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How Do You Say Goodbye to a Coworker?

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How Do You Say Goodbye to a Coworker
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In today's Ask a Teacher, we answer a question about saying goodbye. Our reader, Hideki, works at a high school in Japan with many international coworkers. He writes:


"After having a short conversation with them … there are many times l come up with nothing to say at the end of the conversation." Hideki notes that he will see his coworkers later in the day at times, as in the first two examples below.

Here are the times when Hideki wants to say goodbye:

  1. When leaving a coworker in the morning
  2. When leaving a coworker in the middle of the day
  3. When leaving a coworker as you exit the workplace for the day

Answer: Dear Hideki, I lived in Japan, so I understand why you have this question. In your language, there are specific expressions people always use for such times. In English, though, there are several different things we can say when leaving someone. You guessed at some of them in your email:

You said, "Maybe I should have said, 'Have a good one,' 'Nice talking to you,' or 'Enjoy your time off.'"

Situation 1

Let's look at situation 1: You are leaving a coworker, but you will see him or her at lunch time.

In a school, someone may say to a teacher, "Have a good class," or "See you after class." If you are not speaking to a teacher, you can say, “See you at lunch,” “See you a little later,” or simply, “Later.”

Situation 2

In situation 2, you had lunch with a coworker and are leaving for the afternoon. Now you can say, “Have a good afternoon.” You can also say “Have a good one.” That is the same as telling someone to have a good day, afternoon or evening.

Situation 3

Let’s look at situation 3, where you are leaving for the evening or weekend. On Fridays, you can always say, “Have a good weekend.” On any other workday, you can say, “Good night” or “See you tomorrow.”

There is one more time when you may want to say something. When you leave a meeting, you can say to others, "See you later."

Your suggestion, "Nice talking to you" is more common when you don’t talk to someone every day. If you called a friend, for example, whom you have not seen for months, this would be a good way to close the conversation.

"Enjoy your time off" is something we often say to people who are taking days off from work for vacation. This would not be said every day.

And, finally, in any work situation, you can also just say, “Bye!”

And that’s ask a teacher!

I’m Jill Robbins. See you later!

Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Try to use some of the expressions in this practice.

Write a "goodbye" expression for each of these situations.

  1. You are leaving work on the day before the weekend.
  2. You are leaving work in the evening after a workday.
  3. You are leaving a meeting in the middle of the day.

(Write your answers in the Comments section)


Words in This Story

coworker - n. a person who works at the place where you work; someone you work with

exit - v. to go out of a place or situation

specific - adj.relating to a particular individual or situation

conversation – n. an informal talk involving two people or a small group of people

guess - v. to suppose or think

Do you have a question for the teacher? Write to us in the Comments Section.