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Situation: I hang out with A for a while. Having lunch together, shopping for a bit. I now feel tired and I want to go home. I don't dislike the person and I don't want to give them the impression I do, but I can't enjoy hanging out with them when I'm tired and I'm not enjoyable to hang out with when I'm tired, so there isn't any value for either of us to continue at that time.

Note that I mean tired in general, not just something that would require me to rest my legs for a bit, but rather the kind of thing where I lock myself in my apartment and don't come out for the rest of the day.

I'm having trouble telling A that I would like to disengage - stating it as a matter of fact "I'd like to go home now" doesn't work (they want to know why). Telling them I'm tired doesn't work (they don't understand that I don't just need a rest in a café or something along those lines). Making up an excuse doesn't work (I don't like to lie and I'm not good at it anyway).

What is a good way to go about this?


(Different situation, but the same thing happens when I have prior occupations like "I plan to do laundry later today", I can't communicate to people that doing these things takes time and I wasn't expecting our meeting to last all day when we met up).

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    What's wrong with telling them "that you're tired and wanting to go home"? Is there a reason that you think that telling someone this wouldn't be viewed as polite? Are you expecting someone to respond poorly when you tell them this? – sphennings Apr 16 '18 at 16:15
  • @sphennings I don't think there's anything "wrong" with that per se, but when I do that people tend to come up with reasons for why I can stay "OK that's cool, let's just grab a coffee at that shop over there", "You can do your laundry later, let's have fun now" - things along those lines. The problem is when I try to tell people I want to go home I can't seem to get the message across that I do, in fact, want to go home. – Cubic Apr 16 '18 at 16:18
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    How old are you/your friends? I have very rarely encountered a friend in my adult years who asks why I have to leave. "I have to head off soon" is enough. It is implied that I have other stuff to do. – user6818 Apr 16 '18 at 20:35
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    Are you simply trying to be polite here? Or are you dependent on the other person for transportation back home? – bta Apr 16 '18 at 22:59
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    Please don’t write answers in comments. It bypasses our quality measures by not having voting (both up and down) available on comments, as well as having other problems detailed on meta. Comments are for clarifying and improving the question; please don’t use them for other purposes. – Mithical Apr 17 '18 at 12:14
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One thing you can do to deal with this situation up front is to make it clear that you have a limited time line with which to do things when you meet up, or even before.

Hey A, it's great to see you! Just to let you know, I only have 2 hours to hang out today/tomorrow/next week because I have some chores I need to get done that day.

If you find that you are already out and are reaching the point where you need to get home to recharge, you can take a very similar approach.

A, I've had a lot of fun hanging out today but I think I need to head back home now. I have a few things I need to do, and I have a very busy day tomorrow. I might even try to get some extra beauty rest! Let's plan another activity soon.

Making a clear statement that you are ready to leave is important so that your statement of being tired is not misinterpreted. Additionally, making it clear that you have enjoyed your time by both stating it as well as expressing interest in doing it again should help A to understand that you are not attacking them in any way.

It sounds like you may be an introverted person, and if you want to have a more extended discussion with A in order to avoid tricky conversations in the future you could have a one time discussion with them about what that really means.

EDIT

For clarity, the intent is not to explain introversion at a time when you are actually leaving, but in casual conversation at some point while you are hanging out, so that in the future when you explain that you are tired your friend will understand the situation. Thanks to comments from Crettig and YCN- for bringing it to my attention that I was not clear.

Hey A, I was reading up about being introverted and it turns out that while extroverted people "recharge" by going out and interacting with people, introverted people "recharge" by getting some alone time at home. I think I might be introverted, because I definitely need to have some recharge time in the evenings, especially before a work/school day.

Once A understands that this is how you get your energy back, they will (hopefully) understand what you mean better when you tell them you are tired, or that you want to go home, without jumping to any unwanted conclusions.

good luck!

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Use something short and to the point, for either large gatherings or when hanging out with one or two friends:

Hey, it was great seeing you, I'm going to head out now. Let's meet again soon!

And then make your graceful exit.

This route doesn't require an excuse, but still lets the other person know that you valued the time you spent together. Some people may insist that you stay a little longer, but you must continue to politely affirm that you do want to head home.

It also allows you to socialize for as long as you want, since you don't have to set up an allotment of time beforehand (eg "I can only hang out for 2 hours").

As an introvert with many extroverted friends, I find myself in plenty of situations where everyone else is still partying away but I'd like to head home. On one occasion I left a football game during halftime because I just didn't feel up to socializing: I said my goodbyes, made a few last jokes, and headed home. Leaving when you want gets easier the more you do it.

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General tips

1) Put a time limit on your meetings. You don't have to say x hours, just say "can we hang out tomorrow morning?" Instead of just "hangout tomorrow".

2) Pick times when there is a definite known event that will be at the end. Hang out in the afternoon because then you need to head home for dinner. (This is also great for corporate meetings! Everyone wants to meet the hour before lunch/end of day because suddenly oops it's time to go!)

When you want to leave:

1) Give notice. Look at your watch/phone, say "I have to go soon" or "I have to head off soon" or "I have to leave at 11".

2) If they ask why, say you have other stuff to do. No more justification needed. No matter how hard they try, "but stay, it's fun!" Just say varying versions of "sorry, I have to go" and "I have other things/stuff to do".

If they ask "what stuff?" Just say "things I need to get done".

The trick is to give them nothing else to go on. Be boring, give no information and just shrug and say the same thing. Collect your things and head for the door.

This is setting a boundary. When you leave, you leave. That's it. And after a couple of times, your friends will learn that it's pointless convincing you otherwise and won't bother trying.

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If they won't take a polite social cue that you're tired of being in public, then you need to just let them know what the reason is. I frequently tell people "I am tired of socializing and am going to leave soon." or sometimes the shorter "I'm just about 'socialed' out." It lends me the opportunity to clearly express how I feel and why I'm leaving, keeps the blame on me, and makes it clear that I am quickly reaching the point of not enjoying myself anymore.

It also avoids being too abrupt, as 'Ok I am sick of being here, bye." does - it lets people think "Oh okay, lets get this one final thing I wanted to do done" before you leave. It also sets a deadline for them to do anything quick they wanted before you go. this prevents them from saying "Oh but we didn't get to X yet!" - they DO get to X, if that's the last thing they wanted to do.

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Suddenly lunge forward in your seat, huge smile, and put your hands together in an almost clap like fashion and say.. "Well I mustn't keep you and I must be getting on!". This I find even works with farmers!

But I'm serious --- and I do this all the time. The trick is meaning what you say.. making it an impulse, knowing that you "love" these guys, you do enjoy their company, accepting that you are making it as hard for them as they are for you, and simply glowing with appreciation for them whilst literally and simply saying "time to go!".

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    I have also witnessed several people doing this. When in a discussion group, the sudden movement or noise (clap) calls the attention of most for an instant, which when followed by a short well pronounced phrase serves the purpose the OP was looking for. – CPHPython Apr 19 '18 at 13:50
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I have this happen to me a lot and it's not just hanging out with people but shopping, too. I'll have a list of places I need to shop whether I'm alone or with someone and when I hit that point that I have to go home I just tell my friend or go get in my car. If you tell people that you have a point that you have to go and you don't know when it will happen that you will have to leave so please don't take it personally. works every time with no hard feelings.

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