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ImageWe all say goodbye every day – to friends, loved ones and even strangers but let me ask you – have you ever felt sadness in your heart when you uttered these words to someone? I know I have.

Goodbye sounds so final sometimes even when we know we will see our loved ones again at the end of the day. Or, maybe we won’t – you never know. Not being morbid here, but many people say a quick and simple goodbye to friends and loved ones and as they came to learn in the future – that would be the last time they were ever able to say goodbye to them again due to their passing – whether due to a tragedy or unexpected life event. Ever had that experience? I have and it taught me, after a great deal of sadness and pain, to always say thank you and not just goodbye – you never know!

What does goodbye really mean? Is it just a casual comment we make without thinking or is it sometimes our conscious last words to someone due to a job transfer or the end of a friendship or a relationship etc?

We never know. I have said goodbye to high school friends and seen them again many years later. I have said goodbye to clients and worked with them again and again and I have said goodbye to loved ones hoping that I would see them again. And I have said goodbye to special people at their funerals.

Goodbye – sounds so final. Here’s the dictionary definition – used when people part or end a telephone conversation. My definition – our final words uttered in any situation that has an unknown future.

How about a different approach – rather than goodbye why not a simple thank you. Seem silly? Try it.

Rather than a goodbye a simple thank you creates a different attitude, one that doesn’t imply that we will or won’t ever see or talk to each other again.

Thank you for what? This could be a really long list, but here are a few to consider.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your understanding.
Thank you for your compassion.
Thank you for your love.
Thank you for your kindness.
Thank you for listening.

Need more?

Thank you for your interest.
Thank you for your business.
Thank you for your friendship.
Thank you for just being you.
Thank you for your wisdom.
Thank you for your support.
Thank you for your confidence.

You might ask – do I just end the conversation or time together with thank you or both thank you and then goodbye?

Consider the other person when you end something rather than your own feelings. For me, saying thank you says it all and I don’t need to follow with a goodbye. Why? Whatever or however the relationship, conversation or time ends – it ends with appreciation and appreciation is what we all want in life. I’ll guarantee there is someone in your life that would love to hear a simple thank you more often, especially from the heart. We all sooner or later take someone for granted when all they really want and often need from us is a simple heartfelt and sincere – thank you.

What gets in the way of the willingness to say thank you?

Emotional immaturity

In the end, how you leave a conversation or relationship will have an impact on the next conversation or relationship, maybe not directly, but certainly indirectly. We all take our history into our next actions, behavior and decisions so why not develop a positive rather than negative or even neutral approach to each ending.

Written by Tim Connor.