Millennial Manners: The appropriate ‘goodbye’ for a handful of situations

Columnist Ben Jarzombek concludes the academic year with a lesson in classy goodbyes.

By Ben Jarzombek | May 2, 2017


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Everything in life, good or bad, comes to an end eventually. Even though endings are so frequent in our lives, many of us don’t always know how to navigate them. I can’t say that I’m always great at goodbyes. I’m a very sentimental person, so I tend to romanticize even the slightest of conclusions in my life. But through the many goodbyes I’ve had to say, I’ve learned a few things about how to conclude things in my life with tact and class.

On Breakups

The end of a relationship is rarely ever a clean affair. If you’re me, it’s never anything short of a garbage fire. Most of my relationships have ended in a heated, angry argument and a garbage bag full of my possessions on my porch. However, I make it a rule not to talk badly about any of my exes after the ending of a relationship. It’s not worth being that person who has nothing but terrible things to say. I realize how stupid I would look if I publicly trashed a person I knowingly spent an extended portion of my life with, and I bite my tongue. No matter what end of the breakup you’re on, understand when it’s over. Don’t be the person to air your dirty laundry for everyone to (unwillingly) hear.

On Jobs

Leaving a job can be a very interesting affair. For the jobs you hate, it’s a liberating moment to finally leave. With a job you love, the end is a bittersweet affair. If you’re trying to leave a job you hate, don’t completely burn your bridges (unless you see no reason to have any connections there). Keep it respectful, honor your two-week notice and leave like an adult. I’ve watched friends abruptly quit jobs without giving adequate notice to their bosses, and I can only imagine the inconvenience. Be the bigger person, and ride your job out to a civil ending.

On Friendships

Leaving a friendship is a difficult and painful time. Friendships can end for many reasons: distance, differences, arguments or sometimes just time. If your friendship is ending because of an argument, follow my advice for breakups: Don’t trash them, remember the good times and keep it civil. If your friendship has broken organically because of time or distance, understand that there isn’t any bad blood between you two. Some of my best friends from childhood are people I haven’t spoken to in years. If I ever do see them, I keep it cordial and nostalgic. It’s nice to catch up and know that the friendship didn’t end purposefully.

The main reason I’m talking about goodbyes is to signal my own goodbye. This will be the last installment of Millennial Manners (by me, at least), and I wanted a way to conclude my time. I hope that I could teach you all something about living your youth with a little more tact and class. So until we meet again, goodbye.

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