11 April, 2012

How To Say Good-bye

(...in which Red shares her deep knowledge of the subject.)

Take it from a pro, there are ways to say good-bye. (If you're skipping town because you hate your life and everyone in it, and want to start fresh, there's no need for “Good-bye”. Just leave. For all the rest...)

If you know you'll only be in a place for a short while ...boarding school for instance, or a military base,
(You know there's a goodbye
tied in to a dorm like this.)
good-bye starts when you arrive. You'll do well to make friends quickly, but not deeply. Believe me, your experiences will be enough to bond you for life! Also, in transient settings most people expect good-bye, so there's no difficulty with it.

If your departure is from a place you have spent a good deal of time in, there are certain things you can do to make it an easier transition.

Learn to say it, even if you don't mean it.

  1.  Obviously, tell your employer(s) first. It's only professional.
  2. Tell close friends personally. This can be tricky because you have to determine who requires a personal conversation and who can learn your news through the grapevine. Try to delay the gossip until after those close friends have heard your news from your own mouth.
  3. Pick a date for a going away party. Tell everyone. It can be as casual as you like. Do not trust others to set this up (...if they want a big shindig, they can set that one up and invite who they want!) You want to be sure that those who don't have an opportunity to say good-bye personally get a chance to see you before you go. Remember that you have all of your future changes to look forward to, whereas they are simply losing a person who has been a part of their life ...whatever part you played.
  4. Visit places you will miss after you're gone. There's no way to go back and get closure if you don't get it now. (Again, take it from a pro.) Don't assume you'll be back. Life changes. Plans change.
  5. You are going through a loss, no matter what fantastic new adventures the future may hold. Expect to grieve that loss. Also, expect that you cannot predict when the grief will hit. Welcome it, and move through it.
  6.  Allow those you are leaving to grieve their loss. You will hear the same things from many different people from the different parts of your life. It may seem tiresome to you, but remember that they are only saying good-bye to one person, and you are hearing it from EVERYONE. Be patient and accept their well wishes with grace. These are your friends.

I learned about good-byes early on but mainly, I have to say, as a flip-side to the whole “new kid in town” phenomenon. Most of my earlier good-byes were more a part of the transient world where good-byes are expected and nothing to work at.

The flip-side of goodbye is that when you are new to a town/job/school/community, it is up to you, the newcomer, to go out of your way to meet people and make friends.

This does NOT count!

The people in your new community don't know there's a new person there. Their lives have not changed. You are the one with the upheaval. There are a few people in this world who make a point of welcoming new people and including them, but these people are rare. A smart person will not expect them to exist in their new world. Find your niche. Get involved in a church or community organization. Volunteer. Be seen out in public, walking, shopping, at the gym, and introduce yourself.

Like I said, I learned first how to move into a new place, but it stands to reason that the opposite is true when leaving the old place. For the leave-er, everything is new and different. The leaver won't as quickly notice the absence of old friends, because the old friends are not supposed to be in the new place, so they aren't absent! The leave-ee will immediately notice the absence of the leaver.

...Suddenly your car isn't parked where it usually is;
your desk at work is empty;
your pew at church is empty;
your laugh is absent from the audience or your voice from the chorus.

When I realized this, I realized the importance to others of good-bye.

At this point in time, I am “over” good-bye. In my personal timeline I am focused on packing.

...except mine aren't this organized...

I have 2 weeks to finish my packing. At church on Sunday a friend, who has always talked about the two of us going out for a girls' night, but we never have, finally set a time to go out. Because I'm leaving. Suddenly this thing we've discussed but never done in all my time here has a sense of urgency. She's sweet, and a friend, and I'm glad to go, but kind of frustrated that I had to be on the brink of departure before it happened. I'm making the most of it and invited a few other similarly casual friends to join us. ...and going to a restaurant I will miss. More good-byes all at once. Excellent.

Another friend, a closer friend, did the same thing. I understand she has a very busy life, but I had to swallow my frustration that she hadn't taken my current busy-ness into account and had just assumed I had all the time in the world to have a good-bye with her. She's known I was moving for weeks, but called me this past weekend. Really? Of course, by this time I have very few evenings free, and REALLY need to pack. I'm afraid I sounded ungracious, but we settled on a date. It gets harder to remember Rule 6 when I'm looking ahead to the rules for being the new kid in town!

...actually, I'm so done with "good-bye", that it's easier (emotionally at least) for me to plan a "hello" with a new blogging friend, Misty of Misty's Laws, or to try to set a time and place to meet my internet fiance Brett, the Transformed Non-conformist!

Deep down, I know that it's a good thing that all these good-byes are happening. Am I a bad person to want to just skip town tomorrow? Want to. Won't...can't for various reasons, but really, really want to!


  1. You better not! Then I would miss our "hello."

    As I was reading this (before you got to the part about me), I was thinking, "hmm, how does that work when you are saying hello AND good-bye at the same time?" Don't worry, though. I'm not one of those huggy touchy feely types. Basically I'm dead inside, so you should be fine! :)

    I am looking forward to our "date." And as I have learned through this blogging thing, you can have friends all over the place without ever having met them face to face. So at least we will have this one meeting going for us!

    1. Yeah, the reason I selected my moving date was entirely because I have plans that final Friday.

      I totally can't wait to come down to the Inner Harbor and say "hello!" ...although I looked up that restaurant and they don't list a Baltimore location. I may need a phone number to get directions.

    2. Hmm, that's odd. Maybe they closed. It has admittedly been a while since I've actually been there. I'll look into it.

  2. After reading this, I think the best thing to do would be to set a goodbye cut off date two weeks before your actual departure. And let everyone know in advance that after that you won't be free. Probably wouldn't actually work - but it's a thought. I don't think I could humour the last minute people with goodbye dinners if I had so much to do!

    And oh my..................... things are starting to get really exciting! Talk about a build up!

  3. Well, my last goodbyes are within your 2 week timeframe, so I can't do that. And the latest good friend that I mentioned who called me late in the game? My final Sunday. Yeah, frustrating, but it will be a good time.

  4. I understand the goodbyes as I have done that many times as well. You pointed out several things that I had not considered which is the other people. I have always tried to be fair to everyone, but it is an entirely different experience for the person moving than it is for the people that are being left behind.

    I have always arrived in a new town successfully, but don't know that I leave the old one well. There is always someone who gets slighted or overlooked. I have moved so much, I am used to it and just expect other people to feel the same way, I guess.

    In the meantime, I am patiently awaiting all the goodbyes on your end and looking forward to a new hello.

    1. Well, my inner Vulcan pointed out the logic of the "other side" of the equation...and I can't ignore that Vulcan logic!

      I have no patience (I think God's working on that, with me) but I do have many things to do, including my two jobs, so I don't really have a choice but to be grateful for the time that remains!

  5. Oh man, goodbyes suck. Or they do for me, at least, I'm terrible at them. I don't do well with the mushy, miss you stuff. It's terrible to say that, of course, but once I know I'm leaving I just want to be done with it.

    The 'hellos', however, are exciting!

    1. I think it seems even more tiresome to me because I've been anticipating this departure for the last two years. The stars just happen to have aligned for it to happen now!

  6. You forgot to add "people who are leaving, but just going on holiday don't need a gathering."

    When you leave you are at your most popular

    1. AMEN! I am SOOOO popular right now!

      The only people who think I'm this wonderful on a regular basis are usually about 10 years old. I'm crazy popular with that age-group. Adults, not always.

  7. Imagine how bad it would have been before the internet. It's easier to keep in touch after you have moved when you have all the social media out there now. And in your case, your only moving away from your "real life" friends, you get to take all of us "blogging friend" with you.

    1. You are so right! And facebook will slow down the disintegration of my weaker friendships.

      I love that my blog relationships will remain unaffected. (Well, except for the bloggers I will actually meet.)

  8. Most definitely not a bad person. As a matter of fact, putting the needs of the leavees before your own is the complete opposite of a bad person!

    1. Thank you. I'm trying very hard to tamp down my annoyance!

      I'm now counting down to my departure in terms of how many good-bye events I have left. Six, as of today.


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.