Getting rid of friends who just won’t leave

By Ali
Category: Personal | Date: Fri 31 Oct, 2008

One of the great things about living in halls or a student house is that friends can drop by your room for a natter at any time. Unfortunately, this can also be one of the most trying things about student life too.

Most people are good at taking a hint (e.g. you pick up your text book and start flicking through it anxiously) about when it’s time to go, but how can you get rid of those individuals who just won’t leave? If you tend to be a bit diffident, you might struggle to say anything as direct.

So here’s a simple two-step process:

1. Glance at your watch/clock/phone and look surprised at the time

The impression you want to give here is that you were enjoying yourself so much, you lost track of the time. Saying something banal like, “Gosh, it’s nearly midnight,” or “Wow, where did the afternoon go?” can work well.

(Staring fixedly at your watch, huffing and tapping your foot will mean that even the most unobservant friend gets the hint – but they may also be a tad hurt!)

2. Make a good excuse (“I need to get on with X”)

A good excuse is one which doesn’t leave them room to say “Oh, you can do that anytime” or words to that effect. Something like:

  • I’ve got a class in half an hour and I need to prepare.
  • I’m going to get an early night today, because I’ve got an essay to get through tomorrow.
  • My parents are visiting this afternoon so I need to chuck you out and tidy up – sorry!

Don’t say “I should do my essay / get an early night / etc”. If you use should, friends will often think you want talking out of it!

If all else fails, and you’ve tried the “I’m getting an early night” and “Gosh, look how late it’s getting”, I’d recommend the “I’m going to get my pyjamas on now” ploy. That’ll send any platonic friends scuttling…

Over to you

Do you have an “open-room” policy which sees friends dropping round at all hours of the day? How do you encourage visitors to leave when they’ve overstayed their welcome?

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