On My Radar | Knowing when to leave a party – a life and business lesson

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Cristiano Ronaldo threw a whole lot of shade at Manchester United. Photo: File
Cristiano Ronaldo threw a whole lot of shade at Manchester United. Photo: File

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Party season is upon us and after (another) tumultuous year, we all need to let off some steam.

But after two years of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions – plus a year of tentative normality – the first party-like-it’s-2019 season might need to come with a health warning, as well as a refresher course in social etiquette.

It’s been so long since we’ve been able to have a really good time, unfettered by masks, sanitisers and social distancing, that it’s all too tempting to throw caution and decorum to the wind.

But it’s a slippery slope from having a good time to being THAT guest all hosts remind themselves never to invite again. Whether it’s a dinner or house party, there’s inevitably one guest who can’t take a hint and overstays their welcome.

Don’t be that guest.

Knowing when to leave a party requires reading the room and picking up on subtle nuances – a bit tricky after a drink or three.

But finding the sweet spot between leaving at a high point and staying until you become part of the detritus that needs to be cleaned up is a crucial social skill.

It’s also a valuable life lesson, and invaluable business lesson.

I’ve picked three very public, very high profile recent contractual terminations and compared them to leaving a party. Choose your preferred ending and take that to your next social gathering.

THE MESSY EXIT– CRISTIANO RONALDO

In his now pivotal interview with Piers Morgan, Cristiano Ronaldo threw a whole lot of shade at Manchester United – from the owners to the senior executives, the manager and even his team-mates.

He felt that he was being forced out of the club, that the manager disrespected him, that the executives lacked empathy and that the owners, the Glazer family, simply don’t care about the club.

Unsurprisingly, after the club threatened to sue him for breach of contract, both parties agreed to go their separate ways, tearing up a contract involving eyewatering sums of money. Ronaldo’s return to United last year involved a £12.9 million (R275 million) deal with Juventus, and ensured that he would earn close to £500 000 per week.

The separation saves United about £60 million and allows Ronaldo to leave immediately, albeit with a tarnished reputation and bruised ego.

The party analogy: This would be like dishing the dirt on your hosts and bad-mouthing fellow guests to a gossip columnist, then criticising the food but asking for champagne.

THE WELL-TIMED EXIT– TOM FORD

Tom Ford rose to fame in the 1990s by resuscitating the Gucci brand. He founded his eponymous clothing brand in 2005 and then launched a beauty empire in 2006.

Last month, Ford sold that empire to Estée Lauder for $2.8 billion (R47.7 billion), catapulting him into the global billionaires’ club. The deal, however, is not an aggressive takeover.

The two companies have been partners since Tom Ford Beauty was launched.

As a gesture of goodwill, Ford has agreed to stay on as the brand’s “creative visionary” until the end of next year.

Ford has been signalling his exit from the fashion industry for some years now, shifting his focus to directing movies – A Single Man in 2009 and Nocturnal Animals in 2016.

The party analogy: Reading the room, as well as your host’s mood, perfectly. Parting amicably before things get messy, and even promising to swing by the next day to help clean up.

THE UNANNOUNCED, BUT GRACIOUS, EXIT– TREVOR NOAH

When Trevor Noah announced he was leaving The Daily Show, it wasn’t just the studio audience that was shocked; none of the crew nor the show’s producers had any forewarning.

He later explained why he had broken the news that way: “Part of the reason I did it that way is because I didn’t want anybody to be the person who then tells somebody else, who then tells somebody else, who then tells somebody else.

“Maybe this comes with not being raised in America, but I believe that everything should end. A lot of American business and media ... [the attitude] is just like: ‘Keep it going as long as possible.’ But I think it’s healthy for things to end when they’re still in a good place. I want to leave before I’m burnt out.”

The party analogy: Leaving when the party has reached its peak and without telling anyone.

The opposite of being a “Brexit leaver” – still hovering around an hour after you’ve said your goodbyes.

As Noah said: “If you could choose a perfect emotion, obviously no one would be sad, but I’d rather people be sad than people be happy, like: ‘Good riddance, that d*ck is out of the building.’”

Chang is the founder of Flux Trends.For more trends, visit fluxtrends.com

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