Polite Alternatives to Ghosting

A Slate article from 2013 has been resurrected again, proliferating among those of my Facebook friends who still use Facebook for means other than stalking exes or pending blind dates. It’s about “Ghosting,” the non-culturally-offensive term for peace-ing out of a party without saying goodbye.

I suppose this term is still offensive to ghosts, so ghosts, I apologize.

There are benefits of ghosting, the author notes — it’s a time saver, it avoids awkward conversations, it keeps the party moving, those who are obsessed with you don’t have to feel the emotion of sadness that lingers in the space between a pulled-away hug, etka, etka. And thanks to modern technology (one that’s been around at least since the time of Nokia and Snake) shooting a text post-disappearing act covers your bases so as not to cause a mid-fête search-extravaganza.

The author acknowledges that ghosting is rude. Still, like a true Larry David, he writes, “Let’s free ourselves from this meaningless, uncomfortable, good time–dampening kabuki. People are thrilled that you showed up, but no one really cares that you’re leaving.”

Unfortunately, the narcissist in me has to disagree.

I say unfortunately because I love to ghost. One minute I am “going to the bathroom to check my hair,” and the next thing everyone knows I’m reporting live from my bedroom with a bag of that weird snack-mix featuring Doritos, pretzels, SunChips and Cheetos. I’m not even sure what the hell company makes that mouth fest but I’m pretty sure my local CVS buys it off the black market. I say I disagree because a lot of people get mad when I leave. A lot of people get mad when we leave — we, the collective group of humans who have been taught (and then reaffirmed by Slate) that it’s okay to do the dip.

If you are of the camp who digs an escape route with your spork before the cookie cake’s even been cut, consider these polite alternatives to ghosting, if for nothing else than to help regain some dignity to these otherwise perfectly social apparitions.

1) Instead of business cards, have “goodbye” cards made and keep them in your wallet. Print various excuses on them: “My cat just swallowed the neighbor’s laptop,” “I was unaware today was also my own birthday,” and “The host owes me money,” are some nice ones. Feel free to mix it up so that everyone can swap different stories about why you left. You will create mystery, but not drama.

2) Make a very big deal about your departure. Employ the use of a smoke machine and confetti. Maybe a few doves. This way you can say goodbye to the entire room of people at once instead of making individual stops.

3) Get the entire party involved in a conga-line, or as many people as possible. Position yourself right in the middle, right in the belly of the snake. Then, after you’ve made at least two laps, unleash your grip from the shoulders of the person in front of you and run for the door as fast as you can. This way, at least every can watch you exit. Loudly yell, “DUTY CALLS!” And then never look back. Not even if someone calls your name.

4) Create a signature “goodbye” song. This may take a few parties to implement, but just as Pavlov’s dogs learned that a bell meant food, your friends will learn that, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” is your official bow-out jam.

5) Wear roller skates so that you can make a fast lap while doing a royal “see ya later!” wave. If anyone questions you explain that it’s past your bed time. They don’t know your life.

People will definitely think you’re weird, but that’s fantastic. Weird is wonderful. And anything’s better than rude.

Add your own, Casper.

Image via Interview Russia and Frankie’s Apartment