I think there is nothing more terrible in this world than waiting. It creates expectations; it builds up fantasies; it puts you on pause. While consciously choosing to wait you pretty much stop yourself from doing anything else. Because what if they call? What if they show up? What-if-they-change-their-mind-and-you-hurried-up-and-moved-on-and-now-that-chance-is-gone-and-how-are-you-supposed-to-live-with-that?
There is a reason why one of the very first things we learn as social beings is say hello and goodbye. We are rational creatures. We understand and work best when there is a timeline, when we know that we start at A and arrive at B. We like that. It gives us a false illusion of stability.
When we enter someone’s life we open something. A story starts being written. We say hi. Wouldn’t it be nice to also acknowledge them when we leave? We are good with openings. We are great even. But when it comes to closure, not so.
When someone exists you life and forgets to say goodbye you are left waiting, regardless if you are logical enough to accept that they are gone. There is always a what if. Always a question unanswered. Most of the time you just want to know if it’s over. Are they coming back? Can I move on? You all know you don’t need anyone’s permission to move on (or generally do anything) and you shouldn’t wait for it, but you do it regardless, because, although you know you are in charge of your own actions, you are also aware those actions have consequences outside of your control that sooner or later you’ll have to deal with. You need a goodbye.
But then, when we are on the other side, when we are the ones leaving, we forget the neurotic stage of waiting and exit the stage without so much as a bow. We don’t want to deal with it. We are over it. We want something else. I know that it is true we don’t always get what we want (isn’t that the point of this whole article?) but we sure need to give answers. The other half of that what-ever needs them. So please give them that. Say goodbye.
Because there were two playing the game. You said hello. You were there for the laughs. You were there maybe for some cries too. Don’t let them think that that hello wasn’t real. And worst of all, don’t let them think that just because no one said it, it’s not over now. Not if for you it is. It’s cruel and no matter how many eye-rolls you might stage when you see another missed call from them, or wonder out loud in front of your friends why aren’t they getting the message, the pathetic one of the two is you. It doesn’t matter what they did to make you want to leave. Those are their demons to deal with. It doesn’t mater that they changed, they cheated, they lied or they simply faded away. Because at some point in your life that person you laugh at right now was someone of value to you. You spent time and energy and maybe even a few heartfelt moments with them. So trying to make them small and insignificant doesn’t say anything about them but quite a lot about you. And it will haunt you. Because at some point in your life you will be left hanging. You will wonder and call, and text. You.will.wait.
So answer that text. Call back. Say Yes. Say No. Because using indifference to send a message does one thing and one thing only: it hurts people. If that’s your purpose, if you want to hurt them, to make them wait maybe you should face the mirror and ask yourself why are you playing with a goodbye you don’t want to deliver. Because knowingly acting in such way that grantees you will be on someone’s mind means you either want them but feel it necessary to test/play with them first or that you are a downright asshole. But if you are ignoring them because you are stressed, bored, have moved on, don’t feel it or simply don’t have time for them in your life right now, do them and yourself a service and tell them. It’s not easy. It sure ain’t fun. You get to be the bad guy. You get to hear the screams and cries. Maybe you even get lucky and hear some very on the point insults. Letting people down is not easy. It’s not easy for them and it’s not easy for us, the ones doing it.
kind bad guy instead. It’s worth it.
It’s ok if you can’t always do it. You need that lesson. You need to see that ugly part of yourself too. But please try be the bad guy when you decide something is over. There are very few cases when leaving and not saying goodbye makes sense. Be the bad guy in their eyes now and not yours later. Say goodbye now so you can say hello without remorse later. So they can say hello without fear later. And maybe, if you’re lucky enough, to meet someone to whom you’ll never want to say goodbye to.