Breaking Down The Unspoken Art of the “Michigan Goodbye”
Saying goodbye or leaving a loved one's house in Michigan is a delicate dance, one that requires perfect timing, probably something in your hands, and an excuse of why you are leaving...even if you don't need one.
There have been viral tweets, jokes, and other lore written about this specific style of saying goodbye, but we rarely acknowledge when we experience it...until we don't.
What is a Michigan Goodbye?
You know when you go to leave either a gathering or just a simple meet-up with loved ones, could be a party, a dinner, etc? You go to leave but you don't know how to not make it awkward...so you make it as awkward as possible...then spend 20 minutes trying to make it less awkward.
It looks a bit like smacking your knees, standing up and stretching, whatever it is to signify that you are about to say "welp, I should probably get going."
Maybe the people around you will protest you leaving or they too will say "yeah, I'm getting pretty tired too." Either way, they will follow you as you gather anything you may have brought with you and in that time, another conversation will start.
From there, you will stand there with your hands full as you both continue your conversation as you ever-so-slowly make your way to your exit.
You then make (sometimes empty) promises to get together again soon, thank them for inviting you over, and about 20 minutes from when you initially said it was time to go, you are on your way.
Why is it Called a "Michigan Goodbye"?
Yes, it probably could be expanded across the entire Midwest, but it still stands, people in other areas don't really use this form of an exit strategy.
This was evidenced last night when my cousin, born and raised in Texas, was in town for the weekend and stopped by to see our new house and go to dinner.
We got back from the brewery and before we even went into the house, he said "I'm gonna head out", we all exchanged hugs, talked briefly about the next time we'll see each other, exchanged thank-yous and to the car he went. In total it took MAYBE five minutes.
As we got into the house, I realized there it was right in front of me, an obvious difference between a "Michigan Goodbye" and everywhere else!
The "Michigan Goobye" is the Best
All in all, while it is time consuming, it's my favorite way to end a night, social engagement, etc.
It means you are taking that extra few last minutes together for the time being to let the other person or people know you care about them. That you're not in any kind of rush to leave their company, reassure them you enjoyed yourself, and end the event on a high note.
This is not to say other ways of leaving are not doing that, but the Michigan way just takes it that extra little step and it means the world.
This is also not to say that I have never been one to pull my other favorite kind of goodbye, known as the "Irish Exit"...more on that one later!
For now, though, the Michigan way is the best way.