Nowadays I seem to spend half of my life saying cheerio, either to friends and family in Bangkok and Broughton, or witnessing others say goodbye at train stations and airports. In fact I’m starting to feel like I am living that scene in the credits at the end of Love Actually, an array of touching and heart –warming reunions amongst family and friends. The difference is I’m doing it in reverse and focusing on the goodbye, rather than the re-union part, which makes it a bit sad and lacking the feel good factor of the film! On the plus side, I feel I have become quite the expert on the different types of farewells that exist.
THE AVOIDANCE. The avoidance farewell consists of statements such “I’ll be off then,” or “see you in a bit,” delivered in a nonchalant tone which may suggest that a trip to the local co-op is the order of the day, rather than a lengthy separation. If THE AVOIDANCE is not entirely successful it can be supplemented by claims of there being a high pollen-count, to account for otherwise inexplicable watery eyes.
THE DRAWN OUT. These consist of frequent repetition over a long stretch of time of, largely unnecessary directions, instructions and reminders, such as the “what time is your bus leaving?” and “don’t forget your passport” type phrases.
THE GREEN EYED MONSTER. These consist of carefully crafted questions covering thinly guised criticisms of details of departure times, travel routes and transportation methods, of those who have some resentment about your departure.
THE BACK SLAP. This is a recent farewell having largely replaced THE HANDSHAKE. It is reserved for use my men of 40 plus years. This technique is sometimes used alongside or replaced by the shoulder bump. It’s like how high fives have been replaced by fist bumps!
THE SOB. It is fear of THE SOB that leads to the frequent use of THE AVOIDANCE. It is though, far more frequently used by those in a ‘break-up scenario’ or those with a weakness for watching weepy movies.
THE PDA. The use of this is for exclusive use by ‘love’s young dream’. It may be activated for farewells as short as popping to make a cup of tea.
THE DENIAL, also known as the Paul DANIEL(S). This is the easiest of farewells. An advanced form of the AVOIDANCE, it involves simply disappearing, like magic, without any mention of leaving.
THE AFTER EFFECT. This can often be used with either the AVOIDANCE or the Paul DANIEL or even the BACK SLAP. It can be delivered through any form of social media from voice message to Facebook to share emotion. It does come with a health warning that it should be used with caution after alcohol consumption as it can lead to an outpouring of too much emotion.
THE SELF-ABSORBED. This is a farewell to be wary of receiving. It involves loud exclamation of “how much you will be missed”, a show of tears and much noise in public places. In this respect it is not dissimilar to the self-absorbed. The person delivering the SELF ABSORBED usually makes a quick recovery, shows no long term ill effects from missing the departed, and can be found in the bathroom touching up their makeup.
THE PACKAGE. This is a loving and well-organized farewell by the non-traveller for the traveller, with a similar psyche to those likely to participate in the AVOIDANCE. It is non-vocal and consists of providing enough sandwiches, cakes, and drinks to feed the traveller, not only for the duration of their journey but several weeks after their arrival. It is often, but not exclusively, afforded to student offspring and has been known to go hand-in-hand with twenty-pound notes.
The type of goodbye you use will, of course, depend on personal circumstances and situation. Anyone who knows me will easily guess that my own preferred ‘goodbye’ is probably the AVOIDANCE. What about you?