My husband and I saw a play that was so bad we left during intermission. We would have left earlier but didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves and disrupt the play. I always feel funny being the first to leave any event so at a party I permit myself to leave only after someone else leaves first. Seeing the first person leave is like a signal for others to leave and then there’s a stampede toward the door. All at once fifty people are grabbing their coats, gloves, hats and bags and elbowing their way out the door.

As a host you never mind the person who leaves first; however, you do mind the person who leaves last. When you have a guest who won’t leave you’re faced with the question – how do I get rid of them? Do you give hints such as yawning or changing into pajamas? Do you give verbal hints proclaiming you’re tired and have to rise early in the morning for work? Do you make promises you don’t intend to keep such as, “I promise to call tomorrow, Mother, if you go home, now.”

As a host, should you feel obligated to watch television with them? Should you feel obligated to feed them the turkey sandwich they request, after the kitchen has been closed for the night? Do you rub their feet as requested or do you request they lift their feet so you can run the vacuum under the couch?

When it comes to unwanted guests I’m reminded of a line Tony Randall said in one of my all-time favorite shows The Odd Couple, “Never overstay your welcome or you’ll never be welcomed to stay over.” No truer words have ever been said.

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