From Shakespeare ("Parting is such sweet sorrow") to Boyz II Men ("It's so hard to say goodbye), the word "goodbye" can pack a punch. It's often loaded with big feelings for the person saying it an on the receiving end. Sadness is commonly the default expectation for a goodbye—it marks the end of something. But sometimes, endings can be happy (or at least for the best), such as ending a relationship that no longer serves you or leaving one gig to start a dream job. Other times, they trigger feelings of anger. And sometimes, goodbye is merely a conversational way to say "see you later" to a loved one who will be home in time for dinner.
In other words, there can't be one-size-fits-all goodbye because it's used in many different situations.
"Ending a romantic relationship is very different from saying goodbye to a loved one who is dying and requires you to orient to the person and the moment in different ways," says Dr. Jordan Conrad, Ph.D., LCSW, a New York-based therapist.
But generally speaking, a goodbye—regardless of the feelings attached to it—should ultimately feel healthy.
"You don’t want to have any regrets about the way you ended things," Dr. Conrad says. "Shame and regret are powerful emotions, and the last thing you want to happen is to regret something you said—or didn’t say—in your last moments together."
Why Are Goodbyes Hard?
Sometimes, goodbye is just a casual conversation. But in many situations, goodbye marks endings and changes. These instances can be emotionally charged.
"Goodbyes are hard because they can be quite emotional, and many of us attempt to avoid uncomfortable emotions such as sadness," says Dr. Maura Ferguson, Psy.D., C.Psych, a psychologist.
Relationships are often complicated. Even breakups with toxic individuals may bring about sadness. The deaths of loved ones we cared deeply for may spark feelings of angst about down times in a long relationship.
"Saying goodbye can stir up unresolved or uncomfortable feelings," Dr. Ferguson says.
Why Are Goodbyes Important?
Though they can be challenging, mental health providers share that saying goodbye has many benefits. "Goodbyes provide an opportunity for intentional reflection about how a person or persons have impacted our lives," says Dr. Amy Mezulis, Ph.D., the co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer with Joon. "They allow us to gain insight and closure as we move from one chapter of our lives to another chapter."
And sometimes, even sad goodbyes have very thick silver linings.
"Saying goodbye can be healthy when a relationship no longer serves you," says Rachel Gersten, LMHC, LPCC, co-founder of Viva. "Not all relationships are forever, and that's OK."
General Tips for Saying Goodbye
No two goodbyes are the same, but Dr. Mezulis says some general tips apply to most situations.
Make time and space. Goodbyes can sometimes be knee-jerk reactions to an undesirable event. Dirty dishes in the sink again? Later, dude. But Dr. Mezulis suggests being thoughtful. "It is important to take the time to be intentional about saying goodbye, so planning for when and how is important," Dr. Mezulis says. "Schedule a specific time to say goodbye."
Pause and reflect. Another reason not to make any rash decisions about goodbyes? You'll want to find the right words. "Take time on your own to reflect on what you want to say or do," Dr. Mezulis says.
Name your emotions. Goodbyes can bring about a range of emotions at both ends of the spectrum—from elation to anger to relief in between. That's normal. "Allow yourself to be comfortable with mixed and even competing emotions." Dr. Mezulis says.
Savor the memories. "Remember the good times" may sound cliche, but it can bring you and whoever is on the receiving end of a goodbye peace. It can also help you practice gratitude. "What did the person or experience you’re saying goodbye to teach you? How are you a different person as a result?" Dr. Mezulis suggests asking yourself. "Finding gratitude helps us transform loss into growth."
Create a way to remember. Planning how you want to remember a relationship before it changes can help keep you from ruminating when it does. "While there can be a temptation to make goodbyes a marker of the past and move on to a future, it is also important to decide how you want to remember that past," Dr. Mezulis says. "Will it help you to have a photo album or scrapbook, a favorite picture or other meaningful item that you take with you even as you say goodbye?"
Related: Wait. What Does TTYL Really Mean?
Best Ways To Say Goodbye
In casual conversation with someone you'll see again soon, sometimes it's best not to overthink things.
2. See you next time.
Another simple way to end a day or outing with someone you plan to see or talk to again soon.
3. Talk to you later.
Always talking to your bestie on Discord or Facebook Messenger? This phrase is a straightforward way to say goodbye after a happy hour or day trip.
Perfect for quick texts, TTYL stands for "talk to you later."
5. See ya.
Short, sweet and casual, see ya is a great quick sign-off.
6. Take care.
These two words pack just the right amount of sweetness for someone you're wishing well.
7. Take it easy.
The Eagles said it best.
When you're short on time, one word will do (as long as it's a casual conversation).
9. I'm out.
Whether you're the first one to leave a house party or the last, "I'm out" gets to the point quickly.
10. Have a great day.
This phrase is a way to wish another person well while saying goodbye.
11. Good night.
If you're saying goodbye after dark, "good night" is a great way to part.
12. Safe travels.
Whether a person is heading five minutes down the road or across the country, "safe travels" is a kind way to wish someone well.
13. Best wishes.
A good sign-off for emails or handwritten letters, best wishes leave a good taste in a recipient's mouth.
14. See you tomorrow.
Sometimes, goodbyes really are highly temporary.
15. So long.
Another laidback alternative to "goodbye."
16. Peace out.
Whether you flash a peace sign or couple this phrase with an emoji via text, peace out comes off as super chill.
17. Good luck.
"Good luck" is a great sign-off for a job applicant or pal you just counseled through a tough situation.
This happy goodbye comes across as cheerful whether written in an email or said face to face.
"Farewell" can sound a bit formal, but it's a straightforward alternative to "bye."
One fewer syllable than "goodbye" but just as effective in the right (typically casual) situation.
21. Don't be a stranger.
This phrase lets a person know you hope they come around again.
The shortened version of "gotta go" rose to prominence thanks to AIM and AOL and lives on in text messages and apps.
Related: 11 Phrases for Ending an Email
Funny Ways To Say Goodbye
23. Bye bye bye.
Bonus points for following it with a so-casual laugh. IYKYK.
24. Later, gator.
Don't be surprised if you get an "after a while, crocodile" in response.
25. Make like a tree and get outta here.
Biff in Back to the Future likely meant "and leave," but the line has gone down in the good kind of infamy among fans.
26. Stay classy.
Whether or not you live in San Diego, this term will make Anchorman fans giggle.
27. Bye, Felicia.
This one is also dismissive and can be a tongue-in-cheek way to bid farewell to someone or something you did not like. So, it may be best saved for when your least-favorite Aldi Find or Costco bakery item (the ones your partner or roomie insists on getting three of) finally run out.
28. Hasta la pasta.
A little Spanish + a little carbs = a fun way to break up the monotony of goodbye.
Go ahead and add "pip pip" if you want to sound really British.
30. Ciao for now.
A little Italian and rhyming action is a lighthearted way to bid farewell to someone for a short period.
31. Nice knowing ya!
This one is funny if you plan to see the person again soon or know you'll engage in a lengthy text message conversation when you're both settled at home.
32. It's been real, but I really must be going.
The play on words makes for a playful goodbye.
33. Hakuna Matata
Though it's more of a problem-free philosophy, this phrase makes for a smile-inducing goodbye, especially for Disney fanatics.
Creative Ways To Say Goodbye
The abbreviated version of "ta ta for now" isn't used as often as TTYL or G2G.
35. Catch you on the rebound.
Basketball fans will get it.
36. Happy trails.
No need to break out into the Roy Rogers classic (but go ahead if you can carry a tune).
37. Leave a little sparkle.
The idea, made famous by the late fashion designer Kate Spade, encourages people to leave a place happier than they found it.
38. Shine on.
Similar to "Leave a little sparkle," "shine on" feels inspirational and encouraging.
39. So long. Farewell.
Anyone who has seen Sound of Music will leave your get-together humming the famous tune.
40. So long, and thanks for all the fish!
First seen in a book by Douglas Adams by the same name, this line was also the title of a song in the 2005 film adaptation of Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's a message left by dolphins as they leave Planet Earth right before it gets wrecked to make room for a hyperspace bypass. These days, it's also a fun way to say "later" or perhaps thank a host who cooked for you.
41. Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
This phrase is often misattributed to Dr. Seuss. Regardless of who said it, it can veer into toxic positivity territory when used to dismiss someone's sad feelings, But sometimes it can bring a smile to a person's face, such as when they're about to turn their tassel and graduate high school.
42. I'm late. I'm late for a very important date.
This line from the classic Alice in Wonderland song is a great way to make a hurried exit.
43. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
I know who I want to take me home...
How To Say Goodbye in Other Languages
44. Au revoir.
Au revoir means "goodbye" in French.
The Spanish word for "goodbye."
46. Hasta luego.
This phrase translates to "see you later" in Spanish.
"Ciao" is how Italians say goodbye.
Spelled slightly differently than the Spanish "Adios," this phrase means "goodbye" in Portuguese.
Headed to Hawaii? Use this phrase when it's time to part.
50. La revedere
"La revedere" means "goodbye" in Romanian.
51. Αντιο σας
Pronounced "antio sas," this is how you say "bye" in Greece.
If you see these symbols or hear "Zàijiàn," it's someone saying "goodbye" in Mandarin.
Use this phrase to say goodbye like a pro in Germany.
54. до свидания
The Russian translation of "goodbye."
One of the most common ways to say goodbye in Dutch.
Pronounced "Shalom," this phrase is used for hello, goodbye and peace in Hebrew.
If you see this phrase or hear the word "alavida," know it's the Hindi for "bye."
58. مع السلامة
This phrase, pronounced "mae alsalama," is Arabic.
These characters stand for "Sayonara" or "goodbye" In Japanese.
60. Slán leat
This phrase translates to "goodbye (health} to you" in Irish. You may also simply hear "Slán."
61. 안녕히 가세요
"Annyeonghi gyesipsio" is the formal term for "goodbye" in Korean.
62. Selamat tinggal
This means "goodbye" in Indonesia.
63. Do widzenia
Wondering how to sign off in Polish? Now you know.
The Swedish use "adjö" when saying "goodbye."
65. Güle güle
Use this phrase to say "goodbye" in Turkish.
66. Tạm biệt
In Vietnam, you'll hear this word when folks are bidding farewell to one another.
Ways To Say Goodbye to a Romantic Partner
67. I have decided to end the relationship.
Dr. Mezulis suggests working this phrase into a breakup conversation to ensure the person knows your choice is unequivocal.
"The best thing to do is be clear, honest, and kind in saying your goodbye," Dr. Mezulis says.
68. I didn’t feel a spark.
Dr. Conrad suggests this phrase for partners with whom you've only gone on a few dates.
"Let them know you had fun with them and let them know—without too much detail—what wasn’t working," Dr. Conrad says.
69. I don't think we vibe.
This one is an alternative to "I don't feel a spark."
"Even if they are disappointed, being honest and treating the other person with respect will be appreciated," Dr. Conrad says.
70. I am so thankful for our time together.
A low point may be prompting your choice to end a long-term romantic relationship. But that doesn't necessarily mean you didn't learn and grow from it.
"Even if a goodbye is necessary and right, presumably, you stayed with this partner out of genuine love and respect while the relationship lasted," Dr. Mezulis says. "Honoring those aspects of the relationship in the goodbye will be as important as acknowledging the reasons for ending it."
71. This time we spent together means a lot to me, but I don't see a future together because...
Dr. Conrad says this one is good to use with a partner when you're passed the dating phase.
"Be honest," Dr. Conrad says. "Sometimes work or school does get in the way of a relationship, but most of the time, it’s an excuse to not have to say, 'I just don’t see a future together.' There is no reason to gratuitously hurt their feelings, but there isn’t any reason to lie either."
72. I am not happy anymore.
Dr. Conrad says this sentence can be useful as part of a conversation with a partner of several years.
"It can help to have a word or phrase that encapsulates why you are saying goodbye," Dr. Conrad says.
But don't expect it to use it as a sign-off.
"These phrases should be used to help you anchor yourself to your needs, not to shut down the conversation."
In other words, be prepared to answer questions about why you aren't happy as part of what will likely be a difficult but necessary conversation.
73. I can't keep feeling this way.
Dr. Conrad says this phrase can also be a way to ground yourself—and firmly but fairly convey to a partner—why you're breaking things off.
75. I'm not growing.
Dr. Conrad says this phrase is another one to use when ending a long-term relationship. It conveys a reason without going out of your way to hurt a person's feelings.
76. I am just not available for this type of relationship.
Dr. Christian Glasgow, Ph.D., MA, LMFT, says this line conveys "self-respect" and "boundaries."
77. I have to do what's best for me at the moment.
Dr. Glasgow also recommends this phrase if it fits. It's honest and now overtly hurtful, though it may be hard for someone to hear.
78. I will miss what we had.
Another one in line with what mental health professionals suggest, this phrase acknowledges the good parts of a relationship.
79. I want you to be happy.
When you're the dumper or dumped, this classy line shows you still care for a person.
80. You taught me a lot about myself and love. Thank you.
Dr. Mezulis suggested practicing gratitude in her general tips. These two sentences epitomize it.
81. I want to be clear that this relationship needs to end.
Though hard to say, clarity is an important step toward closure for both parties involved.
82. We both deserve happiness.
83. I want you to be happy.
An iteration of the above, this phrase is a classy and caring way to respond to being broken up with. Even if you did the dumping, it's also a way to wish someone well.
84. You were an important part of my story.
This phrase lets the person know that the time the two of you spent together was meaningful, even if it's ending or changing.
85. I'll miss you, but I respect your decisions.
This line is good if you were on the receiving end of breakup news. It shows respect for a person's boundaries.
86. You were very special to me.
Even if things went south, a person may hold a special place in your heart. It's great to acknowledge that on the way out.
87. I hope you find someone deserving of your love.
This bittersweet phrase lets the other person know how wonderful they are.
88. I'm really happy I got to know you.
A versatile phrase, "I'm really happy I got to know you," works when saying goodbye to someone you went on a few dates or spent years with.
89. This really is the best for both of us.
Even if one of you is unsure or caught off guard, it's true in the end—both parties need to be invested in a relationship for it to work.
Related: 35 Phrases to Set Boundaries
How To Say Goodbye to a Loved One Who Is Dying
90. This relationship has meant so much to me because…
If you have the gift of time to say goodbye, Dr. Conrad suggests using it to acknowledge how much a person impacted you.
"Saying goodbye to a loved one who is dying should be a way of honoring your relationship," Dr. Conrad says. "Allow yourself to feel as deeply as possible—the pain of loss but also all that you have gained from them."
91. What I will miss most is...
Dr. Ferguson says this phrase will allow both of you to reflect on your relationship.
"You may want to tell them about a cherished memory and tell them what you will miss the most about them," Dr. Ferguson says.
92. Remember when...
Similar to the above, Dr. Ferguson says sharing a memory offers a moment of reflection for both of you.
93. How are you feeling?
"You may also want to spend some time listening to how your loved one is feeling about dying and saying their final goodbye to you and others," Dr. Ferguson says.
This phrase gives a person space to speak during your final moments together.
94. Thank you for being a part of my life.
Dr. Glasgow suggests this sweet and simple phrase as a meaningful part of a goodbye.
95. I will always remember the good times we had and cherish them in my heart.
Another one from Dr. Glasgow, this phrase exudes gratitude.
96. You have raised me well. I will pass those lessons on to your grandchildren.
This phrase, suggested by Dr. Glasgow, lets the person know they will live on.
97. Thank you.
Even simpler than No. 94—perhaps necessary if you have an understandable lump in your throat—these two words say so much to a person in their last moments.
98. What can I do when you're gone to help you be more at peace?
If you're confident you'll feel comfortable with the answer, such as carrying on a tradition, this phrase lets someone know something cherished of theirs will continue.
99. I always loved this tradition. This is how we're going to carry it on.
Another way for a person to know they—and something they loved—won't be forgotten.
100. I brought this photo from when we X because...
Bringing a photo is a way to show a concrete example of a precious memory and spark a conversation.
101. You impacted so many people. Here's how.
This way of saying goodbye leaves a person feeling good, even in a moment of sorrow.
102. Here's how your friendship helped me through the years.
Sharing how a dear friend impacted your life can be a powerful way to say thank you and goodbye.
103. You can go now—it's OK.
If you think a loved one is fighting to hang on through pain, giving them permission to go may ease their concerns.
104. I understand it was your time.
Perhaps you didn't get to say goodbye to a loved one before they passed. Saying this to them during a wake, funeral, prayer or meditation can help you ease guilt and start to find closure.
105. You changed my life by...
Sharing that your relationship with someone literally changed you is so impactful.
106. When I was with you, you made me feel...
Feelings aren't always so easy to pinpoint and see. A person may not know that they brightened your day just by entering it. A goodbye is a meaningful time to make sure they know.
107. Say nothing. Just rub their feet.
When you've said all you can, just being there can make all the difference.
Related: 40 Songs About Death and Loss
Ways To Say Goodbye To Bring You Peace
108. I wish I had...
You may have some regrets. It's OK to use this time to share them if you think it'll help both of you find closure.
"As difficult as the moment inevitably is, it will feel good to know that you were thinking about them, and telling them so will allow you to feel that you sent them off without holding anything back," Dr. Conrad says.
109. Write a letter.
You may not be able to say goodbye effectively through simple conversation. In these instances, a letter can be a helpful tool.
"I usually recommend people write an email, letter, or text message if they feel more comfortable expressing the extent of their feelings in writing," Gersten says.
But Gersten says it shouldn't be the only tool.
"I think those types of goodbye should also come with a face-to-face conversation that allows the other person to understand that the relationship is ending," she says.
The caveat: Never force an in-person conversation if your safety is at risk.
110. Create a scrapbook.
Goodbyes, especially to dying loved ones, often focus on the person passing—and rightfully so.
"Focus your goodbye to your loved one on making sure they know how much you have loved and cherished their role in your life," Dr. Mezulis says.
But you may need help managing feelings and memorializing the person.
"For your own coping, it can be helpful to create something that helps you honor and remember your loved one: a photo book, framing a favorite picture or a scrapbook of memories," Dr. Mezulis suggests.
111. I'm sorry for how things ended.
If you wish you said something different during a breakup and have a chance to have another conversation with the person, this phrase can be a powerful way to make amends.
112. I forgive you.
This phrase can be meaningful as part of a breakup or even saying goodbye to a loved one with whom you had a frayed relationship with.
113. Go to the funeral.
Funerals can be challenging but are a significant step in acknowledging a loss. Consider attending.
114. Ask yourself: How do I feel today?
This one may seem odd for a list of how to say goodbye. But acknowledging your own feelings during challenging times is important when you want to find peace.
"Giving yourself the time and space to mourn what was lost is the best way to ensure you're managing what could be hard emotions," Gersten says. "It's important to check in with yourself during all types of goodbyes to make sure you're giving yourself what you need."
115. Talk to a therapist.
If words and gestures aren't enough, discussing your feelings with a mental healthcare provider can help you cope and come up with ways to find closure.
"Be gentle with yourself when saying goodbyes to people in your life and take some time to grieve the loss they represent," Dr. Ferguson says.