People always worry that it’s rude to leave early. Actually, it’s ruder to overstay- to be a rave when everyone else it at a (grim phase) kitchen dinner. Conversely, though, it is perfectly acceptable to be at a dinner while everyone else around the table has their metaphorical rave hat on.
Because- within reason- if you leave and they mind, they are terrorist friends and you need to examine the power balance, says Tatler magazine in a recent story on the subject which covers all aspects of when it’s acceptable to make a dash for it.
Here, according to the Brit magazine, are some rules and some ways to leave should you need a little assistance:
Yes, you can leave after pudding but before coffee. And that is the general rule. If you are at a house party and there is no commute (other than up the stairs to your bedroom), you cannot leave until coffee is drunk. It’s the price you pay.
If you are given tea (not coffee) and pudding and chocolate all at the same time, then the host has a box/secret lover/early start and you should get your coat.
If you are at a wedding, it really is best to stay for speeches.
If it’s a weekday supper and they serve you dinner at 10, then it’s perfectly acceptable to leave after the main course.
If your host starts doing any chores other than washing up (such as emailing, making packed lunches, ironing) just leave. You will by this point have missed many hints.
If you ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife is there with a new squeeze and no one has bothered to warn you, then- providing the break-up took place less than a year ago- you can leave as soon as you arrive.
If you are drunk enough to slur/trip/grope/be sick, then off you go.
The children are getting up for school. They must NOT see you- you think you look normal. You do not look normal.