I have invited people to my house for dinner and they don't seem to know when to leave. How do I get them to go home at the end of the evening without causing offense?
It's a difficult situation to have a guest over for dinner and they won't go home. How do you dismiss them? Let's suppose that the dinner is at 7:30 p.m. A good time to leave would be around 9:30 p.m., or at the latest 10:00 p.m. The guest of honor should actually be the first to leave, giving a signal for the other guests to follow at that time.
If you have no guest of honor or your guest does not know the protocol, at the end of the evening, you, as the host, can rise from your chair and with a jolly attitude express your appreciation for all of the guests coming, then say, "It is late. I'm sure everyone has a busy day tomorrow, let's call it an evening."
If you know ahead of time that you have to dismiss them at an early hour, or at a specific hour, it is helpful to let them know in advance that you have to do so because of other obligations. They won't mind if you let them know early.
If you are at a restaurant, you can call for the check, express how much you enjoyed the evening and make a statement like, "Well, it's time to let these fine people clear these tables."
If someone is in your office, you can rise, and usually they will rise at the same time. Your conversation and body language will tell them that it is time to leave. As you rise in a warm manner move toward them and then toward the door. End with a statement like, "I appreciate you coming by to see me."
All of this will vary depending on the individual, but it will at least give you a rule of thumb.