April 25, 2009

Say Goodbye

I don't know if this is an old person thing or a Southern thing or just a bad-mannered thing, but my mom doesn't say goodbye before she hangs up the phone. It drives me crazy.

There's an old guy that I sometimes have to work with (a competitor of mine) who does the same thing. I always feel like I'm in a race to say goodbye and get my end of the phone hung up before he hangs up on me. Because when you don't say goodbye to me before you hang up, that's what I get -- that you're hanging up on me.

For example, here was my conversation with my mom this morning:

Me: Your friend Ramona dropped that book by the office. (blah blah blah, we talk for 15 minutes about the book and other stuff)

Her: Okay, well I'll be by to pick it up this morning.

Me: Okay, sounds good. See you later.


Me: Damn it. She did it again. Why can't she say goodbye before she hangs up the phone???

That's pretty much how every conversation goes, with me saying damn-it-she-did-it-again at the end.

* * *

Apparently, the phenomenon is also contagious. I was sitting at my desk and at the end of a phone conversation Rob had he simply hung up the phone.

Me: What happened?
Him: What do you mean 'what happened'?
Me: Did they hang up on you?
Him: (getting irritated) Nooo. Why are you asking?
Me: You did that thing.
Him: What thing?
Me: The hanging-up-without-saying-goodbye thing.
Him: No I didn't.
Me: Yes you did.
Him: No, I don't do that.
Me: You just did it. I'm telling you.
Him: I did?
Me: Mmhmm.
Him: Oh my God. I did it. I don't want to be one of those people.

* * *

And yet, he has done it on more than one occasion.

We were on the phone and when we finished the conversation he hung up. Damn it.

I called him back.

Me: You hung up on me.
Him: No I didn't.
Me: You're that kind of person now, the kind that doesn't say goodbye.
Him: Damn it.
Me: I know. Tell me goodbye now.
Him: Okay, bye.

The phone rings and I answer.

Him: You did it to me.
Me: I know. Cool, huh?
Me: Damn it.

I call him back.

Him: Hello?
Me: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I got him really good that time.

The phone rings. I answer it.

Him: Are we done having fun?
Me: I think so.
Him: Okay, bye.
Me: Bye.

I think we got it all out of our system that time.


[photo credit: splorp]


  1. Ha! I know a few people like that, and yes, they are older. I don't think it's a southern thing--my family has the opposite thing of taking 5 minutes to say goodbye. Like my mom is, "Well okay sweetheart, have a good day tomorrow, and oh! I forgot to tell you that I found your old yearbook . . " Later: "Alright, well kiss the kids for us, and oh! Your dad said you put some new pictures on flickr. . ."

    I'm like, you're killing me. And now my sister and I take five minutes to exchange goodbyes when we IM. Maybe the hang-uppers and the can't hang-uppers are two ancient tribes.

  2. you people are funny!

    it must be a need for closure . . . you don't really need the bye to know a conversation is over. Maybe you WOULD like to be the kind of person?


  3. I hate that too. Nobody in my family does it, but my boss does. It drives me nuts that she hangs up abruptly. I'll recount everything that was said in the last 30 seconds and try to determine if she was just done or if we were disconnected or if she was angry and hung up. I find myself doing the same as you, Wendy, rushing to get my goodbye in first. lol

    Some people say goodbye differently than others though.

    For instance, I always say "see you tomorrow" or "have a good night (day)" or "until next time". OMG I just realized that I have not two, but three superstitions. I do not like to say "bye". How unsettling. Anyway, I do make sure people know that my words are parting words.

    Have a wonderful weekend, beautiful lady! Peace.

  4. My 72 yr. old husband does the SAME thing! I have sat on the phone...waiting for him to speak OR I've continued speaking before realizing...he's already hung up! YEP, DRIVES ME CRAZY TOO!

  5. My husband has the opposite problem, He says goodbye too quickly, before I've finished speaking. I'm just winding up and he'll nip in with the 'bye' and hangs up. Just bugs my happiness.

  6. That's a peeve of mine, too. My husband used to do it all the time and I've been re-training him. He blames it on his Yankee roots, but I'm not buying.

  7. This cracks me up! I'm thinking you should do the same thing to your mom. That actually got pretty funny! By the way, I don't know anyone who does that, but then again--I HATE talking on the phone so I probably don't talk to enough people to know if they do it!

  8. I like to say, "It has been a pleasure and an honor conversing with you for lo, these past few minutes. Please accept my humble farewell and godspeed on any pursuits you shall follow in the coming hours."

    Well, not a lot of people call me.

  9. Okay, that was totally hilarious. You did totally get him good. Hehe.

    Also, my husband was the "sya" (to be read gruffly) kind of "goodbye" guy when we first started dating. I felt like I was talking to my mechanic or something every time he'd hang up the phone.

  10. I am laughing here, and feel like i am reading a Seinfeld script! Fabulous replay on everyday life. I will have to follow your blog!

  11. I say "bye" to everyone except one of my friends from high school, because he doesn't say it either.

    Actually, there is one exception to this... if my wife is on her cell and she goes some place and the reception is bad or the background noise is too annoying I just hang up and pretend I lost the call.

  12. And I totally love that I can say that because she's not into reading blogs. Except for mine. Because she gets paranoid because I always threaten to put something in my blog about something she did and she has to come make sure she doesn't have to be pissed at me.

  13. These are some of the funniest comments I've ever read! Fare thee well everyone!

  14. I'm thinking you two have fun together. Thanks for the laugh.

  15. Hang on. Your mother said "see you later". Everyone know that MEANS "goodbye". Or is that just over here?

  16. Well if you don't say goodbye to a friend as a teenager you are gossiped about like crazy and all comfort is sucked from your reputation. I've had to spend 20 minutes trying to hang up

    Me: Well my mom's calling me for dinner, goodbye see you in social studies

    Them: Bye

    Me: Bye

    Them: See ya'

    Me: ummm... bye

    Them: you hang up first

    Me: ummm ok *my hand reaches for the red button)

    Them: Ok then on the count of three one two three...

    I out curisoicty didn't hang up. I did eventualy but the following day I found out that you will be shunned if you hang up first.

    I'm just going to live in a no phone connection tunnel.


  17. Have you ever noticed no body ever says goodbye on the phone in soap operas? That's always driven me crazy.

  18. Ha! I was just telling a friend the other day about my grandmother (not a southerner though) who always ended a phone call with "Right". I hated that.

    Me: Okay Gaga, great to talk to you. I love you!
    Her: Right

  19. I hate that, too! Heck, if something happens and I get cut off on my cell-- even if the conversation is over -- I call the person back just to say goodbye. I'm really into closure!

  20. I don't know anyone who does that but it has always bugged me in movies and on TV! I just thought they did it on the screen to cut down on unnecessary dialogue, I didn't know anyone in real life would be so rude. (Only really old folks way back when they first got a phone & didn't understand the etiquette yet.)

  21. Becky: I hate to tell you this, but I do that thing your mom does. :)

    Ginny: You're my science girl. Still. Always. (Stop it.)

    Tantra flower: Speaking of OMG... I do that thing, too! I drive myself crazy trying to figure out what I said or did. The things we do to ourselves!

    Neen and Kristine: I recommend liberal use of ice cubes while your husbands are sleeping. Tell him it's a metaphor for some emotional need of yours that he's not meeting. ;)

    Madame DeFarge: "just bugs my happiness". You're cute and clever as always.

    Mrs. E: If I need you I will send you a telegram. Or email if I want to make it easy on both of us. :)

    Shawn: Based on your usual blog posts and comments I had no idea you could be so charming. LOL.

    Things We Carried: Aw, sweet. Thank you!

    Maelstrom: You tricky thing, you. My husband has started catching on, too. I discovered him reading my blog the other day and was trying to remember if I'd written anything he'd freak out about. He made a comment the other day saying, "Yeah, now that the people who read your blog probably think I'm ... blah blah blah, whatever it was." He's on his way to having a complex.

    MJ: We do have fun. Mostly. Except for the part where we argue about dirty dishes.

    Princess Sparkle: I had no idea it was so complicated. That tired me out just reading it.

    Margo and Anon: I never noticed that about TV. I don't watch a lot of television, but do listen to it frequently while I'm doing something else. I will have to pay better attention!

    Mama Goose: Okay, saying "right" is going way too far.

    Shannon: LOL. Same here. I always feel stupid but have to do it. I say, "Hi, I'm calling you to just say bye." LOL. Oh boy.

  22. I do it and it started in NYC, where pretty much everyone does it. I always wait until all has been discusses and then "ok, bye." It takes too much time to hang up and some people will keep you talking forever.

  23. My dad was like that, when he finished a convo he'd hang up. My friends would call me all the time and say, Your dad hung up on me.

    One time he did it to me, I called him back and said, I wasn't finished! He said, oh sorry, what did you want to say? Then I hung up on him. LOL I was young in my 20s then.

  24. Truly funny.
    My mom and I always say "bye love ya" (my brother and her do it as well) and I've trained my other half and our son to do this to me as well. And if my mom and I get cut off somehow we do call each other back just to say it.

    My guys family can't ever seem to just say goodbye. It takes him forever to hang-up. How very annoying!

    Peace out...

  25. My fiance does that to me all the time and it makes me mad. It sometimes so happens that he hangs up just when I'm about to say something new. Weirdly, he doesn't even realise that he does it. When i call him back to tell him that he has just hung up without saying a proper goodbye (yet again!), he says, "When...? Did I...? I didn't know...."


  26. Hilarious post, awesome blog!
    Equally as aggravating to me, people that answer the phone, "What's up?" in a hurried fashion.

    Their sense of urgency makes me want to talk sloooower.


  27. This is a hilarious post. Being a transplanted Southerner (born in GA, live in Western NY), I LOVE your blog. You can guarantee that I will send my blog readers to the Front Porch.

    Shane McAfee

  28. hahahaahhaah my dad does that!
    gaaaaaaaaaah i hate it, we all tell him to say bye or something that means he's gonna hang up sometimes we're not even done talking and he hangs up.
    You're not alone.

  29. I never noticed it, but my mother said that I never say goodbye when I am leaving her home. Everyone else hugs and kisses her goodbye, but me. I even did this when she was at my house and ready to leave. Note: I am in my 40s. I am not southern, but a "Yankee", so I guess I am just rude or inconsiderate. I may just be a goofball who cannot remember that I didn't say goodbye! You could be an Anna Quindelin, as well as an Erma Bombeck.


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