An Unauthorized Guide to (Sucking at) Saying Goodbye


I guess this is the part where I reflect on the last four months.

This is gonna get weird, friends.  This is the “excited to go, but sad to leave” part.  The part where I pull out my uncomfortable cop-out response to “Are you ever coming back?”, and you prepare to dodge my inevitable “Are you ever going to come visit me in Canada?”

Maybe. Someday. Who-the-bleep-knows, right? Hah. Hah. Hah.

On “goodbye” weekend, I am queen of the awkward laugh.

I can’t seem to get it quite right. Yesterday, I parted ways with a dear coworker by saying: “Have a good one! And by ‘one,’ I mean, like, life!”

…that sounded exactly as awkward out loud as it did in your head.

He responded with a lovely speech about how great it’s been, how I’ll be missed, how his door is always open.  I looked at the ground and said something stupid like “Teehee, gee, thanks. Don’t know why I would ever be down there, but hey, you never know.”

I could’ve just said “Ditto!” and smiled.  I could’ve mentioned “I’ll miss you, too, dude.” Or found some way to explain how epic my time with these co-workers had been, how much I care about them, how these four months have genuinely changed my life.

But I did none of that.  I probably won’t even stay in touch (empty promises 1; Shauna 0).  I want to, but I don’t really know what “stay in touch” even means.

Another friend, who evidently sucks less than I do, tried to strike up a meaningful closing conversation over dinner:

“So, where do you think you’ll be in five years?”

“Pregnant and sad.”

What kind of response is that? [I wondered. As I said it. Out loud. I didn’t even miss a beat, you guys.]

So begins a long string of goodbyes.  I’m waiting for a few of them, though I don’t doubt for a moment they will be just as strange. And since I finally, finally got my camera working, the strangeness is being recorded.

This goes into the category of "things that make goodbyes harder."
This goes in the category of “things that warm my heart…and make goodbyes WAY harder.”

A-and, like clockwork, Expedia just emailed me a reminder of my flight. At the same time, my friend Niki messaged me to make plans for Tuesday–Tuesday!  Tonight, I’m going to clumsily follow a “Lincoln Assassination” walking tour, the second of two attempts to get my tourist on via DC by Foot before I leave the city on Monday.


What game are you playing, Time? 

8 thoughts on “An Unauthorized Guide to (Sucking at) Saying Goodbye

  1. Talk of swallowing your whole foot and, well…! What I loved about your post is how you have managed to capture those moments, complete with what may have been going on in your mind.

  2. I hate saying good byes. Totally, totally hate them. I had to say goodbye to people on Friday (leaving my job for another GREAT one) and what do you say without sounding like an ass? Yeaaaah, enjoy yourself…I’m out of here! I was really quiet the whole time haha.

    1. Hahahaha. There really is no right way to say goodbye, and work by far is the worst. Those semi-professional relationships with people you see EVERY DAY…doesn’t make the whole thing easier.

  3. I hate goodbyes so much I often leave an event without saying them.

    Speaking of awkward, after my father died my then boss said “I’m sorry about your Father.” I responded, “Why? You didn’t do it.”

    I have no idea why I said that. I know he was just doing the socially mandated and caring thing. I have learned to accepted condolences with a ‘thank you’ these days but I still am amazed that came out of my mouth.

    Good luck with your new life/gig.

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