The Irish Goodbye – and Why It’s Amazing

July 3, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of goodbyes.

They’re sad. They take a long time. You have to say goodbye to everyone. You inevitably end up staying hours later then you wanted to because it takes so long to say goodbye. Especially if you’re a girl.

So, for the most part, I don’t do it. As many of my friends can attest, I am an Irish Goodbye-r. The Irish Goodbye is when you just slip out the door without actually saying goodbye to anyone. I like to use it when I’m ready to call it a night: As we make our way to another bar, I just move to the pack of the group and don’t quite make it into the place. I’ve also Irish Goodbye-d friends at restaurants. Honestly, I’ve even done an Irish Goodbye at my own house (yes, I left but people remained).

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 2.19.24 PM

But, I have found an article eloquently written that not only supports the Irish Goodbye, but shares why it’s amazing. The author is an experienced writer who has traveled the world and won lots of awards – so he clearly knows what he’s talking about. Read the full article here.

Some of my favourite excerpts:

Ghosting—aka the Irish goodbye, the French exit, and any number of other vaguely ethnophobic terms—refers to leaving a social gathering without saying your farewells. One moment you’re at the bar, or the house party, or the Sunday morning wedding brunch. The next moment you’re gone. In the manner of a ghost. “Where’d he go?” your friends might wonder. But—and this is key—they probably won’t even notice that you’ve left.

This is so true. For all the times you want to be annoyed at the person who happened to leave, how long does it take you to realize they’re gone?

Goodbyes are, by their very nature, at least a mild bummer. They represent the waning of an evening or event. By the time we get to them, we’re often tired, drunk, or both. The short-timer just wants to go home to bed, while the night owl would prefer not to acknowledge the growing lateness of the hour. These sorts of goodbyes inevitably devolve into awkward small talk that lasts too long and then peters out. We vow vaguely to meet again, then linger for a moment, thinking of something else we might say before the whole exchange fizzles and we shuffle apart. Repeat this several times, at a social outing delightfully filled with your acquaintances, and it starts to sap a not inconsiderable portion of that delight.

Goodbyes are sad to say. A lot of times, I prefer to say ‘See you later’ (as I did to many of my Greenville friends before driving off to Alaska). And since I’m not really a night owl (11:30 is usually my limit, if I stay out until midnight then woah! Party animal watch!) it’s always easier to slip away then be met with the argument of ‘come on old lady! It’s so early! Don’t you want to stay and have fun?!’

I would love to stay and have fun. But my natural tendency to wake up at 6am makes me tired if I don’t get to bed before 10. Accept my flaws, and know that I stayed out until 11pm just for you!

One thing the author proposes in his article is giving fair warning of an Irish Goodbye. Letting your friends know in advance that you will be ducking out, and that you will not be saying when.

I have a friend who favors the “Northern Irish goodbye.” You announce your intention to ghost long in advance, as a warning, so there will be no collateral damage.

I agree that it is the polite thing to do. So I am making a resolution to start saying in advance that I will Irish Goodbye. Especially as we make new friends up here who are not used to my (apparently rude) ways.

Have you ever Irish Goodbye-d? How do you sneak away from the crowd?



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  • Reply Car-GramRod July 3, 2013 at 14:37

    The only problem with the Irish Goodbye is you leave behind the ‘Frantic Search’. “What happened to @EmilyinAlaska? Does she need a ride? Is she in the bathroom? You think she went off with that sketch? OMG what if he kidnapped her….Who was her bar-buddy?”

    Personally I prefer the High5 goodbye. Initiate by already having hand in the air as you approach your group, proceed down the line “good-game” style. Accept no hugs by being assertive with aforementioned raised hand. If girl goes in for a hug, put hand in their face and move on. 30 seconds tops and you’re out. Make sure your bar-buddy knows (that you’re leaving with the sketch).

    Plus, you have the benefit of receiving a farewell-shot 50% of the time. But what do I know, all my friends moved to Alaska while I was in the shower.

  • Reply Megan July 3, 2013 at 14:38

    You should have mentioned how you started hosting parties at your house rather than going out so you can crawl in bed early without leaving the party 🙂

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