5 Meaningful Ways to Say Goodbye

The world we live in is increasingly mobile, and in this season of life, many of us may find ourselves moving for school, a job, a relationship, or even for an adventure.

Or, we may find ourselves waving goodbye to our dearest friends as they drive away to a new place while we stay put. Compared to a hundred years ago, it is remarkably simple to transport our possessions across the country. What is less simple is navigating the change in friendships when we — or they — move away.

However, saying goodbye — and learning how to do that well — is an important aspect of any meaningful friendship. How do we do that? How do we say goodbye to the people who have shaped our lives in a powerful way?

Here are five ways to say goodbye intentionally.

5 Meaningful ways to say goodbye (1)

1. Acknowledge Change.
Some of the deepest pains from friendship come when someone feels forgotten or left behind. If you are moving across the world — or even across the state — be honest about the fact that your friendships will change. Talk with the people who will feel your absence most strongly and have a heart-to-heart about the fact that you can’t really know how the friendship will shift.

Saying goodbye doesn’t mean that anything went wrong in the friendship or that the friendship has failed. It simply is a reality of the world that we live in. Openly acknowledging and discussing that a change is coming in your relationship will make the transition clearer, if not necessarily easier.

Saying goodbye and learning how to do that well is an important aspect of any meaningful… Click To Tweet

2. Under Promise.
As a deep feeler, I feel the urge to promise my close friends that we will talk every week, send letters in the mail, and text regularly. But, the reality is that I don’t know if I will be able to do those things and promising them such will only cause pain to my friends if I don’t follow through. It might even make them feel forgotten when they most definitely are not forgotten to me.

Instead, in seasons of change, it’s a good idea to under promise what you can offer in this next season. Be honest with yourself and with your friends. If you are taking a new job, it might be much more demanding than your current one. You will need current friends in your new community, and much of your time may need to be poured into getting to know new people, especially in the first months of change. But decide what you can promise — and stick to it. A call every other week? Put it on the calendar. A trip every year? Buy the tickets now.

We know how much our friends mean to us; often, they don’t. Tell them. #friendship Click To Tweet

3. Say Thank You.
We know how much our friends mean to us; often, they don’t. As you prepare to leave (or watch them leave), put down in words what their relationship has meant to you. Thank them, specifically and purposefully, for how they have helped you grow, change, and love for the better.

Read two more ways to say goodbye well over at Darling Magazine, where this article originally appeared!

Still Waiting by Ann Swindell


  1. I completely feel this post! I’m in the same boat.

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