Secret SO Signals

Do you and your spouse/partner/SO/best friend have a secret signal to communicate that you need to be rescued? Or that you’re ready to go? Or that if something isn’t done immediately, you’re going to go insane and take the other along? If you’re going to be in a potentially unpleasant social situation, do you work something out ahead of time, or do you have a standing plan?

Or are you really mature and honest and stuff like that?

I don’t know if we so much have a signal as I know when he wants OUT! NOW!! While my husband isn’t antisocial, he doesn’t much like big groups, especially when he doesn’t have a lot in common with the majority - for example, DopeFests. When we’re out with another couple or two, he’s great. Of if we’re with folks he knows or in a venue where he’s comfortable (like around other sailors) there’s usually no problem. (Me, I can usually find someone to talk with about something.)

Anyway, I can tell when he’s had enough. And I usually take the initiative to seek out the hosts or just let everyone in general know that we’re leaving. Since we live in the boonies, I can honestly plead the long ride home and an early morning. Of course, just to keep everyone off balance, it’s not always that he’s ready to leave - I’ve often gone to him and said “I’m ready to go.” Then I’ll make our apologies if it’s a group of my friends.

Sometimes we decide ahead of time what our limit will be - either in terms of a specific time or when a certain individual makes the occasion less social (for example, a BIL who’s had that one-beer-too-many.) It was easier years ago: “'Night, all - we promised the babysitter we’d be home by 10!”

Do you have a clever system to extricate yourselves from situations without seeming all boorish or antisocial? Do tell…

I would like to post a reply to this interesting thread

but I have to nip off - I’m expecting an important phone call. :slight_smile:

CubHubby and I have a secret code phrase for I-want-to-leave-right-NOW. The signal is “Rocky Top”: we talk about, mention, hum or sing the song. It’s interesting to find new ways to work it into the conversation. I remember getting into a family feud one time and CubHubby grabbed my purse, flung it at me and shouted “Rocky Top!” as he headed for the door. :smiley: so, it’s not really secret from my family but it is still quite useful.

We picked “Rocky Top” from the observation that leaving when the band starts playing “Rocky Top” pretty much ensures that you’ll avoid the bar fights.

Yes…I whisper into my girlfriends ear “these people suck and I want to get the fuck out of here.”

I am probably very much like the OP’s husband, smaller groups and with people I know or share some sort of interest is ok, but big groups of people I do not know (or like) are not my thing. Problem is my wife and I haven’t got a signal worked out or perhaps that she notices that I desperately want to leave but she ignores it, because she enjoys the party. :slight_smile:

We could be married to the same guy. I’m very social and outgoing and he’s a homebody who makes little effort to cultivate a comfort level. He’s stopped going to my family reunions. That’s basically how we handle the situation. No signal…he simply doesn’t go. I put up with it but I don’t like it even a little bit.

For situations like going to a friend’s cookout or whatever, we decide on a length of time we’ll spend and then offer up a pre-planned excuse. Someone’s coming over at 5:00, I’ll get a headache, whatever. We know who we care to spend extended periods of time with and who we can only tolerate a pop-in with. It works out.

You people posting in this thread realize that things are going to be very awkward at the next DopeFest you go to, right?

I also employ the, “Go ahead, honey…I’ll bum a ride home with so-and-so.” I get very resentful if he harshes my oh-so-mellow mellow.

I thought about this very thing before starting this thread. But what the heck - we’re all friends here, right??

A couple with whom I’ve been good friends for some time have a ‘signal’ of sorts. GTFO. It’s generally reserved for when things are flagging at their place after a social event. They just say, “It’s GTFO time.” Which, we’ve all learned, stands for ‘Get The F*ck Out’. In fact, if one of them isn’t feeling social, but it’s -not- GTFO, they’ll even mention, “I’m gonna go lie down, but we’re not kicking you guys out.”

Okay, I guess that’s a little less than a subtle signal. :slight_smile:

Yea - we’re REAL mature and honest.

Anyway, to answer the question, we employ a method not unlike msmith537’s - one of us says to the other “let’s get the hell outta here.” If one of us is not into going in the first place, we pre-set a time to leave like Kalhoun mentioned - or something like a headache will “come up”.

But neither of us are really social animals - so it doesn’t come up all that often anyway.

Not quite applicable, but I thought it was kind of neat when I heard about it.

A parent commented that she had a rule with her children, so that the child had a way of making it the parent’s fault that the child couldn’t come play(or whatever) when the truth was that the child wasn’t interested.

If the child said “Billy wants me to come play at his house” the answer was always “no”.

If the child said “I want to go play at Billy’s house” the answer was usually “yes”.

My family has one. I believe it begun between my mom and dad, but it soon spread to all my aunts and uncles as well, which, I suppose, limits its usefulness. I assume they mostly use it when they all want to leave a larger party, they rarely want to avoid each other. They subtly (or not, if it’s a room full of everyone who knows about it) put pressure on their lower eyelid, pulling it down a bit.

Nothing really complicated, usually I or she would send me a text message, other than that , just the expression on her face would speak volumes.


My wife and I have a signal to leave. During a conversation, the person who wants to leave will start responding to everything in the conversation with, “That’s crazy.”

THEM: Then we did this…

ME: That’s crazy.

THEM: And then this happened…

ME: Wow, that’s crazy.

After two or three “that’s crazies” the signal is picked up, and we leave.

My best friend and I have a version of this. We’re both rather introverted, so a signal meaning “time to get out of here” during social situations was bound to come about naturally…and so it did.

Ours, however, is more of an inquiry than a statement; we’ve reached an (unspoken) agreement that if one of us is truly enjoying the event or has other reasons to continue to stay, the other one can grin and bear it, especially considering how infrequently this happens.

What we do is look at the other, eyebrows raised in the two-eyed equivalent of :dubious:, and utter a noncommital “Well.” This will be met with either a firm “Indeed,” meaning “let’s roll”, or else an equally noncommital shrug of the shoulders, meaning “eh, we can deal”.

Whenever my wife is on the phone with her family, I always wave greetings to them. So, does she say “AG says Hi”? No. Never. Everytime, she waves back. At me. :dubious:

Given this, I don’t think there’s any hope in trying to create a “signal”. I’m just resolved to read body language and work more extemporaneously as the situation demands.

JERRY: Now, what if she somehow gets away from you, and is coming in? You have to signal me that she’s coming.
GEORGE: A signal? Okay, okay. The signal is… I’ll call out… “tippy toe”.
JERRY: “Tippy toe”? …I don’t think so.

GEORGE: Alright. Okay, I got it… I’ll sing.
JERRY: What song?
GEORGE: Umm… (Not singing) “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
JERRY: What is that?
GEORGE: Oh, it’s a lovely song. (Singing) “How do you solve a problem like Maria?..”
JERRY: (Unimpressed) You got anything else?
GEORGE: You pick it.
JERRY: “Lemon Tree.”
GEORGE: Peter, Paul and Mary?
JERRY: No, Trini Lopez.
JERRY AND GEORGE: (Singing) “Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet…”

Tippy toe! Lemon tree!

I’ve had one of these. It was incredibly useful, actually.

I wasn’t using it with my husband but with another young woman when we were travelling together in distant foreign lands.

I always recommend it highly to anyone traveling with a companion but especially for women.

We would cock our head from side to side, like you’re working out a kink or like an Indian man speaking rapidly does, sort of a side to side bobble head thing.

It can mean;

Do you want to go?, as in, do you want to accept this invitation we’ve just been offered, or shall I make up a likely excuse and count on your support?


Wanna go?, as in, are you growing uncomfortable?


I’m spooked, let’s move, now.

We used it often, two young girls traveling together get invited to a lot of different sorts of things, and an answer is expected directly, leaving little leaway to consult and feel out the other person. It allowed us to effectively have a discussion in front of other people without them ever being aware. If your companions ‘spidey sense’ is tweaking don’t you want to know, before you say, ‘Hey, we’d love to spend an afternoon on your boat!’, or whatever?

Security measures are everything for young women travelers, as in, be smart, be safe!

My boyfriend and I for some reason can just tell, generally, from body language. We’re pretty good about it; one can spot if the other is bored, tired or annoyed just by looking at them (although it’s pretty subtle and probably comes from having been around each other for a long time). Then the one who picked up on it will cock their head, and the person who’s bored/tired/annoyed will either shrug if they’re wanting to go, or cock their eyebrow if the message was misinterpreted.

This all just kinda developed, mind you - we didn’t plan it our or discuss it.