These ways to say goodbye will help you end a relationship with grace, love, and kindness – whether you need tips on how to say goodbye to someone you’re still in love with or someone you work with (or both!).
A symbol of your relationship – a goodbye gift – is often a good way to end your time with someone. I love the wooden Willow Tree figurines – especially the Willow Tree Abundance pictured, because of the color and cheeriness of the flowers.
Of course, the goodbye gift you give depends on your relationship and how it’s ending. How you say goodbye also depends on where you or the person is going, doesn’t it? While you’re scrolling through my tips for saying goodbye, keep in mind who the person is and where he’s going. What’s appropriate in one situation may not work in another.
If you’re saying goodbye to a loved one, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love. It’s one of my most popular articles because most of us aren’t taught how to say goodbye. The tips in this article are external and relational ways to say goodbye, while the tips in my letting go article are for internal healing and closure.
How to Say Goodbye
If you’re one of those people who has never found any “good” in the word goodbye, then you may need learn different ways to grieve the end of a relationship. Healthy goodbyes are always about loss, which means they have an element of grief.
Feeling and expressing grief is necessary for healing and closure. Allow yourself to grieve the end of your relationship as you knew it. Part of figuring out how to say goodbye is opening yourself up to the sadness that accompanies change.
Acknowledge how the person’s absence will affect you
No matter who you’re saying goodbye to, your life will be different after the person leaves. If you’re saying goodbye to a coworker, your workplace will be different. If you’re saying goodbye to a family member, your home or family life won’t be the same. And if you’re saying goodbye to a partner, your life will change dramatically – even if you initiated the breakup.
One of the healthiest ways to say goodbye is to be honest about how the person’s absence will affect your life. You might share this with them, in a goodbye card or letter. Or maybe you want to keep it to yourself (because learning how to say goodbye can be about knowing what NOT to say!).
Share what the person brought to your life
One of the healthiest, happiest ways to say goodbye is to tell the person what she added to your life. Even the most disastrous of relationships offered you a chance to learn and grow, right?
In a goodbye card – which is always a good gift to give – share what you’ll miss most about the person. Was she always friendly, honest, or punctual? Maybe he always made you laugh or helped you make good decisions. This is one of those ways to say goodbye that is so healing for both you and the person who is leaving. If you’re the “leaver”, this will bring comfort and joy to someone who will miss you more than you’ll ever know.
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Good friends never say goodbye, they simply say “see you soon.”
Find ways to bring healthy closure to your relationship
If the relationship is ending negatively, read How to Get Over a Break Up When You Don’t Have Closure. It’s important to learn how to say goodbye to people who were important in your life, even if the relationship wasn’t positive.
Closure can be as simple as saying “It’s been a pleasure knowing you. I wish you all the best in your future” to a coworker. Or, if you’re involved in a painful divorce, closure can be emotionally draining and time-consuming. A healthy closure to a relationship might involve several discussions about your time together, or even a counselor or mediator.
Regardless of how complicated or simple your relationship is, remember that people need to acknowledge that a relationship is ending or changing. This is an important part of learning how to say goodbye in every aspect of your life.
Say goodbye with a public gesture
A going away or farewell party is a great way to say goodbye to someone who is moving away, traveling, or retiring. A public gesture – even as seemingly inconsequential as a small lunch or coffee date with a couple of people – brings honor the person who is leaving. If you gather other people as a way of saying goodbye to a mutual friend or coworker, you’re saying that the person is important and valuable. This is a very meaningful way to say goodbye, even if it’s just a small gathering.
Some women have divorce parties to celebrate the end of the divorce proceedings – and divorce gifts for women are always appropriate at those events!
Give a bouquet of flowers
Flowers brighten up even the saddest of circumstances, don’t they? A bouquet of flowers Flowering Fields Bouquet, With Vase is always a fallback tip on how to say goodbye because a bouquet is appropriate in weddings (saying goodbye to the single life) and funerals (saying goodbye to a loved one). The right bouquet of flowers expresses everything from pain to congratulations.
When you’re searching for the right tip on how to say goodbye, consider who you’re saying farewell to. If you’re visiting someone in the hospital for the last time, your goodbye gift is much different than if a coworker is retiring. There are no “one size fits all” answers or ways to say goodbye because every situation, person, and relationship is so different.
Put your heart into your goodbye card (not literally!)
Writing goodbye cards is difficult. But if you share what’s on your heart and mind, you’ll find that your card is more than merely a way to say goodbye. It’s a symbol of your relationship that isn’t just for the person you’re saying goodbye to. It’s for you, as well. This is part of healthy closure for a relationship.
I was a volunteer Big Sister through the Big Sisters/Big Brothers organization for three years. My Little Sister recently moved to a different city, so our relationship had to end formally. We’re still in touch, but we had to have a goodbye meeting. I gave my Little Sister a gift – but more important was the card. I told her how much our friendship meant to me and how much I’d miss her in my life. The goodbye gift and card were ways for me to acknowledge our goodbye and help me grieve and heal.
If you’re in pain because you don’t want to look for ways to say goodbye, read How to Start Over After a Breakup.
What do you think of these ways to say goodbye? I welcome your comments, but I can’t offer advice for difficult goodbyes. If you have different ideas for saying goodbye, please share them!
“Goodbyes make you think. They make you realize what you had, what you lost, and what you took for granted.” – Ritu Ghatourey.