Friday, 21 June 2013

6 ways to make goodbyes less awkward

I've just about wrapped up my time at uni, and amidst packing and trying to remove mug rings from furniture before the landlord sees them, I've had to start saying goodbye to people. It's a situation that makes me feel a bit awkward, a) because it's a social occasion and b) because it's not like I'll see some of these people around - it kind of feels very final. But luckily, I've devised 6 different plans of action to deflate the awkwardness. They're basically foolproof.
1) Keep repeating the fact that it's "so sad".
This is just in case the other person has forgotten, or isn't sure what the tone of this goodbye is going to be. Sometimes people leap into goodbyes with happiness or anger, and so this is a great way of setting them straight. If you keep repeating it in a mournful, high-pitched voice, you're sure to dispel any confusion (which is always so awkward, I find). Another good thing about this strategy is that if you can't think of anything else to say, it's a really great phrase to fall back on, again and again. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

2) Cry.
If you really want to go the extra mile, nothing works better than a good weep. The less well you know someone, the better this is. It's good because you don't actually have to talk, thus removing the awkwardness of not knowing what to say. The most dramatic crying is the most effective: if possible, try and collapse on the floor and wrap your arms around the other person's left ankle. Be sure to carry an onion with you at all times if you know that you have difficulty with crying on demand.
3) Don't make eye contact.
Eyes are the windows to the soul, and the other person needs to know that these windows are now shut, closed for business. Don't make the mistake of saying this out loud, though; I can tell you that this makes things super awkward. Instead, clarify the situation to the other person by looking slightly above, below, or anywhere except the irises. Be wary of using this strategy when saying goodbye to people with very beautiful eyes, because you may well get drawn in by their hypnotic powers and end up having to postpone the farewell. Pray that you never have to say goodbye to Alexis Bledel.
4) Do a little dance to ascertain whether a hug is appropriate.
It feels natural to hug some people, but with others it's a bit weird. If you're not sure how to tell the difference, here's a little trick. Stand opposite the person and try to work out where they're looking. If they're looking at your arms, then it's probably safe to hug. If not, raise your arms very slightly. If they smile at this action, you can hug. If not, bob a bit to the left and right. If they copy you, then they're expecting a hug. WARNING: if none of these actions elicit a favourable response DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT hug. If they don't see it coming, you might both bob the same way and end up kissing.
5) End the conversation with, "Well, see you never, I guess."
This is to ensure that lying does not occur, which can be very awkward. You'll probably never see them again, so you can't say, "See you later" or "See you around" because this is clearly impossible. By adding "I guess" to the end of the sentence, you imply that you don't know that you'll never see them again, it's just an educated assumption that you've made. This means that the other person definitely won't be offended.
6) Avoid it altogether.
Don't bother with the awkwardness! Just leave the room without a word. If someone tries to call you back, make a run for it. Use Bilbo Baggins as your model and always have an invisibility device at hand.
(Sad fact: within this past week I have done all of these things except crying)

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