Any casual observer will notice some curious behaviors when Jewish Young Adults meet as groups. First, upon arrival, there is a tendency to arrive late, and there is a high probably of extended hang gestures and greetings. Closer inspection would also reveal a third peculiarity: the inability to depart gracefully and efficiently when the event is over.
When Non-Jews gather in social situations, like a dinner party, the denouement of the evening will be indicated by one guest saying something like “Well, I have to get up early tomorrow…” or “Man, I’m so tired from all that food…”. Immediately the other Non-Jewish guests will pick up on the hint and begin their hasty departures with lines “I guess I should be heading out as well…” Within ten minutes the host can be sure that all of the guests have departed.
The same indication leads to completely different results in a group of JYAs. It can better be interpreted as a signal that it is time to shift conversations away from small talk and into high gear and focus on more pressing matters like gossip, dating exploits, or sales at Nordstroms. It is also a signal for the host of the party to expect at least another thirty minutes to an hour of revelry before anybody actually makes a move to leave.
Once any JYA guest has finally come to the conclusion that he/she is ready to leave, the logistical aspects of departure become even more convoluted involving many rushed sentences and last minute updates, usually performed while standing either in the kitchen or by the door. There will sometimes be last minute devouring of leftover dessert or wine. Frequently the actual words of “Goodbye” or “See You Later” will not even be uttered, as guests will simply disappear on their own. The entire process can take up to fifteen minutes, in addition to the one hour of extra allotted overtime.
Therefore, to any Non-Jew who is invited to a gathering of JYAs, it is customary to arrive at least fifteen minutes past the posted start time, and to stay at least an hour past what would be deemed appropriate for other Non-Jews. Leaving any earlier would be deemed as unfriendly or elitist, and might receive derisive commentary like “Guess someone has something better to do”.