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06/08/2020 The Communication Science magazine

The Subtle Art of Saying Goodbye

There are so many forms of saying goodbye, but which one is the right one? And, is there even a right one? So many questions about something we do every day: saying goodbye.


Saying goodbye is underestimated most of the time. We often assume seeing the person again we just met, but what if we do not? Then we wish, we had said a proper goodbye and not just a quick ‘see you’.

In comparison to saying goodbye, saying hi seems easy. Although this also yields its complications. Meeting people for the first time can be very awkward and strange. Introducing yourself, shaking hands and hopefully remembering the person’s name you just met. Let us assume it went alright, you remember the name and everything goes great until the moment of saying goodbye. Then the real struggle starts: what am I supposed to say and do? Am I close enough to hug the person or does shaking hands seem more appropriate? Maybe even a quick wave seems like a good alternative. Here are some suggestions to not regret your actions afterwards: If you feel closer to the person, a hug seems most appropriate and a ‘It was nice to meet you’ would be in place.

People you know
Hopefully, saying Hi, is the easiest thing by now. Let us jump right to the point of saying Bye. If you know you will not see the person for a long time, give her or him a hug and say some nice words. It will make them feel appreciated and good. And, even though you will see the person the next day, hug him or her. It is the best way to say a proper goodbye and appreciate them for who they are.

Otherwise it might get awkward in hugging everyone

Groups
And again, even saying Hello seems like an obstacle. Let us assume that you managed to tackle it, you had a great time and you are about to leave. Depending on who it is and where it is, you can either hug everyone or just wave and say bye. But, please remember: if the group consists of more than five people, just wave, otherwise it might get awkward in hugging everyone.  

Strangers
Sometimes you are in this situation of speaking to strangers. Then it is of utmost importance to introduce yourself by shaking hands. When it is time to say goodbye, you shake hands again. It is the politest, either way and will not get you too attached to that person.

Under no circumstances should you say bye and rush away as if you are about to win a marathon

What you should not do
Under no circumstances should you say bye and rush away as if you are about to win a marathon. The person you leave will feel uncomfortable and might question the encounter you just had. Remember: always take your time as it might be the very last time you see a person. You want to feel appreciated as well.

Cover: Osman Rana

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