Is there an easy way of asking someone to leave your home without making them feel upset?
Maybe they’re your friends or family members who have overstayed their welcome, and now you just want to wrap it up and rest for the night. Or perhaps you want to get rid of unwanted guests while still being polite.
When this happens, how should you ask someone to leave your house politely but effectively?
Here are some tips on how to handle this situation:
Table of Contents
- Mention that it is getting late
- Provide non-verbal cues
- Offering to call them a ride
- Avoid people-pleasing; stand up for yourself and set a boundary
- Suggest you move to a different location
- Clear plates to the sink
- Glance at your watch
- Set an expectation for the guests
- Humor works—that’s the smart way to get someone to leave your home
- Know that you can and should assert your boundaries
- Politely ask to suspend the discussion
- Suggest another location for the next visit
- Tell your guests that you need to get up early for something important
- Say “well, I suppose..” while slowly standing up
- Say you have an early morning ahead
- Say a hint that they wouldn’t be able to ignore
- State that you have an upcoming appointment in an hour
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What are some common mistakes to avoid when asking someone to leave my house?
- How do I know when to ask someone to leave my house?
- What if the person won’t leave even when I ask them to?
- How can I avoid making someone uncomfortable when I ask them to leave?
- What should I do if the person gets upset or offended when I ask them to leave?
Relationship Coach, Tantric Academy
The best way to tell someone to leave your house is by being direct, but if you can’t afford to look rude by directly telling visitors to leave, here are a few useful alternatives that will make you sound on point yet polite.
Let’s take the example of an evening gathering where you have invited several close acquaintances for food and wine. Even a small gathering can easily make you and your guest lose track of time.
But despite the ticking clock being a constant reminder when your guests are unbothered to take your leave, it could give rise to awkwardness.
There are ways to deal with such situations.
Mention that it is getting late
First of all, feel proud as your guests extending their stay is a true compliment in every sense. Maybe your hospitality is too appealing, preventing them from leaving. In that case, you can politely ask them to leave by mentioning that it is getting late.
“Thank you for coming. I hope you had a wonderful time. I would love to be your host again some other time. I think you should be heading back now since it is getting really late.“
Provide non-verbal cues
You can give non-verbal cues to the guests like cleaning the plates, turning off the music, arranging the furniture and cushions, drawing the curtains, and dimming the lights for them to realize that it is time for them to leave.
While cleaning the sitting area, you can politely say, “I am afraid I may have to ask you to leave as I have to clean everything before heading to bed.“
Offering to call them a ride
Another effective way to tell them to leave is by offering to call them a ride or asking if they would want to join your other guest as their destination is in the same direction.
Of course, you need to ask the other guests before making this statement to make sure they are comfortable giving a lift.
For this type of situation, you can say:
- “Can I call a cab for you?“ or
- “Would you mind taking a ride from Dave as he is heading in the same direction of your house?“
Allison Krawiec-Thayer, CPC, ELI-MP
Business Mindset Coach, PoppyLead
Avoid people-pleasing; stand up for yourself and set a boundary
In this situation, it is easy to slip into people-pleasing or “being nice” to be a “good host.” However, your commitment is to yourself and your well-being, so if you need someone to leave, you are absolutely allowed to stand up for that.
In this situation, commit to your boundary by internally noting why you are setting it (you’re tired, you need to make dinner, you have an early morning). Then, confidently thank the person or address the relationship and set your boundary.
Try not to dip into over-explaining or trying to convince them.
What I would say:
“Well, thank you so much for coming over! I love having (family/friends) so nearby! Now I really need to (shift to making dinner/winding down/finishing work). Thank you again for coming over!”
When you stand up for yourself and set a boundary like this, you are actually strengthening the relationship.
It’s likely that if you people-pleased and just let them overstay their welcome, you would grow to resent them or harbor some discomfort. By stating your boundary, you are teaching them how to love you.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Sure, we all love a dinner party that stretches late into the night, but you know what I love even more? A solid night’s sleep. So, figuring out the best way to gently wind down the evening at a decent hour is a topic that’s near to my heart.
A few ways to signal to guests that it’s time to wrap things up:
Suggest you move to a different location
An hour before your ideal party end-time, suggest you move to a different location (the living room, the back porch, etc.) for dessert.
A line like “Should we move to the back porch for one more drink?” works nicely.
Clear plates to the sink
Blow out candles on the table and clear plates to the sink. I stop short of actually doing the dishes while guests are there (a little too aggressive), but simply clearing them is a signal that things are winding down.
Glance at your watch
A simple glance at your watch with feigned surprise, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s already 11 pm! How did the night go by so quickly?” is a great way to subtly send the message: it’s been fun, but the evening’s done.
Of course, you can always pull a move that I’ve been known to do with close friends: put on your pajamas, make a cup of tea, tell everyone to have fun and then shut the door to your bedroom. Nighty night!
Certified Life Transformation Coach, OnlineDivorce
Set an expectation for the guests
I think it is always a great idea to set an expectation for the guests. I often say something like, “I am free until 10 tonight. How about you hang out at my place?“ right when planning to receive guests.
This way, I don’t have to directly tell them that they are not welcome beyond the designated time, but they leave by that time anyway. But sometimes, this might not be enough. It is easy to lose track of time, both for you and the guests. And when the guests lose track of time, it is seen as disrespectful for the host to point it out.
You can casually mention what you plan to do once they leave.
For example, I remember a guest mentioning a stressful incident at work, and I just quipped, “work can be so stressful, I understand you. I have a whole document to review by tonight.“
It was effective. The guests realized that they should leave soon since I had important work to finish. And they were gone within the next 30 minutes!
Legal Specialist, Adamson Ahdoot LLP
Humor works—that’s the smart way to get someone to leave your home
When I was a kid, I rode my bicycle everywhere. One day, I parked it in my friend’s driveway behind his mom’s minivan. She was about to leave and told me, “If you cherish that bike, you probably should move it.” Then she laughed. I laughed, too, and promptly moved my bicycle out of the way.
I learned that there are gentle ways to get your point across. Humor makes everything go down more gently.
That’s the smart way to get someone to leave your home. You could say, “If you don’t want to see me grouchy at work tomorrow, you may want to head out so I can get ready for bed.“
Or you could say, “Unless you want to sit in my living room in the dark, you may want to head out. I’m about ready to shut everything down and go to bed.“
Make those statements with a smile, followed by a laugh. If they don’t work, keep thinking of more things to say that are mixed with humor. The more you make references to them leaving, the faster they’ll get the hint.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Asking someone to leave your home can feel awkward because it seems like a confrontational thing to do.
Essentially, the worry is that the person won’t feel welcome (perhaps they aren’t welcome, but you don’t want to hurt their feelings), you might not want to make them feel bad about themselves or make them angry at you. Perhaps they won’t be happy to be told to leave, and you are uncomfortable causing them to feel unhappy.
Fortunately, there are polite ways to tell someone to leave your home.
Know that you can and should assert your boundaries
It’s important to know that if you don’t want someone in your house for whatever reason, you can and should assert your boundaries and have them leave.
Your mental, emotional, and physical health matters, too, not just the person you want to leave. Most importantly — it is your space.
Often hosts worry about how the guest will feel if they are told to leave, but the host’s feelings also matter, and it is important to remember that. If you have a legitimate reason, then it is okay to assert your boundary.
Be upfront — use “I” statements
If you are going to politely ask someone to leave, part of being polite is providing them with an explanation as to why they are being kicked out. They’re going to want to know why.
Tell them the reason by using “I” statements to avoid putting them on the defensive by responding with “you” statements.
For example, rather than stating, “You keep talking too loudly, and you need to go,” you can instead say, “My family and I really need to start settling down for bed, and we need to keep the noise down. Would you mind heading out for the night, and hopefully, we can get together again at some point?“
The two statements request the same goal but are vastly different in terms of etiquette.
Apologize and thank them
You can ease your request by apologizing and thanking them for coming. For example, instead of saying, “Please leave now,” or you can go with, “I’m so sorry, but we need you to leave now. Thank you for coming.”
The second option has the apology and thanks, so it helps make the request sound kinder, more concerned about the person’s feelings, and indicates that you’re happy they came for as long as you were able to have them.
Invite back for another time
Telling the person that you hope they come again will send the message that you aren’t asking them to leave because you dislike them or their company.
Instead, it sends the message that now is just not a good time, but another time would be good.
This is another way to soften the request for them to leave. However, if it is a situation where you don’t want them to come back, definitely don’t invite them back. It would be kinder not to lead them on.
In that case, leave out the words “please come again.”
Be mindful of your tone and body language
How you request them to leave matters. Having your arms crossed with your eyebrows furrowed and yelling at them to “get out” is rude, off-putting, and certainly not a polite way to tell someone to leave.
You can instead speak in a calm and even tone of voice, with a smile on your face, letting them know that you enjoyed their company, but now you need them to leave for whatever your reasons are.
Related: Why is Body Language Important?
Asking someone to leave doesn’t have to be awkward, rude, or confrontational — it is possible for the request to be made in a kind and empathetic way.
Founder, The Karate Blog
It is fun having people come around to visit, especially during holidays, festivals, or celebrations. But, not every visitor understands or knows when to leave. Sometimes they feel so comfortable that they forget they have overstayed their welcome.
Here are a few ways to politely ask your guest to leave:
Politely ask to suspend the discussion
On occasions where the visitor gets carried away with the conversation, offering to suspend the conversation will be a great idea.
This will not only be a signal to the visitor but will also let them know that you are interested in the discussion, but you can always have it some other time.
For example, when there is an ongoing conversation, you can start with:
“Sorry to cut you, dear. Can we please have this discussion some other time? I don’t mind coming over to your place so we can continue our conversation.“
Offering to visit will create a level of understanding that won’t upset them.
Suggest another location for the next visit
In a situation where you have more than one guest, and you want to tell them to leave politely, but you also want to create the illusion that you want to spend more time together, suggesting the next venue will hint to your guest that they need to leave, even though you would love to spend more time together.
For instance, while grooving at your place and you need them to leave, you can start by reducing the volume of the music, so they can all hear you well.
Then, proceed to ask, starting with:
“Hey, girls (if it is a girls’ night party), what about we meet at Stella’s place next Friday to continue the party?“
This comes in the form of a question and might be discussed till there is an agreement.
Director of Operations, Force by Mojio
Tell your guests that you need to get up early for something important
We’ve all been in that situation where your houseguests are staying just a little too long. The party has wound down, and other guests have left, but there are still one or two stragglers that just won’t leave.
How do you go about asking them to leave without being rude?
Well, if you’re from the Midwest, apparently, you just say “welp“ several times until they get the hint. In the South, it’s more of an “alright then” several times in a row.
You could also tell your guests that you need to get up early in the morning for something important and that you should be going to bed.
Offering to let your guests sleep on the couch is always a solid passive-aggressive move to get them to feel guilty about staying so long. I don’t advocate for passive aggression unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Wellness Expert | Executive Editor, Macy Michelle
Say “well, I suppose..” while slowly standing up
If you would like someone to leave your house and you live in the Midwest, follow these simple steps:
- When there’s a lull in the conversation, say, “Well, I suppose….“
- Then slowly start standing up.
- If your guests are fellow Midwesterners, they will also stand up and head toward the door.
- There may be a little more conversation and a few more rounds of “well, I suppose…” but that simple line will get anyone out of your house in a very polite manner!
As I type this out, it sounds silly, but this is a true practice that we follow in Wisconsin.
Relationship Expert | Co-Founder, Platinum Poire
Say you have an early morning ahead
- Politely ask them to leave your house. You should never have to feel bad about ending your hosting duties, especially if you’ve been more than generous with your time and hospitality.
- Say you have an early morning ahead — maybe a workout class or meeting at work. I cannot emphasize enough that if your guest respects you, they will respect your schedule.
- Start emphatically yawning. It’s okay to say you’re tired, as they should get the point and respect your time.
- Begin doing the dishes or laundry. The more you move around, the more likely your guest will realize you are preoccupied.
- Take the dog for a walk. If your guest has any sort of social cues, they will take the hint.
CEO, The Pricer
Say a hint that they wouldn’t be able to ignore
I have a friend who has a habit of inviting me and my wife, along with a bunch of other friends, over to his place at least once a week. He is very welcoming, and we really enjoy staying there.
This also means that it happens from time to time to get carried away and stay later than normal people would. He always starts to tell us how the Sun is hiding and how it’s getting darker and how we’re into our third movie.
But if we still didn’t take the hints, he would always just get up at one point, look straight into his wife’s eyes and say loudly and firmly: “Let’s go to sleep, honey, maybe our guests are tired of us and want to go home.“
It always cracks everyone up, and it isn’t a hint we would be able to ignore. I don’t know if this is the most polite way of asking people to leave, but it surely works every time.
Co-Founder and Career Coach, Management Help LLC
State that you have an upcoming appointment in an hour
Asking someone to leave your house is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you are close to the person or you are blood-related. So, when asking someone to leave your house, it is best to always take the polite route in order for your visitor to not create any ill feelings towards you.
The easiest way to do this is to state that you have an upcoming appointment in an hour and you need to leave soon to be present in your meeting on time. You can follow this up by offering them a ride to where they are going.
This method shows that you are truly sorry for this scheduled appointment and you have no choice but to attend to it, so you cannot let them stay in your house.
This also gives them an idea that you are not a fan of surprise visits and prefer to follow a pre-scheduled appointment. Lastly, this gives them the idea that a surprise visit may not always be welcome to your house.
As this is not very straightforward, the possibility of offending them is very low.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common mistakes to avoid when asking someone to leave my house?
When you ask someone to leave your house, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid. Here are some you should keep in mind:
Being passive-aggressive: Avoid using passive-aggressive language or behavior, such as slamming doors or giving the person silent treatment. This will only make the situation more uncomfortable.
Waiting too long: Don’t wait until you are completely tired of the person’s presence to ask them to leave. Address the situation immediately if you feel uncomfortable.
Being too harsh: While being firm is important, don’t be too harsh or confrontational. This can damage your relationship with the person and make future interactions uncomfortable.
Not offering an explanation: It’s important to give the person a reason why you’re asking them to leave. This will help you avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings.
How do I know when to ask someone to leave my house?
There is no universal timeline for when guests should leave your home, as it depends on individual circumstances.
However, a good rule of thumb is to be mindful of the time and energy of the gathering. If it’s getting late or the energy is waning, it may be time to tell guests it’s time to leave. Remember, there is nothing wrong with limiting the length of a visit.
What if the person won’t leave even when I ask them to?
If someone refuses to leave your home after you ask them to leave, you should address the situation calmly but firmly. You might say, “I’m sorry, but I really need to sleep tonight. I’d appreciate it if you’d leave now so I can get some rest.”
If the person still doesn’t want to leave, it’s okay to call a friend or family member for support or even call the police if the situation escalates.
How can I avoid making someone uncomfortable when I ask them to leave?
Honesty and politeness are key when asking someone to leave your home. You should approach the situation with respect and care and try to put yourself in the person’s shoes.
It’s also important to remember that everyone has their own boundaries and that setting boundaries is a normal part of any relationship.
What should I do if the person gets upset or offended when I ask them to leave?
It’s possible that the person may get upset or offended when you ask them to leave. Here are a few things you can do if that happens:
Remain calm: Remember to stay calm and collected during the conversation. Getting angry or defensive will only make the situation worse.
Validate their feelings: Let the person know that you understand they may be upset or offended. Validate their feelings and try to see things from their perspective.
Reiterate your request: Clearly reiterate your request that the person leave. Use a firm but polite tone.
Offer an alternative: If the person is upset, but you still want to maintain a relationship with them, offer them an alternative plan. For example, “I understand you’re upset, but why don’t we plan to do something together next week?”
Give the person space: If the person is very upset, it may be best to give them time to calm down before continuing the conversation.
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