Last week, an online sales clerk said “talk with you soon” as we brought closure to a minor business transaction. The interaction got me thinking about how I end conversations with strangers, friends, and the in-between.
“Talk with you soon.” Did he really think that we, the online clerk and I, would ever talk again? Perhaps he was implying the royal “we” meaning everyone who works at his company. Was it a strategy to build consumer loyalty during these tough economic times? Even though the online clerk and I probably both knew in our heart of hearts that we would never talk again, I might talk with his company again.
The call has made me more self-conscious, in particular, about how I sign off with people in other modes of communication. Because I am often in a Facebook environment, I have grown quite comfortable saying goodbye with my face. Email is a super training ground to keep in shape with using my goodbye words.
Specifically, I have been thinking about how my choice of goodbye words reflects my intentions about when or if I hope to communicate with a particular person again. Do I bail and just sign off with my name alone? Do I sign off with the rather bland best or cheers? Do I make a full-on temporal commitment with soon or always? Will I be even more specific like ’til Tuesday or see you next week? What does it really mean to sign off with love because I cannot sign off with like?
Because I am neither Miss Manners nor Emily Post, I have not researched any possible rules for saying good bye with any greater precision. What I do know is that how you say good bye, if only in an e-mail or in a phone call, seems to matter.