Good-bye to the Midwest Goodbye

An Opinion Editor’s Absolute Disdain for Wasting Time

Although I didn’t like the Midwest when I moved here, it has slowly but surely been worming its way into my heart. Cheese curds, plains, farming, are all things I have associated with the Midwest that I have come to see the value in. I even sat in a combine recently! Who knows, maybe I will become a farm girl after all. 

However, that being said, there are some things from the Midwest that I have NOT grown to appreciate. First of all, the way some of you guys drive is just insane to me. A red light does not mean it’s your turn to go left. Do not collect 200, do not pass go. 

You’re not as bad as the south, so I’ll give you that. The worst driving I have ever seen has been in Texas. Whoever made up the phrase “drive the Texas way, friendly”, has never been to Texas and has never driven in Texas. 

However if you know me in person at all, you would know that I can not stand “beating around the bush” or indirect conversation of really any kind. This is my hate letter to the Midwest goodbye. 

I’ll give an example, in case you somehow don’t know what a Midwest goodbye is. 

Defining the Midwest Goodbye

When I was a kid my mom would have their best friends over and I would play with my “cousins” down stairs in my room while the adults drank beer and watched WWE or whatever. When Uncle Matt would come downstairs and tell us that it was time to clean up, and that they would be leaving soon, us kids knew we had at least another hour to keep playing before they would actually leave. As a kid, I loved it. As an adult, I hate it. 

It should also be noted that the Midwest goodbye is traditionally initiated when you slap both knees simultaneously and say “Whelp, I guess I better get going then” and then you will proceed to  not get going at all and talk for another fifteen minutes to an hour. However, the Midwest goodbye can take longer than an hour. If you’re really really close with the people you’re visiting/hanging out with, you may not even leave that day. 

The Problem 

I don’t know about you all, but college has been a very busy season of life for me. I work, I have school (duh), I am involved with two different campus organizations, church at least twice a week, on top of managing my interpersonal relationships and taking care of my physical health. It’s a lot. 

As a result, my schedule is pretty structured, especially during the week. With all the things I have on my plate, I have to schedule things in my phone calendar or I would never be able to make it to all my classes, meetings, work shifts, etc. 

This directly relates to why I hate the Midwest goodbye so much. I don’t have time to be sitting around talking about the weather when there are other things in my calendar and things on my to-do list that need to be completed. If I am gonna take the time out of my schedule to hang out with someone, then lets be intentional and having meaningful conversations. In my experience, the Midwest goodbye is not often a heart to heart. 

I know it’s just a cultural thing that people in the Midwest have, but personally I have some hurry. I also think this dislike of the Midwest goodbye is further informed by my hatred of small talk. I don’t care to talk about the weather, or what sports team is playing, or whatever else. I worked in customer service for several years and I just feel like I have had enough small talk about the weather to last me a lifetime. If you have a question for me, just ask. If you have feedback you want to give me, or something  I should improve upon, then just spare us both the awkwardness of the conversation, say your peace and move on. 

 I don’t want to talk just for talking’s sake. I want to be intentional about the things we say and I want to be considerate of the time that I am taking up out of other peoples day. This life is very short and I don’t want to spend it in the doorway of someones home talking about if this is finally the Viking’s season. 

The Solution

So, if like me you hate the Midwestern good-bye, what can you do? 

If your going somewhere with someone, drive separately. That way if  you have another thing you need to get to by a certain time, they can stay and you can go wherever you need to go without rushing the person you have gone with. 

Second, let someone know when your next thing is, you can always drop a “I have a doctor’s appointment at 3 in conversation to help the person know what you’re up too and when you may have to leave. 

Third, don’t be afraid to say “I have to get going now” and then actually get going. I know it’s hard but leaving at the sime you said you were going to isn’t rude, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not having fun with the person you’re with. It just means your schedule is full and you gotta get your next appointment. 


Yes, the long goodbye is common around here but that doesn’t mean we have to keep it that way. There is something to be said about taking your time and smelling the roses, but I don’t think college is the season of life where I will be stopping to smell anything. Especially with finals season on the horizon, I am just trying to survive the rest of the season. I dont know about y’all but I can’t even really enjoy the time I am spending with someone if I am thinking about all the other things I need to be doing. 

So be free from this social obligation and practice the Irish goodbye, which is when by the time anyone notices your not at the party anymore, your already been home for half an hour. You don’t even have to say goodbye! You can just leave. May not work for friend hangouts, or intimate gatherings, but it does work for large events and parties so do with that what you will.

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