The Consequences of Not Saying Goodbye

It was 5:00 PM. I packed up my things at my desk, put my cardigan on, and headed back to the locker room where the time clock is. There were a bunch of guys from the warehouse in there conversing. I gave a small smile to the guys and punched out, not wanting to interrupt their conversation. I don’t really know any of them either.

As I was leaving, I heard a pause in the conversation, and then a sarcastic “bye!” I wondered if I should have said goodbye to them, but shrugged it off. They were talking and I didn’t want to interrupt. Then I heard in a derogatory, whisper, “Does she ever talk to anyone?”

“She doesn’t talk to me.”

“Why doesn’t she talk to anyone?”

I kept walking, not wanting to hear anything else that they might have to say about me. But all throughout my drive home, their words kept ringing through my head. Was it impolite of me not to say goodbye? Maybe I should have said goodbye? Have a good night? Why is it a big deal that I didn’t say bye? I don’t glower at them. I smiled. That’s like a goodbye, right?

I kept questioning my actions leading up to that moment and far before that. Was it weird that I didn’t talk to a lot of the warehouse guys? I work in the office and I only see them at the end of the day when I’m about to leave. I don’t talk frequently with a lot of the other people in the office except for our receptionist who is probably one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I talk just enough to do my job.

And then I started to get really mad. My job pays me to do just that – my job. They don’t pay me to socialize or make friends. If I don’t want to talk to other people – or hey, here’s a thought – painfully struggle through conversations with coworkers who are all thirty years older me and share hardly anything in common with me, why should I have to? Who are they to judge me? They know nothing about me or what I’m going through. I’ve only been there a month – if anything they should have introduced themselves!

I’m an introvert and I always have been. I am just naturally a quiet person. Unless I know the person really well, small talk is kind of difficult and awkward for me. I understand some people can naturally just talk and talk and talk, but I’m not like that. I shouldn’t have to feel like a freak just because of that.

The more I think about the situation, the more it annoys me. If they want to have a conversation with me, they can walk into the office and talk to me. Ask me how my weekend is and I’ll answer you. It’s not like I hide in a corner and don’t speak when spoken to.

Their words shouldn’t bother me. I don’t know what else was said after I left – though I imagine nothing nice – and even though there was nothing inherently mean about what they specifically said, it was how they said it. Their voices lowered just enough so they thought I couldn’t hear them. Snide.

So I can be mad and I can say that if they want to talk to me they can come in and talk to me, that I have no obligation or even reason to talk with them, but their words still sting and a day later I still can’t get them out of my head.

5 thoughts on “The Consequences of Not Saying Goodbye”

  1. I completely get this. For my internship its the same way, the other summer students make remarks that I keep to myself and do my work, but I am not here to make friends and socialize, I have that outside of work. You are not alone on this one. When I worked at the restaurant it was different because team work is really important, especially to run smoothly, but for my swimming teacher job and office job I keep to myself outside of dealing with a customer. Ignore them, it is not worth the stress. Hope the rest of your week goes better!

  2. I understand where you are coming from. I once was employed through a job agency, and I had one day factory work. Well, I knew absolutely no one there, and of course they all spoke in Spanish (I know some from taking it in high school), but they kept looking at me and I knew they were talking smack on me, but I ignored it as I was there to do my job.

    If those people wanted to say hi or wonder why you never say hi to them, it’s their fault. They should say hi to you. You shouldn’t let their ignorance get the better of you. It’s easy to say, hard to do. But try not to let them ruin your day. :).

  3. I understand where you’re coming from, but it doesn’t hurt to say hi or say how are you, sometimes. I know we get paid to do our jobs, but it’s nice to add some humanity to the whole jobs and working aspect of it. I too, am an introvert but when I’m around people I transform and become very outgoing and while you don’t have to change radically, like me, saying hi at least a few times can be very beneficial. I know how hard it is to make lasting friendships, but making acquaintances with someone, isn’t too bad.

    I made promises to myself that I would leave a mark on people’s life, no matter how small or it’s that little hi, for I know a small amount of kindness go a long way. Sometimes people have a hard time to say hi or goodbye and I understand that, don’t be afraid to do that. It’s okay to socialize! We are human beings after all, and we need that contact somehow. Regardless, don’t let your job take over you, because honestly, you’re a beautiful person with so much to love from, and sharing some of that will brighten anyone’s day, including your own.

  4. I’m so sorry you had to experience this. I understand where you’re coming from. There are days when I am NOT a people person, and I tend to grunt when I don’t feel like talking, but I still usually say hi, at least. Maybe try initiating a hi once in a while? Not all the time, but just a random, “Good morning” and walk on by, haha! That’s what I usually do with a group of people since I don’t want to repeat the greeting five times or something.

  5. I think that was rude of them to say things about you like that. I usually think a smile is enough, especially if you don’t want to interrupt their conversation. Plus, like you said, if they want to have a conversation with you, they should start one. It’s not like you brushed them off or anything. I hope it’s still not bothering you! Rude people like that aren’t worth it!

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