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A certain couple we occasionally invite for dinner won't leave at a normal time, like normal folks do. They sit there and talk and drink more wine after other guests have left. They even stay after I've gone to bed, leaving my poor husband to entertain them. We don't mind having these folks over and would prefer to keep them as friends. But is there a tactful way to plant the idea in guests' heads that it's time to leave?

You've got a bad case of Friends Who Can't Read Social Cues. It's a serious condition, but social psychologists who study the field say sufferers should take comfort in the knowledge that it's nowhere near as bad as Hosts Who Don't Have The Wontons to Be Honest With Their Boorish Guests. Here's a suggestion: How about saying, "Hey, guys, it's been a lot of fun, but I'm zonked and I've got to go to bed." If that doesn't work, maybe try turning out the lights and mopping around their feet.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist.

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