It's that age-old issue, you don't want to be there, you had to be there, you've done you're duty, now how to escape? Here are our five favourite ways to duck out with looking rude, or boring.
1 Arrive late, making it abundantly clear just how much of your very heavy schedule you've had to clear to get there at all. Then go.
2 Fake an allergy with the hors d'oeuvres. They can hide a multitude of sins.
3 Babysitter crisis - no need to be any more specific. If (known to be) childless, will work with pets, but must involve near-death or greater.
4 Wait till your host is on other side of the room, then back out of door waving frantically and making the "I'll call" gesture. (You won't need to.)
5 Talk to host on arrival and then again an hour (half at a push) later, then slip away. Tricky if seated.
Words by James Medd