Podcast 47: Control Your Exit, Keep Things Convenient–and Elizabeth Misses Out on a Romantic Moment.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: We’re thrilled! Our first live show has SOLD OUT. Yowza! If you’re coming to the Brava Theater on January 21, when we record an episode live, want a chance to be on the show? Send us an email with your New Year’s resolution, and maybe we’ll get to talk about it on stage. Send an email to podcast@gretchenrubincom, with the subject line “New Year’s resolution.”

A few episodes ago, I asked listeners to help: I’m looking for ideas for how to title the book I’m writing about the Four Tendencies. I want it to be “The Four ____ Tendencies” or “The Four Tendencies of ____.” I’m looking for a word that’s concrete, interesting, and describes what the Tendencies are about. Keep those suggestions coming!

Elizabeth got her car serviced, got her hair cut and colored, and started her new eating plan — using full Obliger accountability.

Try This at Home: Control your exit.

Side-note: We’ve heard that perhaps France doesn’t actually have this orange-juice ritual. Anyone know for sure?

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: The Strategy of Convenience. One of the most powerful and universally applicable strategies.

Elizabeth and I discuss our new hard-boiled-egg-makers. On the advice of a listener, I got the Krups egg cooker.  I love it, but will admit that in true satisficer mode, I didn’t do any research — I just bought the one recommended to me.

Special Guest: Mary Harris, host of the terrific health podcast Only Human, came by to tell us about an interesting project they’re doing, about making good fitness habits. To join the project, go to onlyhuman.org/sticktoit.

If you want to read my interview with Daniel Ariely, it’s here.

Elizabeth’s Demerit : Over the holidays in Kansas City, Adam proposed getting a quick drink to wait out the rain, but Elizabeth thought they should hurry home.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I copied a listener’s gold star for museum memberships. Thanks, Jennifer!

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out The Great Courses Plus for a wide variety of fascinating courses taught by top professors and experts in their fields. Special offer for our listeners: free access to one of their most popular courses! To get The Everyday Gourmet for free, go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/happier Limited time.

Also check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid post-office pain, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a no-risk trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin #47 - Listen at GretchenRubin.com


We love hearing from listeners


To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)


How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HAPPIER listening!

  • Shizuka

    I laughed when I heard about Jamie and boats. I never go on boat parties because I can’t leave. And I almost always have an exit strategy. Since my husband and I speak Japanese, one of us turns to the other and aks, “Should we head out?” The answer is always yes.

    And I’ve learned not to go to events that are in the middle of nowhere (anywhere without easy public transportation). I’m so antsy about how and when I’m getting home that I can’t enjoy myself.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great to hear that this struck a chord with you.

  • mom2luke

    The only wedding I ever regret going to was on a boat! I’d just broken up with my boyfriend who’d left the country…but we were good friends with the couple so I bought an airline ticket and went solo. But I knew no one except the bride and groom. There were no single guys and the single women only seemed interested in talking to each other. I didn’t realize my horrible mistake til about 7 oclock pm when the boat pulled away and I was stuck at the reception for 6 more hours! Pure torture. Ever since then if I hear “boat” and “party” in same sentence my brain screams “OMG NO!” It was seriously one of the longest nights of my life and the first time I realized you don’t HAVE to go to a wedding just because you’re invited and can afford to and like the couple! I never thought before that a boat gave me no “exit strategy” but this podcast reminded me of that nightmare. Maybe Jamie had a similar experience.

  • mom2luke

    Oh. And Miss Manners says slipping out from large parties without saying goodbye is actually more polite than drawing attention to your departure to the busy hostess and risk giving other guests the idea the party is over. (She said it more wittily than that!) But I never heard it called “ghosting” til today’s podcast

  • Mimi Gregor

    Like Jamie, I am a Questioner, and I also must have an “exit strategy”, because I feel trapped when I cannot leave when I want to. (I also do not like taking buses, getting snowed in, or driving at rush hour because of this “trapped” feeling.) When I was single and went to parties with friends, I always volunteered to be the designated driver because then I had control over when we leave. Now that I am married, neither of us are big on parties, so we’re generally on the same page about when it’s time to leave. I like Elizabeth’s idea of “ghosting” out of a party, but my husband thinks it’s rude not to say goodbye and thank you to the host. On one memorable occasion, the hostess actually pleaded with us to stay longer, which I thought was very rude. It was a big New Years party, and we had already been there a couple hours, and I am NOT a night person. As a consequence, we don’t go to her parties anymore, because Paul refuses to “ghost”, and I don’t want to deal with the drama of the overly-tenacious hostess.

  • I took your advice this Gretchen, and this morning I controlled my exit :). I was having ‘tea’ with someone who I knew was a network marketer so last night I sent her an email to let her know that I could only stay for one hour. After the hour was up I was able to make my exit….She did give me heck though – she said “if you have tea with someone you should plan for two hours”….not really sure where that ‘rule’ came from (and being an Upholder it only made me feel bad) but I have to say I am glad that I had planned my exit in advance. Thank you, your tip was timely! 🙂

    • gretchenrubin


  • Sara S

    I remember reading a book (Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher) when I was young and the characters were having a party. One of the older guests bowed out early saying it was always best to leave a party when you were having the most fun. I remember thinking that was ridiculous – why would you leave a party if you are having fun?? But I now realize that this advice is truly wise. If you leave while you are having fun, you remember an event much more fondly than if you drag it out far too long to a point where you are tired and have stopped having fun. It is all I could think about while listening to your advice to control your exit – because then you can leave when you are having the most fun and make it a great occasion to remember.

  • Cathryn

    I find I don’t access Gretchen’s pearls of wisdom so often now. I used to get an email nearly every day and spend a few minutes reading it and the comments. Now there is a podcast, although I enjoy it if I listen, I don’t usually want to commit the time to listening to it. This is a case of reversal of the strategy of convenience.
    I notice Penelope Schmitt does not comment so often now. I hope she is enjoying her new freedom!

    • gretchenrubin

      Did something happen to your email subscription? Some people’s dropped, for some reason.
      Because I’m still posting just about every day – on top of the podcast!

      • Cathryn

        Maybe it did just drop off for some reason! I didn’t unsubscribe. I have had an email today so maybe you have put me back on the list. If so, thanks. I’d rather have a small dose of Gretchen each day!

  • Kate Jensen

    As for naming the Four Tendencies–What about the Rubin Reaction Tendencies (RRT)?

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Chaïmat

    Hello ! I’m french and I can tell you for sure that in France we do not have that orange-juice ritual…as far as I know. And if we do have it then, it is not a well known and well used one. Most of the people are not aware of the existence of such a thing.

  • Posey

    “The Four BEST Tendencies” 😉

    • gretchenrubin


  • Georgy

    I used the strategy of convenience and my obliger tendancy – I signed up to membership with my sister for the Art Gallery and now I’ll go more often 🙂

    • gretchenrubin


  • Merenda

    Hi Gretchen and Elizabeth, I just love listening to your podcast!
    I’ve lived in Paris for 16 years and have never heard of the orange juice story. If ever there was a need for an exit strategy it is at a French dinner party (almost as difficult as being on a boat!) The French eat late so you normally wouldn’t arrive at the hosts until 8.30pm or later, you are then served aperitif, entree, main meal, a cheese platter, dessert and then finally coffee (with the accompanying alcohol throughout). You are not likely to leave before 2 or 3am and not before cheek-kissing each person (between 2 and 4 times depending on where they are from in France). Never any orange juice! Merren PS have been following your work since I first bought the Happiness Project in 2011 when visiting New York. Come to Paris!

    • gretchenrubin

      Ok, so that’s a myth! But we must START the tradition!

      But let’s pick something other than orange juice.

      Sparkling water with an orange slice?

  • Judie

    I completely agree with your gold star for museum memberships. Usually the membership pays for itself in 2 or 3 visits and you can just pop in rather than have to stay all day. Also, some places have reciprocal membership with other museums in different ciites so you get discounts to places you might never have thought of going. I think that museum memberships are a great family present for birthdays or holidays. It’s a gift the whole family can enjoy for the whole year.

  • Astrid Rodriguez

    The four tendencies of MOTIVE.
    The four INDIVIDUAL tendencies.
    The four INTRINSIC tendencies.
    The four tendencies of WILLINGNESS.
    The four tendencies of TAKING STEPS.

  • Julez

    Perhaps the word you are looking for is “scaffold(s)”? In the sense of a scaffold as a specific structure which determines how your goal will be built.

  • Elsie

    This is an outdated comment because I’m just catching up on previous episodes, but I couldn’t help myself. On your Kansas City episode during the Eliza update, one of you mentioned a reader’s advice that “I’ve never regretted being polite.” I have to disagree – as a young woman in my early 30s, I have certainly regretted being polite, especially when it means avoiding an uncomfortable conflict at work or in my personal life. I think young women are often taught to be polite and kind, with the best of intentions; in reality, this can lead to us believing we need to smooth over social situations even when it would better serve us to engage in conflict. This recent article sums it up pretty well: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/a-daughter-too-kind-for-her-own-good/?_r=0

    I still value being polite and being kind in many situations, as long as that doesn’t mean not being assertive and compromising my own goals and beliefs. I would love to go back 15 years and give myself that advice when I was Eliza’s age!

  • Marie

    I listened to this podcast at the gym this morning and had to jump on the computer to comment. I NEVER knew other people had exit strategies! I just thought I was a weirdo. I was literally smiling on the treadmill as you discussed meeting in a public place, having a commitment to attend to, having a predetermined (and agreed upon with spouse) time to leave an event, etc. I do these things all.the.time. I don’t think it’s a negative thing but rather a way to protect my time. I love getting together with friends, but I also look forward to moving on to the next thing in my day.

    I also love love love the strategy of convenience. I’m an underbuyer but I have duplicates of some toiletries so that my gym bag can remain stocked which makes it convenient for me to go to the gym and shower there. I’ve been a long time reader of your books, but just started listening to the podcasts and love them! Thanks ladies!

  • Sarah Corbett Morgan

    Loved your book, Better than Before, Gretchen. Thank you. You nailed my tendency and helped me find a way to deal with it (HabitBull app).
    So here are my suggestions for the title:
    1. The Four Motive Tendencies
    2. The Four Intention Tendencies
    3. The Four tendencies of Intention
    4. The Four Tendencies of Purpose
    5. The four Purpose Tendencies

    • gretchenrubin

      Thank you!

    • Piggy-backing off this: The Four Motivational Tendencies. The Four Resolution Tendencies.

  • Karen McChesney

    I always try take my own car to events and parties, I hate being at the whim of whomever I drove with. Ah, ghosting out, aka the Irish Exit 🙂 I found this interesting: My friend who just got married said she felt as though it interrupted her & her husband’s time that every guest came up to them to said goodbye. I’d have felt so rude if I didn’t say goodbye though! I think where some may like the ghosting concept, it could actually hurt those who are more sensitive.

    Elizabeth, I use the Dexcom CGM (love it) and just got the new G5 sensor – on my phone. I don’t have an apple watch, but yikes! I think knowing your BG level *every second* could actually do more harm than good.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for the recommendation for the egg cooker. Ordered one last night! I hate boiling them! Elizabeth – I share your demerit. That is something I would have done (and have done more times than I would care to count). Ugh – why is it so hard to let go and live in the moment?? Its an endless challenge for me. I respond to almost any type of spontaneity with a negative reaction. I find comfort in your sharing and honesty – thanks, Jessica Locke

    • gretchenrubin

      I hope you enjoy the egg cooker!

  • Delphine

    Hello. Being from France this is the first I’ve heard of the orange juice exit strategy. Love your podcast, have been recommending it to my friends. You both make me smile and I love all your great advices. (Outdated since I just discovered your podcast, I’m catching up)

  • Abi Franklin

    Orange juice raises my blood sugar too much. I’m just hanging this.