Won’t You Be My Neighbor?Saying Goodbye

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?  A series exploring what it means to create community in Deer Park, or wherever you are.

Our kids usually go to bed at 7pm and it was already 8:30pm. We’ve trained them to be flexible, but we were almost as tired as they were. Why were we all still up? Our guests wouldn’t leave.

Have you ever had that happen? Where your family’s schedule is just different from another family’s? Or were the subtle hints you gave a bit too subtle?

So over the years we finally developed the perfect signal. It works nearly every time, is polite, and is unmistakable. Oh sure, it can still take people awhile to gather their things and actually make it out the door, but there’s a simple, two-step process to begin saying goodbye.

Step 1: Stand up

Step 2: Say, “Well, thanks for coming over!”

Or you could reverse those steps if standing up suddenly would be too awkward.

How Does That Work?

Here’s what you’re causing to happen when you do these two steps.

First, we all have an instinctive need to mirror someone’s body language. When you smile, they smile. When they laugh, you laugh. When you stand up, they stand up. And just by their body making a big movement, they’ll begin to ask internal questions like, “What time is it?” and “What are we doing next?”

Second, the mirror principle also applies to words. When you say, “Thanks for coming over!” their most likely response will be, “Thanks for having us!” and those two sentences said in that order are a pretty obvious signal that it’s time to go. I usually add the “Well…” to the beginning of my sentence to make it a bit more gentle.

Stand up and say, “Well, thanks for coming over!”

Caleb Stapp

One Big Don’t

If you’re the guest in someone’s home, there’s one thing I would caution you not to say. You’ll want to, but don’t. My wife and I hear it almost every time someone has been our guest, and while the sentiment is wonderful, there is so rarely any follow through that it is somewhat irritating to hear it. Ready?

Don’t say, “this was so great – we’ll have to invite you guys over next time!” If you mean that, then pull out your schedule and pick a day. Or wait until you get home, discuss it, and then give them a text or call a few days later. But what may feel right in the moment often just sets up expectations that lead to disappointment.

Last month we discussed the first ten minutes of welcoming someone to your home, and now you know the two steps we take to ease people out the door. I just have one more thing to say:
“Well, thanks for reading!” 🙂

Join the conversation by sharing your neighboring stories or asking your hospitality questions at facebook.com/DeerParkGazette with #neighboring. Won’t you be my neighbor?

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