Monday, July 20, 2015

The land of the long goodbye

We all have them. Friends and family who have trouble hanging up the phone or walking out the door. They like saying the long goodbye.

Most of the time I have no trouble with this but then there are situations such as when I'm on the phone to long-winded friend Val on a work day.

Val: "Is that call waiting beeping for you or me?"
Me: "Me."
Val: "Do you want to get it?"
Me: "I should. I'm expecting a call from XYZ. Call you back in a minute."
Val: "OK, then, lovely to talk to you and I'll be waiting for your call. Love to G, and say hi to all the animals for me and..."
Me: "Ok." Nervously. "I'd better get that."
Val: "Okeydokey, I'll let you go, love you lots, talk to you later. Bye."
Me: "Love you too. Bye."
Val: "Bye."
Call waiting: not there any more

Seriously, that is a woman who can take five minutes to get her goodbyes done with on the telephone. It's fifteen minutes in person.

I have another friend called Phil who understands what it's like taking a personal call at work. If either of us say, "Gotta go!" we understand. It's a quick, "Bye!" and we both hang up. No offence taken on either side. Some people understand that when you've gotta go, you've gotta go.

Another friend The Wildlife Photographer was most upset when I had to ring off quickly one day several years ago. A shelf on my desk had given way, with heavy reference books tumbling down onto my computer. Yikes!  I explained what had happened, and said I really should go and check the computer. I attempted a quick goodbye,  but TWP believes in long goodbyes, and considered my rather urgent, "Very sorry, but really, I should go and check that nothing's broken. Can I call you back? Bye." the height of rudeness. When I did call back he was nearly in tears. I learned: there could be no short goodbye with TWP.  Your goodbyes have to be long and polite.

G is the same on the phone. Long goodbyes. Love to the animals, love to me, and he HAS to be the last person to say goodbye. I've tried teasing and tricking him by saying one last goodbye at the last second but he manages to get one more in, every time. He travels quite a bit for work and insists on ringing every night he's away, often staying on the phone for nearly an hour driving from one place to the other before a long goodbye (at which time I'm usually busting to go to the loo and hopping from foot to foot); I think he gets a bit lonely on his drives.

I hated saying goodbye to Mum on the phone when she was getting older. I worried about her a lot, and had the awful knowledge that one day she wouldn't answer the phone. With Mum, I loved a long goodbye.

I suspect I am more a short goodbye person than a long goodbye one overall, however. Short goodbyes don't have to be brusque; nor do they have to be impolite. With close friends, a "Love you, bye!" is to my mind perfectly acceptable on the phone and a hug and kiss in person; just the one, not multiple over several minutes.

What about you? Are you a short goodbye or long goodbye person?

Or are you the type who hangs up the phone without saying goodbye? I can't bring myself to do this; it seems horribly rude. I have only done it once, to a boyfriend who was soon to become ex, and I was furious at the time.

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