You’re a grown-ass woman and you are fucking tired. It’s time to go home, and nothing is going to stop you. Nothing, that is, except a line at the coat area, ten well-meaning but ultimately hella-annoying friends saying “nooo stayyyyyy,” an inability to get a taxi at this time of night, or a lost cell phone that you’re sure you had somewhere near the kitchen. Leaving a party or event can be tricky business, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to get it done so you can get home to your boyfriend*.

*chips in bed

I am not a killjoy, okay? I love a party. (“I’m not a killjoy, I love a party” — the words of someone who, at best, is fine about the idea of a party but is not breaking any records.) But there is a lot of shame around the idea of leaving, whether it’s early or with a crowd, or to go somewhere else, or because your shoes broke and you’re just not feeling it right now. This is bunk and you should be able to leave even the most rockin’ gala whenever you choose. It is a party, not a prison. Let’s do this:

Know Your Limit, Play Within It
It’s not fun for you or anyone else if you’re at the party past your Personal Partying Expiry Date (PPED). If you don’t like late nights, you don’t have to stay out late. If you’re loving this group of pals but promised to make it to an old friend’s birthday party, your current companions should understand. If you’ve had more to drink than you realized and are feeling like it’s time to head out, it probably is. There’s nothing wrong with bowing out gracefully, and no medals to be awarded to those who stick out the party til the very end. Whenever you’re feeling like you want to peace is a good time to peace. FEEL NO SHAME, EXIT-HUNGRY AMIGOS. THIS IS YOUR MOMENT.

Don’t Let Anyone Make You Feel Bad About Leaving
“Come onnnn stayyy!” “Don’t be a loser, stay out!” “You’re not fun if you leave, drink twelve more drinks with ussssssss-uhhhhhhhh.” People who say these things are garbage people. Leave them to their enforced fun and drift away.

Get Business Cards
Met someone you want to give your number to or find on facebook later? Don’t spend the party doing a tour of everyone you made smalltalk with. Carry business/calling cards like a boss/cool Victorian lord, and give them out immediately when you meet someone you want to get to know better. Is it an aggressive move? Sure. But so is lightly hovering around the edges of conversation pods hoping that guy who works at that place you’d like to work will catch your eye so you can say bye and tell him to follow you on Twitter. Cut your losses and get something cool and simple. And remember: there is nothing sadder than a “fun” business card. Don’t try to make it fun.

Remember: FOMO Is A Lie Someone Invented To Sell Beer and Taxi Chits
The old adage is true: almost nothing good happens after 2am. To it, I would add: unless you count drunk food but you can get drunk and eat food at literally any time of the day, why wait? You’re not missing out on anything except a hangover if you go home when you first feel that I wonder where I put my jacket, I might head out soon impulse.

Blame It On Your Innocent Loved Ones
Got a boyfriend, wife, baby, dog or cat? Sell them right out. “Oh, Adam is such a drag, he really wants me to come home early so we can go to a market tomorrow,” you can say, while texting Adam “ready the pizza. i love you.” “My babysitter says Emily’s really acting up right now, I think I have to head,” you can say, readying a tip for the sitter and a smooch for your babygirl. “You know… cats,” you can say, putting on your coat and not really explaining any more than that because it is time to GO HOME.

Whip The Party Into A Chaotic Frenzy So No One Notices When You Ghost
This is the everyday woman’s equivalent of when witches disappear in an explosion/puff of smoke. When everyone’s dancing with their shirts off, no one will see you slipping out the back, fully dressed. Moreover, they won’t care. Get the conversation flowing like the drinks, the flirting flying like the glitter, and ideally get one or two people out of their clothes. Lather, rinse, repeat, escape.

A Word On Leaving Without Saying Goodbye
This is, in my humble yet objectively perfect opinion, the ultimate way to leave a gathering of 10 or more people. If you’re at a crowded, dark bar, so much the better, but truly, and I hope you won’t take this the wrong way, no one cares that much if you’re leaving. People making a big hoo-ha about leaving just makes the party seem like it’s winding down, when really it is only you who is winding down, you ageing quitter. Leave the younger people and the older ones you’re kind of worried about to their late night fun and head out without a fuss. Send the host a thank you message the next day and don’t even worry about it. You did great!

Follow Monica on twitter: @monicaheisey