Exit Strategy

I don’t like saying goodbye.

When an evening out to a dinner or event begins to wind down, I prefer a quick wave or hug goodbye and out the door I go. However, social standards seem to require us all to spend MORE time exchanging farewell pleasantries even when it’s clear everyone just wants to go home.

Many years ago I decided to abandon those habits and, on occasion, just get up and leave. Anti-social? Not at all. I’ll see all these people again soon.  Possibly even the next day.

Thankfully it seems I’m not alone and this special art form known in some circles as THE IRISH EXIT.


Urban Dictionary:

Early versions of the term Irish Exit come from Irish Americans leaving social functions like Church, football games, and plays. When the functions let out people would congregate outside and chat with each person they knew and say goodbye before heading home. This usually added 30 minuets to an hour to the evening. When there was little or no time to do the customary goodbye, the family would leave through the side door. The side door move became known as the Irish Exit. The term has come to mean leaving a place without saying goodbye to those you are with or those you came with.

Yep. That’s me. That’s what I do. Can’t help myself.

With that said, I do have rules when it comes to leaving a social engagement before it’s complete. If it’s a small gathering of less than 15 people, I won’t disappear without telling someone (unless I’m about to choke to death as I described in the award winning blog post: THIS LITTLE PIGGY).  However, if I’m in a large group setting for more than 4 hours and it’s clear the evening is (or should be) coming to a close…I’ll vanish.

Quick Rule Recap. The Irish Exit will be set in motion if:

There are > 15 people and the event is > 4 hours.  Hey, I don’t make the rules.  Well…in this case I suppose I do.

I began to hone this special craft during my company holiday dinners. I truly enjoyed hanging out with my colleagues but after a 4 hour dinner it would always become clear that this would be a marathon evening that would possibly never ever, ever, ever, ever end.  At that point, I would act as if I were going to use the restroom…and never return.  The Irish Exit at it’s finest.

However, I’m slowly beginning to change my tune. There are moments when I bend or even break these rules.


I was at Game 6 of the World Series in the Bronx (2009). Yankees vs. Phillies.

There are no two baseball teams I despise more. However, I was about to see the Yankees win a World Series in their brand spankin’ new stadium. Yankees were up 7-3 after the 6th Inning and all I could think about was how I should probably leave so I could get home at a decent time. But I stuck it out and witnessed a very small piece of sports history. I didn’t role into my bed until 3am but it was worth it.

Occasionally it’s worth staying to the end.  You never know what you may miss and I reminded of that again this week.

I went to see The National this past Monday.  Yes, a Monday night…a night I’m usually resting my fat noggin on a pillow by 10pm after drinking my Chamomile tea with lemon.  Don’t judge.

I was having a great time but once 10:30pm rolled around, I was thinking of my exit strategy.  I shoved the thought to the side and decided to stick it out. I’m so glad I did.

The concert was a loud and fun.  But for the last song of the evening, the band unplugged and played an acoustic version of “Venderlyle Crybaby Geeks”.  Everyone in the building was singing along.  It was fantastic and a great way to end an evening.   Extremely happy that I stayed and enjoyed the entire show.

Below is a video that someone else took of the song/experience a couple of years ago (sorry it’s so large…my bogging skillz are rusty).

Good thing I didn’t attend the concert with more than 15 people in my group.  Otherwise I would have totally bolted at 9pm.




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