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WATCH: How to Subtly Signal That the Party's Over

This three-step method never fails.

So, you’ve hosted a party. Thanks to your planning skills, hospitality, and unfailing charm, your guests have had a great night. However, the job isn’t yet finished. Your hosting responsibilities aren’t over until all the guests are out the door. The host or hostess has a responsibility to set the tone and, when it’s time, end the gathering on a high note while sending the guests home. This is important not only for the host, who’s usually ready to clean up and clear out at the end of a party, but also for the guests, some of whom feel a responsibility to stay until the end of the event.

How then do you usher your guests out the door subtly and politely? It’s easier than it seems. Keep reading for our foolproof, three-step method, which will help hosts navigate the final stages of winding down a party.

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Step One

When you’re ready, begin cleaning up, gathering cups and plates, and tidying. This is a subtle, non-verbal signal that partygoers should immediately understand. This step will set the expectation that the gathering is wrapping up and guests should prepare to leave. (A bonus: Some guests may also offer to help you clean up, which is always welcome.)

Step Two

Next comes the verbal exchange of farewells, which the host can begin by thanking everyone for attending. Addressing the guests as a group or each guest individually with “I had so much fun tonight, and we should do this again soon,” will end the gathering on a positive note. If guests don’t show signs of budging, the phrase “I have an early morning tomorrow and should get some sleep,” should prompt their departure.

Step Three

After the non-verbal and verbal signals, the last step in wrapping up the party is, of course, physical movement toward the door. The host should gather everyone’s coats, thank them again for coming, and walk guests to the door. Voila! Party’s over. Plus, everyone’s happy about the possibility of getting together again soon.

How do you signal that it’s time for guests to leave? Any tips for closing the evening on a high note?

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