How we enter a room, a conversation, a new job, or organization is important and makes a definite impression. How we leave anything – a job, a meeting, a volunteer position, or friendship — speaks volumes about our character. With either action, we can shine or tarnish a professional or personal reputation, but the exit is the final impression. It makes makes sense to leave the the right one.
PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW
Shakespeare nailed the problem with endings when Juliet bids Romeo good night by saying “parting is such sweet sorrow…” In truth, often she would have been equally correct if she had said the sorrow was bittersweet.
There are numerous endings we navigate throughout life. School provides a significant number as we move from grade school through high school and finally college. Although each of those endings signals a new beginning, there is always an element of discomfort.
Some endings are rites of passage, like leaving our home for summer camp and then leaving our summer friends for home, moving into our first apartment, or taking a job in a city far from home. Others may be more traumatic. Many of us remember moving during the school year, leaving friends and starting over in a strange place in the middle of a school term. It’s tough. Friendships and groups have been formed and the New Kid on the Block has to penetrate a “posse” and learn to fit in.
Throughout life there’s discomfort at leaving the familiar routine, even if it’s just leaving a job no longer wanted. The ending isn’t easy because it signals you’re embarking on a new and unknown path.
LITTLE LEAVINGS, ENDLESS ENDINGS
Even life’s little endings give some people trouble. They have trouble getting off the phone or leaving a meeting or ending a lunch.
My grandmother perfected her phone call endings. When she was ready to hang up, she would sweetly say, “Thank you so much for calling,” and before you could respond, you heard the phone click.
Experts recommend that we wait until we’re talking, then interrupt ourselves to say, “Glad we had a chance to speak about the issue. Hope all goes well. Goodbye.”
Yes, that does invest the time it takes to say 14 words for what could be, “Gotta go,” but it’s a good investment and a smart one that shows manners, consideration and maturity.
Then there are those who must control the conversation; whether it’s business conversation or a personal one and be the first to say goodbye. One person told of an acquaintance who consistently calls the end to phone conversations, but if she should excuse herself and say goodbye first, he holds her on the phone with a “just more thing,” rehashing what has been said or making another comment until he can end the conversation.
Yes, Phone Control Freaks do exist, but we can handle them. Should they jump over our goodbye with a comment, politely say “I really must go” and, like Grandma, hang up.
LET MY PEOPLE GO
As a guest, it’s important to know when and how to leave a party so we don’t overstay our welcome. As the host, when someone says their goodbyes we need to let them go.
Whether it’s on the phone, at an event, or at a meeting, we need to hear the hint and take it. This isn’t the moment to monopolize a person’s time. Look for another person standing alone or visit the buffet dessert table. There will always be people having fun with fattening foods and chocolate.
When leaving any event, the best exit is the mandatory, verbal “thank you” to the host, appropriate good-byes to those guests who merit a cheery goodbye, and then… leave! A lengthy goodbye can be very irritating to the spouses, friends, or co-workers who are waiting around for us to leave with them, wondering what is taking so long.
Being prepared to exit face to face conversations, gatherings or jobs with grace, and manners makes the Right Impression.