What Is An Irish Exit And When Is It Actually Acceptable To Do One?

Leave a party without saying goodbye? Love that for you.
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Picture this. You’re at a party, thinking “It’s time to go.” It’s loud and exhausting, and you have no idea where the host is, so you decide to pack it up and leave without saying goodbye. If that sounds like something you’ve done before, I’m here to tell you that means you’ve participated in an ‘Irish Exit’.

The age-old phenomenon has been around for years, and while it may not top the list of preferred departure methods, it has TikTok hooked, with #irishexit earning an impressive 11 million views.

How did the Irish Exit get its name, though? Irish author Judith McLoughlin explained that it seems to have several origin stories and theories of its existence.

“It’s a term we wouldn’t use in Ireland, so it’s purely an American term,” McLoughlin states. She furthered this statement by saying Irish people are known for their “exuberantly welcoming nature”, which extends to goodbyes too.

Either way, the discourse on the topic is as rife as ever. In a recent study by language learning platform, Preply, esteemed etiquette expert John Paul discussed all things ‘Irish Exit’ and his three pieces of advice for when you should (and shouldn’t do it).

Is it crucial to say goodbye?

“Whatever you may or may not do at a party, leaving without saying goodbye to the host is considered poor form,” Paul states. “You always should say goodbye to your host, as the pleasure of your attendance was requested by them, so it used to be phrased. You are essentially saying thank you by saying goodbye.”

When is it okay to perform an ‘Irish Exit’?

Paul explains that there are times when not saying goodbye, but only when it is impossible – not because you didn’t want to.

“You may have to get their attention whenever the chance arises, even if it’s a little premature in the evening,” he mentions. “Failing that, the best option is to have another guest explain your absence on your behalf.”

If you are going to leave with an ‘Irish Exit’, how to do it

Paul mentions that if you’re going to leave with an ‘Irish Exit’, do it quickly.

Tidying away your cup and sitting with your coats and belongings for an extended period could be badly interpreted, so it would probably be best to try and avoid that.

“If you have found yourself in a situation where you have undertaken an ‘Irish Exit’, you should most definitely let them know some other way afterwards, such as a text or a thank you letter the following day,” Paul said.

Feeling guilty? Don't worry – there’s a whole world out there (including the person writing this) that believes in the good of an ‘Irish Exit’ and whether you decide to do it at your next social interaction or not, just know, we support you.


Theres always 1 person in the friend group that leaves before the bill @outandaboutpod

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