Have you ever been sitting on your sofa, staring blankly at the “friends” sitting across from you, wondering when the heck are they going to leave?
With me, there hits a point at night when my bed becomes very important to me. The talking, joking, laughing, and story telling that was fine moments before becomes cumbersome, and each tick of the clock brings another jump in my level of irritation.
As my eyes fill with blood, I begin dropping hints. They start subtle and escalate to blatant. Eventually, most friends pick up on those hints and escort themselves to the door. Others, somehow, do not. Or choose not to. Either way, they park themselves on that dang couch, wedging their still very happy and very awake behinds between me and a good night’s rest.
Well, I’ve developed a trick to get them out of there without resorting to rudeness. I’m going to warn you right now, it takes guts. I also can’t promise you that it works every time. Some friends, for some reason, just won’t get that you want them to leave until you finally put your hand on their shoulder, slap them with the next morning’s newspaper, and say, “dude, the sun just came up. Go the heck home.”
Here’s the trick. Do what they do in supermarkets. Start turning off lights, one at a time.
Think about it. The store needs you to leave so that they can close shop. They also need to keep from making you feel unwanted because they would like you to come back. Those are both important goals to consider when giving a friend the boot. Turning off one light at a time in a supermarket warns the shopper that if they don’t hurry, they’ll be wheeling around their edibles in pitch blackness. Turning off one light at a time in your home warns the loiterer that the punchline of their next joke might also be given in pitch blackness.
So, I literally just stand up and when my lingering friend takes a breath, I flip off a light. I then let them keep talking, wait for another pause, and then flip off another light. The house darkens in a hurry.
It generally ends like this: “Ummm… are you turning off lights so that I’ll leave?” I answer them, “we actually closed 30 minutes ago.” We laugh, hug, and say goodbye until next time.
Sometimes it ends like this: “Dan, are you still here? I can’t see anything. Dan? Dan? Hmmm… Anyway, I was at the mall last week, and this girl came up to me and…”
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS, what’s your trick to getting late night visitors out the door?