After reading the title alone, you may have had a negative reaction already. And why not? Half the world, if not more, believes that leaving without saying a proper goodbye to friends is just a jerky move. How can you have drinks for the whole night with someone and not say goodbye, omg? But here’s where the brain freeze comes in – it’s not that rude at all.
While you’re talking with your friends or family members, you get involved in not only the conversations you’re dragged into, but the drinks you pour down your throat. You start to realize (or not), the conversations are getting deeper, they get lighter and more fun. Someone shouted “one more” at the end of the gang circle. You’re at that stage of deciding whether or not to get that last one. Shoot, someone just got for you. Ah, well.
And before you realize, someone shouted “one more” again from the gang.
Regrettably yet bravely, you choose to stay and have that “last drink” for the fifth time. Alright, no more, time to say goodbye.
Now, this is endless. You’re almost passed out and start to feel that the “last drink” was way too much, but what the hell. You wanna say all the goodbyes. Few of those friends are deep in some kind of conversation, you can’t get a word in. You jumped in quickly, phew. One gets annoyed for not finishing his last sentence. Goodbye. Bye Kevin. Yup, see ya later Sean and so on and so on. You move on to the next ones. God, they’re yapping like crazy, but don’t want to be a rude SOB…
We all know this story. For some, it happens every weekend in the pub or at their friend’s house. But here are the words we want to make bold – NOBODY CARES.
When you are at a party, had a few beers and decided to leave, the party will continue. The sun will rise, like it always does. Look, I’m sure you have lots of friends who consider you one of the main stars of the show. But if you are leaving a bar or a party, saying goodbyes is usually a big waste of time. Your friend’s time. Kevin’s time. Nicola’s time. Your time. Just a big time consumption when you are telling how much fun you had consuming overpriced drinks and being cornered by Kevin who talked about his German Shepherd named Penny, for 45 minutes.
The Irish exit is not rude. It’s a sign of emotional intelligence, of self-absurdness. It means you know where you stand with everyone else, that you have some semblance of awareness. It’s the rare burst of selfless subtlety so uncommon in modern human interaction. You are choosing not to hold everyone back, by abandoning your own self-serving goodbyes.
That’s a good thing.
But the term has a negative connotation. It’s basically saying that Irish people get so intoxicated that they forget to say goodbye — which is not wholly untrue, that’s why the name has been chosen after the Irish. Or in some variations, it’s a reference to Potato Famine refugees who left Ireland without any warning.
This is not what we are digging into, though. This isn’t about leaving your friends and never speaking to them again to escape the mortal coil you brought on yourself. It’s simply about exiting a bar/party without exchanging frivolities. It’s way different.
But like any social construct, the etiquette of landing a goodbye via Irish exit has “ground rules” that make all the difference…
- Alcohol must be involved, almost all the time: Hence the name. This makes it far easier to both dismiss your dipping and justify your silence.
- If someone texts you, reply: If you ignore people’s texts asking if you left, then the name “Irish” will turn into “douche-bag”.
- Don’t do it if you really think it will hurt someone’s feelings: If you truly think someone would get offended by you leaving without saying goodbye (the friend you hasn’t seen you in years, the one who flew from another country or friends who live far away), re-think your exit.
- Close all tabs before you leave: This should be obvious. Don’t elave your friends with the bill.
- Tell at least one person you “might” be leaving: At least 20 minutes in advance.
- Use discretion if leaving a smaller group: When underneath the six-person line (including you), take care when exiting the Irish Way. Read the room. In such intimate gatherings, this is potentially asshole behavior.
- Text the host/focal point of the party the day after: which, in retrospect, is probably more meaningful anyway.
If you stick these rules in your head, then you’ll be fine. It has nothing to do with being an introvert or the guy who lacks moral fiber. It’s the opposite, really.
Goodbyes are a bummer. As once Ella Fitzgerald said, “Every time we say goodbye, everyone at the bar dies a little”. No one wants to infect a casual, supposedly fun get-together with a micro-dose of death.
And that’s why I don’t say them.
In fact, I’m leaving you right now.