It can strike at any time. You’d love to stay at the party, but your normally steadfast liver isn’t interested in having another round. You stand up and your knees aren’t quite where you thought they’d be. It’s time to go, but the time to say goodbye was ten minutes ago. Now it’s time for an Irish exit.

“But isn’t that rude?” You wonder as one arm swats at the remaining sleeve of your jacket like a dog chasing its tail. Maybe. But it’s always time for an Irish Exit when the alternative is much worse.

First, ask yourself if saying a dramatic goodbye could cause a mass exodus? This might make you the catalyst for ending the party, which you don’t want to do. And worse: Then people will want you to stay longer while they make their goodbyes. You will be awash in offers to walk you home or share an Uber, when what you really need is some sweet fresh air, a bit of a walk and no one asking any questions. Second, just embrace that it’s a coward’s move and, therefore, something you’re doing for yourself. There’s no rule saying you have to be the absolute last person at every single party.

Always, always Irish when your disappearance won’t be noted, but your continued drunken appearance would.

When to automatically Irish:
Can you say goodbye? If not: Bail.

If you were laying down some serious game with that cutie at the end of the bar earlier in the night and now realize you cannot possibly follow up: Bail.

If someone you’ve flirted with before has arrived to the party late and you were laying down some game earlier with the cutie at the end of the bar and you can’t possibly address either: Bail. Please bail. Bringing two dates to the same dance is a 90s sitcom premise. Not a field sobriety test.

Always, always Irish when your disappearance won’t be noted, but your continued drunken appearance would.

Notable exceptions:
You cannot Irish on anyone you dragged to the party. This includes friends, dates and that guy from work who came out with you. These people, if they are going to stay, should be alerted.

For this same reason, you cannot Irish on your party subgroup. If someone’s waiting for you to come back from the bathroom and they never see you again, they might get worried.

The sober caveat:
Sometimes you’re the sober person at the party. You’ve had your fun, but after a few hours of sitting around watching others spit while they talk, you’re ready to go. Just use your judgement. Since you are likely the only one with any of it left. Realistically, if you don’t think any revelers will remember you saying goodbye, you can go ahead and walk out the door.

When in doubt just get ready to chuckle about it later, it’s a party not a world peace summit.