Friday, June 12, 2015

Letter Writing: Good Bye Letters

As a teacher, when the school year ends, it is invariably a season of retirements; my own father retired from his position as a college professor this year as well. Other changes can happen too- people get new jobs, move to new cities, graduate, move on. No matter what your situation, in those times you may be called upon to write a Good Bye Letter.

goodbye
Photo Credit: Woodley Wonder Works

Reasons for writing a Good Bye Letter are many, and those circumstances will dictate both your audience, and the tone you need to take. If you are leaving a job, you are likely writing to your boss and/or coworkers. No matter whether you are leaving on a good note or not, keep your format a formal business letter, and make sure the tone stays positive. If you are writing to a friend because, say, you are moving, a friendly letter is more appropriate. If you are leaving a place of work, keep the letter brief. Should you be leaving in less than ideal circumstances, the letter is not the place to air grievances. You may, however, want to thank people for the opportunities you had, whether material or learning ones. Feel free to reminiscence, briefly, on the relationships you made too. For a letter to to a friend or acquaintance, you may make the correspondence longer, and reflect more on the relationships developed. In any circumstance, if you want to be contacted by the person reading your letter, feel free to leave contact information- or better yet, allude to a time or place to meet. It doesn't have to be specific, but it let's the reader know you do intend to continue the acquaintance. You can end by wishing others well on their future endeavors.

A Good Bye letter to someone you are ending a relationship with necessarily differs from other good bye letters. It should be said, that it is always best to avoid the infamous "Dear John" letters where possible, and go for an in-person meeting, or, failing that, a phone call, before resorting to the much slower form of communication that is a letter. If a letter is indeed the path you feel is best to take, be aware you will need to show extra sensitivity to the letter's recipient and that, how (or even if) you wish to meet again may be a more complicated question than if you wrote to say good bye to another. For letters to now-former lovers, avoid endearments or reminiscing about specific memories. Also, this too is not a time to air grudges or rehash old fights. Most of the time, it is unnecessary to delve into why you are ending the relationship too much; the other person is most likely aware of the issues in the relationship. If the ending of the relationship has truly not been something discussed, or if the reason seems unclear, you may need to briefly state why, for the other person's own understanding and- as the rom-coms would put it- sense of closure. However, such ends are very rarely simple, or clean. Do not expect total understanding for the other person, but remember that keeping your tone on the more polite and formal side, while still being very clear as to your intentions to severe the relationship, helps to keep misunderstandings to a minimum. If you would like to continue the relationship in a changed form (i.e. "staying friends"), you may let that be known, but allow the other to have control over when any future meeting may or may not take place. If you do not want continued contact, say that too, in very brief terms. Regardless of what sort of contact you do or do not want with the other person, if there are adult mutual acquaintances, do not involve them in this letter; now is not the time to stake an exclusive claim on them, their time and sympathy.

For any Good Bye Letter, benediction of "sincerely" or, on some cases, "thank you" are the most appropriate.

Good byes are always hard, but giving a letter can help ease the way, and aid in keeping connected with those you want to see again. And, remember, every "good bye" can be a "hello" to the new journey ahead.



Further Reading:
7 Tips for Writing Good Bye Letters from Write Express
How to Write Good Bye to a Friend by Christina Maddox
How to Write Good Bye Letters


LETTER WRITING SERIES: THANK YOU NOTES | PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE | LOVE LETTERS | SYMPATHY LETTERS | CONGRATULATORY LETTERS | POSTCARDS | LETTERS OF APPRECIATION | CORRESPONDENCE CHESS | GET WELL CARDS | Letters to Sick Children | INVITATIONS | HOLIDAY LETTERS | LETTERS TO SANTA| LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Circle Letters | LETTERS TO POLITICIANS | Writing to Advice Columns | The Letter Writing Game | PENPAL LETTERS | LETTER OF COMPLAINT | COVER LETTERS | LETTERS TO PRISONERS | OPEN LETTERS | letters to future yourself | Letters of Apology | "open when" letters | Fan Mail | Good Bye Letter |

1 comment:

  1. These are so hard to write, but I love your advice :)

    ReplyDelete

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