on for five ways you can get to bed faster without hurting anyone's feelings.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Things You Should Put Away When Guests Come Over, Experts Say.

Ask them how they're getting home.

friends celebrating the new year party at home

Asking your guests how they're getting home makes it clear that you're thinking about their departure. It's one of the most effective ways to get them to leave without directly telling them they have to. According to Jon Stephens, a hosting expert and the director of operations for Snowshoe Vacation Rentals, it's effective but still polite.

"You can easily work this into polite conversation as an expression of concern, especially if alcoholic beverages were served at your function," he explains. "This question subtly gives your guests a hint that the visit is nearing its end without creating an uncomfortable situation."

Stop serving refreshments.

Cropped image of young man holding wooden tray with various vegan food. Male is with healthy meal at social gathering. He is at home.

If there are still snacks and drinks being passed around, people may be less likely to realize things are winding down. Erin Dierickx, LMFTA, who provides therapy services in Seattle, recommends that hosts stop serving alcohol and snacks toward the end of the gathering to help persuade people to call it a night.

"Anything guests can consume will keep them there, especially alcohol. Food and snacks keep people around, too," Dierickx warns. "When those are not there anymore, it's one less thing to focus on, enjoy, and hang around longer for, and therefore the guests will begin to dissipate."

Start straightening up your space.

woman washing dish and friends serving food in the kitchen

On top of taking away food and drinks, Dierickx also recommends bringing the rest of your home back from a party vibe as well. You can start doing this by cleaning up the dishes and trash around the room.

"This subconsciously indicates to guests that the party is coming to an end and we are preparing to wind down in a clean and organized space," Dierickx explains.

You should also consider turning any music down, off, or to a "much mellower vibe," she advises.

"Music adds to the party, so when that is shut off or there is a slower and calmer genre playing, it sets the pace and mood of a party that is winding down," Dierickx says.

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Gather everyone for a group photo.

A group of friends have a party or celebration outside in downtown Los Angeles, California. One of them takes a selfie of the group on their smartphone to share on social media.

A clear "closing" activity can help get people moving along and out of your home, Jaye Harrison, a hosting expert and the founder of Parties Made Personal, tells Best Life. Harrison recommends suggesting a group photo as the closing activity for your party.

"As the party winds down, gather everyone for a group photo. This creates a natural sense of closure and serves as a final activity before guests start to leave," she says. "After the picture is taken, you can thank everyone for attending and express how much you enjoyed the evening."

Make it obvious that you're tired.

Young husband yawning getting bored listening to excited wife talking for a long time, tired boyfriend not interested in girlfriend gossiping sitting on couch at home, boring conversation concept

Non-verbal cues can be a life-saver when it's getting later and people are still there, says Kurt Walker, an etiquette expert and CEO at Cream City Home Buyers.

"Show that you are tired," he says. "As opposed to asking a guest to leave directly, yawning can indicate that it's past the host's bedtime."

On top of that, you can also make the "classic glance" at your clock—which often "works like a charm," according to Walker.

"These subtle cues give the impression that it's late and can be a nicer way of asking a guest to leave," he explains.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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