You’ve just showed up to a party. You’re drinking, you’re dancing, you’re mingling when BOOM — you’re cornered by the dreaded annoying party guest. Here are the top 5 ways to make like Houdini and gracefully excuse yourself from a bothersome party guest.

Ditch Annoying Party Guest

1. Pass them off to a friend like that pair of socks you re-gifted at Christmas. It’s your big night out on the town (okay, so your co-worker’s college roommate’s best friend is having a house party and you showed up with the best bottle of wine $7 can buy), but you’ll be damned if you have to spend all night talking to Brad about vegan dog biscuits. Wait, who’s that over there? Brenda? Brenda, meet Brad. This is your moment — just hand said annoying party guest over to a friend, ditch them both, and don’t look back. After all, what are parties for if not for forcing your friends into awkward situations? Now, where was that wine?

2. Politely excuse yourself to use the restroom. So what if you don’t actually have to use the restroom? All that matters now is that you’ve almost certainly found a surefire way out of that conversation you never wanted to be a part of in the first place. Plus, it’s probably the one place you won’t be followed. You’re welcome.

3. Use a secret sign. What are best friends for if not for rescuing you from awkward situations? (Just make sure this best friend is a different best friend than the best friend you intentionally put into an awkward situation in scenario 1.) The key to pulling this off is pre-planning and subtlety. You and said best friend should agree on a secret code before the party in the event one of you needs rescuing. Something not too obvious, though (like a well-timed hair flip) — you don’t want to blow your cover. If you’re not feeling quite James Bond enough for the task at hand, then try this trick instead: just excuse yourself to get another drink. You can even offer to get the annoying person a drink — just drop it off with a “nice talking to you!” and then keep walking. Gracious yet effective.

4. Pull the ol’ “I think I’m getting a phone call” trick. Time to use a lifeline. When you just can’t take the bore’s relentless monologue anymore, simply pretend like someone just called you (remember, you’re at a party, it’s loud, most people keep their phones on vibrate anyway — it’s not the end of the world if the annoying party guest never heard your phone fake ring) and then politely excuse yourself.

5. Fake an illness. Try making an exit by, say, rubbing your temples and causally mentioning your family history with migraines. Or, take the less subtle approach and start violently coughing. The key is to fake just the right amount of illness — after all, you’re just trying to excuse yourself from one person, not the whole party. Politely excuse yourself for a moment to “get some fresh air” or “take some ibuprofen.” Now’s your chance to finally put that semester of acting classes you took in college to good use.

If all has gone well, you’re now free to get back to dancing, and drinking and mingling. Party on!

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