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Is It Rude To Leave a Dinner Party Early?

Is It Rude To Leave a Dinner Party Early?

Dinner parties are a great way to get together with friends and family for a night of good food and conversation. They are a chance to explore recipes, share stories, and enjoy each other's company. Despite the fun of a dinner party, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to leave early but don't want to make a wrong impression. 

Whether or not leaving a dinner party early is rude depends on the circumstances. If you have RSVP'd, it is important to stay for most of the dinner and even afterward unless you have notified the host beforehand. However, some emergency cases can justify leaving before the night is over. 

Each scenario is unique, so there is no simple answer to whether or not leaving a dinner party is rude. If something comes up in the middle of dinner, try not to make a scene, and thank the hosts before leaving! Below, we will break down some scenarios based on standard dinner party etiquette. 

Dinner Party Etiquette

Before joining a dinner party, it is essential to brush up on dinner party etiquette to be a good guest. Hosts put a lot of time and effort into their parties, so being prepared is a respectful thing to do so the night goes smoothly for everyone involved. If you don't know where to start, don't worry! We've got your back. (For the hosts, check out our free dinner party eBook!)

Pre-Party Preparation

Before the dinner party begins, you will likely receive an invitation with the option to RSVP. The RSVP is essential and should be done promptly. This will allow the host enough time to prepare and also give you a chance to let them know about any dietary needs. If you feel your dietary restrictions will not work for the host, you can offer to bring something to contribute. 

If you are not sure if you can attend, do not RSVP yes. If you have a prior commitment, you can respectfully decline and send your best wishes. If you have something during but can make it to most of the night, let the host know and see if they would be ok with you making an appearance and leaving early. 

This is a crucial step– if the host knows about your early departure and approves it, it is not rude to leave early

It is also customary to bring the host a small gift, such as a bottle of wine, so keep this in mind when you attend. 

During the Dinner Party

During the dinner party, thank the host for the invite and make a point to converse with them at least once during the night. This way, you can be sure to make a good impression as a guest, especially if you have pre-planned to leave early. 

If you have a set time to leave, keep an eye on the clock to ensure you give yourself enough time to clean up and exit. 

Sometimes, we can only pre-plan for our early departure once it comes. Maybe the sitter called to let you know your child is not feeling well. Or, perhaps, youare feeling unwell. 

Many different scenarios could cause the need for an emergency exit but do not panic. If you've got to leave, be honest with the host and try not to make a scene. Any gracious host will understand emergency circumstances beyond your control. 

If the dinner party is the cause of your need to leave early, this can be a situation where it may be rude to leave early. Maybe you're bored or have had awkward conversations during the night. It is also possible that you do not like the food and would like to leave early. 

Though each individual has needs that should be met, consider staying for the party until you've spent enough time with the host. They have put a lot of time and effort into the night, and leaving early for no good reason is inappropriate

Unless your safety or mental well-being is on the line, you should stay at least until dinner is over. After all, you've chosen to RSVP to the occasion!

Say Goodbye Before Leaving 

Whatever the reason for your exit, try to do so in a way that does not disturb the other guests. You do not need to say goodbye to everyone at the party, but instead, be sure to let the hosts know you are leaving and thank them on the way out.

However, you should do so without making a scene, of course. It is a good idea to wait for a lull in the discussion. Never interrupt the host's conversation with others. If possible, telling the host privatelythat you're leaving is also a good idea. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with other guests at the party! Your exit doesn't have to be a house-wide announcement; just a heads-up to the person who invited you. 

If it is an emergency, you can leave the situation with a quick goodbye and follow up with the host later. They will understand–and if they don't, there's nothing you can do about it. Emergencies that require your presence are likely more important than being polite. However, you can always reach out to the host to offer your explanation and take them out to drinks or dinner to make up for it. 

After the Dinner Party 

After the dinner party, thank the hosts one last time. If you spoke with them about an early exit before the party, consider thanking them for letting you come for a bit. 

If an emergency pops up, you can thank them again for understanding the situation and tell them you had a good time. However, if you left because you were bored or no longer wanted to be there, you might have some more explaining to do. Being thankful after a dinner party is essential to completing the process. 

And while on the subject of leaving dinner parties too early, it’s also worth noting when dinner parties typically start. Check out my article discussing the right time to start a dinner party for more information. 


Leaving a party early is a personal decision that depends on the circumstances. It may be necessary for someone to leave early for an important event, for health reasons, or because they have an early morning the next day. Additionally, if someone feels uncomfortable or overwhelmed, they may leave early. 

Ultimately, the decision of when to leave a party is up to the individual and should be respected as long as they have acted respectfully to the host.