Ending a phone conversation or gathering with friends with “bye” has never sat well with me. I didn’t know why until I visited Copenhagen years ago. My Danish friend taught me that bye is reserved for when there is no chance you will see the other person on this world again. In the Danish language, they use “hej” to say hello, and “hej hej” to say see you later. I’m not even sure the Chinese have a word for bye. I only know of the phrase “zai jian,” which means see you again.
I try to eliminate the use of bye in my every day life. Sometimes on phone calls I panic, and morbidly respond to bye with bye. I literally feel like I put my friend in a coffin when I do that. I’m a terrible friend. What am I to say if I am not going to see that person later that day, but I will see them later in life? I was walking through Bushwick today – where the weather was beyond beautiful, where the sun was shining down on my purple hair, where the wind was picking my feet off the street. I bought pottery (because I can’t resist hand-made items sold on a street) from a woman I didn’t know would change my life. She ended our exchange with the expression, “bye, for now.” That moment transformed something inside of me. Somehow I know I will meet her again.
I challenge you to find more beautiful ways to end a conversation or exit a party.
So, bye for now.