An old friend was telling me about a party she recently threw to celebrate her husband’s retirement. Many of the invited guests were colleagues of her husband who had worked with him for several years. The party went well, save for one thing: My friend and her husband noticed that quite a few guests left without saying goodbye.
My friend was confused. These were folks who wouldn’t be seeing her husband, their longtime colleague, again after the party. It seemed only appropriate that they should take a moment to shake his hand and wish him well before taking off.
Also, it seemed bad form to not say goodnight and thank the hosts before leaving. This wasn’t a nightclub or a college kegger in which people came and went as they pleased. It was a classy affair for about 50 people, and to just leave unannounced seemed inconsiderate.
I know some people don’t like to make a big show of saying goodbye, and would prefer to slink out the back. But to hosts, it seems like bad manners when your guests don’t take a minute to acknowledge that they’ve had a nice evening.
If there’s an emergency and you really must head out, or if the host is nowhere to be found after you’ve waited a while, at least pass on your regrets to another guest. I would send a polite note or text the next day to apologize for leaving without saying goodbye and to thank them for playing host.