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Dec 18, 2008 09:28 PM

How to get dinner guests to go home

This may sound silly or simple but how do you get guests who do not want to leave your home after a long night of food and entertainment?

They generally come over at 6. At around midnight I make subtle hints about the evening ending. Around 1 I suggest that it might be getting to be my bed time or that I am very tired and should be wrapping things up. At 2 and 3 after I have thrown my hands up in bewilderment my husband tells them it is time to go to which they act like they do not hear us or get up and stand there talking and moving to other topics I guess they feel we did not discuss to death at the dinner table. Last week they left at 3 a.m. and the wife was really put out because I accidentally fell asleep on the couch. She woke me and told me she was sorry she bored me. I felt bad, but I was dying. I just do not know how they do it.

The husband probably drank 4 bottles of wine alone and was still functioning. I have tried withholding liquor, but he just goes over and pours himself a scotch. I am both bewildered and laughing. I am pathetic I know. I cringe when my husband tells them they have to go... NOW or we will leave them in the living room to go to bed. It has come to that.

When we go to their house we leave at 11 or so to try to set an example, but they act like we are treating them poorly by dining and dashing (5 - 11!!!). I tell them I want to be invited back and have surely loved their company, their amazinng cooking and a wonderfully entertaining evening, but that all good things must come to a close.

I wish we could just forget them, but they are always in our faces, always calling and they are our neighbors. it would be weird.


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  1. When I managed a very busy Country Club, there were members who liked to stay way past the liking of the staff. To get them to leave without nary a word.....

    We would turn up the air conditioning on high and freeze them out.......worked every time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      I'd turn off the heat, but she loves that (menapause) and he would just put on his jacket. No lie. But a splendid idea for the country club hangers on. We used to put the lights up intolerably high at the restaurant. Chased them right out. I wish we could do that at home and have it work. They would just go turn them down and tell me I have no manners. If they only knew!

      1. re: Sal Vanilla

        Then go the other way - turn it up and make them sweat!

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          How about putting on some music you know they hate? Kinda like they do in malls or other public areas to keep the kids out.

        2. re: fourunder

          I use the AC trick too, plus change the music over to Barry Manilow (my wife's CD's, and not mine - by a long shot). Usually, those lingerers get the hint.


        3. Just go change clothes and come out in a robe, works every time.

          8 Replies
          1. re: duck833

            OMG I will do that! I swear I will!!!

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              And walk around the living room, winding up your alarm clock.

              1. re: TheSnowpea

                My dad used to tell late-hangers-on, "What size pajamas do you wear? I'll bring them out and you can sleep on the couch."

            2. re: duck833

              I once 'accidentally' spilled some water on myself so I would have to change. I changed into pajamas. That got them out quick.

              1. re: duck833

                That was something my father did more than once. Allegedly.

                1. re: duck833

                  Or, hand out towels for the guest bath, downstairs, and let them fend for themselves, though I do mention that the Bulldogs sleep downstairs too.


                2. I once had a friend who, as a newlywed, found his in-laws daily visits not desired. One day he arrived home from work, said a pleasant hello and went in to shower....
                  Walked out after the shower naked as a jaybird, saying " Oh, I didn't realize you were still here!"

                  They never came over without an invitation again, and remained very good guests for the next 40+ years...

                  Just a thought...

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: al b. darned

                      In this day and age, others at that moment may think the party has just begun. ..

                  1. Great solutions offered here but it is hard to top Duck833's! They sound like the neighbor friends from hell. Perhaps start watering down the scotch and wine as well.

                    1. In the future, put a closing time on your invitation. Like "From 6PM to 11PM".

                      Also, once it's a reasonable hour to close, be direct.

                      You cannot be abused in this context without your consent.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Karl S

                        I guess I'm fortunate because most of the people I hang around with are either good at judging when it's time for them to go, or have compelling reasons of their own to turn in (at their own abodes) at a point this side of sunrise.

                        But, for those who don't, I absolutely endorse your suggestion of including an end-time on the original invitation.

                        It's always been acceptable to note one on cocktail party and shower invitations, etc., so why not on dinner invitations to folks whom you still care to invite, but to whom you're not ready to make the commitment to co-habit? :-)

                        And if they *still* don't get a certain point... I'd have no issue with saying *politely* as I amble over to the coat closet, "Well, we have an early commitment tomorrow [none of their business what it is, btw], so we must get some sleep. But we really enjoyed having you here tonight. When do you think we could get together again?" ****

                        ****That last sentence is to re-assure them that we're not kicking them out because we don't like them. However, if they are residualists, and on an excessive number of consecutive visits hang around the front door talking too long while hubby props himself up the doorknob, eventually they'll stop hearing that last sentence. Or...we'll meet them at (escapable) restaurants.