Etiquette & superstition: goodbyes


I just found out that the word “goodbye” comes from the phrase “god be with ye.” This kind of makes “goodbye and good riddance” rather ridiculous, doesn’t it?

ETIQUETTE: I also just found out that there is a term for when you leave someplace without saying goodbye to anyone: Irish goodbye. The origin of the term is of course offensive and also nonsensical; supposedly you’re too drunk to say goodbye. I used to be a practitioner of the Irish goodbye, and my reasoning was never because I was too drunk. Seriously, how does that make sense? The reason a person leaves without saying goodbye is because he or she doesn’t want to call attention to the short amount of time he/she has actually been at the get-together, or he/she doesn’t want to deal with all the, “noooo, you can’t leave!” nonsense and excuse-making it may entail.

As tempting as it may be, however, I no longer think the Irish goodbye is an appropriate exit. The main reason one shouldn’t employ it is because people worry about you. Are you sick in the bathroom? Are you being assaulted or harassed in a dark corner? Didn’t I give you a ride here, and shouldn’t I be taking you home as well? Stuff like that.

Anyway, if you’re at a small party (oh, 20 people or fewer) at someone’s house, you have to say goodbye to the host. There’s no getting around it. Your host will probably make a big deal out of it, but that’s their job. Live with it, or stop going to these small parties. If you’re in a larger gathering or at a bar with friends, however, you have a little more leeway. Find a friend you can trust to not do the whole “noooo, you can’t leave!” thing, tell him or her very quietly that you’re leaving, and scoot out of there quickly. If somebody gave you a ride to the event, they are the friend that you need to tell you’re leaving. That’s it. Scoot.

SUPERSTITION: When a person is leaving you, it is bad luck for you to keep waving goodbye until they are out of sight. Also, don’t say goodbye to a friend at a bridge unless you never want to see this friend again.

Photo by felinebird on Flickr

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