‘On the couch’ with Jasminda


DEAR Jasminda,

How do you leave a party in a socially acceptable way without insulting everyone?

If you do the rounds and say goodbye, it can add another hour to your expected time of departure.

Mrs Kate W.

Dear Kate,

I rarely have this problem because I avoid large social gatherings like the plague (now there’s a slightly outdated simile/cliche for you).

And maybe that is why I avoid them, because I can’t help but overthink everything. I’d much prefer to dine out with a small group of friends.

I do, however, understand your dilemma, because I have been in this situation myself, quite recently in fact, for a 50th.

It seems strange to me that it is socially acceptable to drink so many strawberry daiquiri slushies that you have to hold onto a post, or to flirt outrageously with the man slicing bits of pig off a spit (dexterous, strong forearms, good in a vegetable shortage), and yet it is not okay to just slink out of a party without having the same dreary conversations you’ve had an hour earlier (yes, you did tell me that Luke got into a medical degree at Sydney Uni, but thanks for reminding me that our children were commando crawling at the same age, but now my kid is backpacking with a sound bowl, a book of inspirational quotes and a smudging device — none of which he knows how to use).

Or you have to endure yet another round of definitely-not-bloody-Covid-safe social gaffes where people you have met only hours earlier feel perfectly entitled to hug you so tightly that there is danger of breaking a rib or else kiss you on the lips with their beer-froth hipster moustaches (never trust a man with too much facial hair).

I think if you simply say goodbye to the hosts and also that guy who said he’d fix your faulty wiring for free (assuming this wasn’t a euphemism), then you’ve done your duty as a guest, and it is time to get the hell out of there before things get really messy.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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