How long do you have to stay at a party?

The moon over clouds.

Dinner party a dud? Your first instinct may be to make up an excuse and head for the hills, but bailing before dessert is a major faux-pas. So, just how soon is too soon to make your exit?

Proper party etiquette suggests that if you have RSVP’d “Yes” to an event, you should be in attendance for the main portion of the party, unless you let the host know otherwise in advance. For a dinner party, this means you should be in attendance for the entire dinner (and even stay slightly longer, for good measure), not just a course or two. A good rule of thumb: If it’s a party with a guest of honor, such as a shower or birthday, stay until after cake is served.

For larger scale, less personal events—think cocktail party, New Year’s Eve blowout or other big bash—it’s acceptable to make an appearance, then jet after an hour. But no matter when you make your exit, don’t ghost, thank your host: Make the effort to seek out your host and say a sincere merci before you depart. Remember, they probably spent hours prepping for the party in anticipation of your arrival, so don’t just show up for the free food and booze and then hightail it out of town. If the soiree’s such a snooze you fear you’ll doze off before your hour’s up, make your own fun: Start a party game or strike up a convo with someone you've never met. Who knows? You might end up enjoying yourself so much you’ll forget you ever wanted to leave.

Start planning your own get-together by sending one of our dinner party invitations or cocktail party invitations.

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