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I had a game night last night and two of my sister's friends came and played, one is male and 20, call him B, and the other is a female ~18 years old, call her L.

When my husband was finishing his long game (magic the gathering card game), B and L still had yet to leave or text their parents and tell them to get them (they had no transportation of their own and bus is unreliable, only option is having a parent get them).

I was feeling annoyed that they had not realized that they were slightly overstaying their welcome at our place. I teasingly said "what are we gonna do with you?" once my husband's friends had left. That triggered L to text her parent and have the parent come get them. I wanted to tell them the next time we interact that I wanted to help them realize that when they overstay their welcome it annoys other people and makes them less welcome the next time some event is happening.

Note: I do not mind them both, they are both very sweet people and great friends to my sister. It is that my husband and myself need our space and we were already very tired from running the game night and his game had gone on for 3.5-4 hours already. When the game ended, there was at least 30-45 minutes of idle chatter while the guests were cleaning up, gathering cards, commenting on game events, talking about the next time they want to play, etc. L and B had time to realize that they could ask their parent to come get them.

How do I approach educating the two people about not overstaying their welcome WITHOUT alienating the friendship we have already?

  • What makes you feel that just saying: "It's getting late, maybe you should call your parents now" wouldn't work? – Ælis Aug 7 at 8:41
  • @Ælis because one is 18 and the other is 20. If they were minors I would lean towards saying something like that, but I feel like I expected a little more maturity out of them, if that makes any sense? I expected them as young adults to understand when to leave when it's late. – ElizB Aug 7 at 23:53
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+100

This is a case where feigned obliviousness can be your friend. As you head into the cleaning-up-the-game, planning-the-next-event portion of the evening, you can turn to these two and ask, in your best innocent voice,

"How are you guys getting home?"

Of course, you know the answer already, but this is an innocuous way to bring up the topic of transportation. The rest of the dialogue might go something like this,

Guests: Our parents will come get us.

You: Great! We're probably going to be wrapping up in the next half-hour or so. Do you need to use our phone to call them?

Again, obviously they have their own phones, but this is a polite way to indicate that now is a good time to make the call.

I have actually had this tactic used on me when I was car-less. I never took any offense and, in fact, felt that my host was looking out for me by making sure I had a way home lined up.

Added bonus: If this dialogue takes place in front of the group, one of your other players may even offer them a ride home. I don't know the dynamics of your group or where everyone lives, but if I were at a game night and heard the host ask this question of another guest, I would certainly ask where said guest lived and, if it wasn't too far out of my way, offer them a lift. Again, this depends a lot on how far-flung your group is, but it is possible that one of your guests will take this problem off your hands entirely.

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This can be often tricky to get the point across to people. On one hand, you don't want to be too curt or rude, but on the other hand you want the evening/event to end. As someone who enjoys company, but also enjoys having my space following a social interaction, I like to establish the time frame of a get-together prior to the event. If you know how long a game is going to roughly take, you could make an RSVP for the event with a specific time frame. Most of the time, people who overstay their welcome aren't trying to be rude, but just are unaware of your schedule for that day. This will give them a heads up of when to plan their rides.

If they are your husband's friends, I would even suggest just being a little more direct like, "Hey everyone, @ElizB and I need some time to get ready for bed following the game so we'll probably have to end the night when we are finished." Being polite yet direct isn't inherently rude, and if there's mutual respect, then they hopefully will understand.

If they truly don't get the point that you want them to leave, you could make subtle comments like:

"Wow I didn't realize how big of a mess we made, it's going to take some time to clean it up after you all head out!"

"We have to get an early start tomorrow morning, not looking forward to that!"

"So what are your plans after this?"

I hope this helps!

  • 11
    It's possible to be even more direct. For example, I used this recently with a friend I hadn't seen a while: just told him (after my wife went to bed) that I was pretty tired and going to head to bed. So I would emphasize being as direct as is necessary. – DaveG Jul 29 at 19:23
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Be honest, tell them you had already a long day and that you would like to spend more time with them but not tonight but next time. If they don't get in the first place explain friendly again, that since you have been up since early and that you need some rest after this funny but a bit exhausting evening. You'll find the right words i am sure.

But since you mentioned it was a game night, maybe this pattern from my old group helps you too: until everyone has arrived (people came from work, so some of them arrived earlier than others), people started setup the room (arranging tables and chairs, putting the games out) and played some small quick games until everyone was present. Than one or sometimes two rounds of "bigger" games on different tables and than it was "time to call our drivers". While waiting for the people to be picked up, we normally played a last round of games that we called the "Absacker" (kind of pun, in Germany the last drink on the evening to end the gattering or a tiny glas of alcoholic beverage before going to bed its called that way; the dictionary said its called nightcap in English or "one for the road", I am sure in your language something similar exists too).
It was a routine, so people knew that after the "Absacker" they had to leave. Make it clear when the evening starts, that after the big game ends its time to call the cabs.

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