How to Write Goodbye Letters

Four Methods:Sample LettersThe Quick-n-DirtyThe Thoughtful ReminiscenceWrite Your Letter

Goodbye! See ya! We've reached a crossroads, and I'm heading down a different path. Yes, it's time to part ways, and you want to be clear why that is, and you want to do it without the emotional give-and-take of a conversation. What to do? Write a goodbye letter! This article will give you some tips on how to do that.

Sample Letters

Sample Goodbye Letter to Friend

Sample Goodbye Letter to Boyfriend

Method 1
The Quick-n-Dirty

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    Be direct. It's goodbye, after all. Why make it any more complicated than it is. Does your boss really need an exposé of all he did wrong—or right? Does your ex-to-be really need to know how you feel about that thing they did that drove you crazy? Nope.
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    To the boss. Avoid being to friendly or informal, and don't air your laundry here. Just be factual, direct, and professional. If there are issues, the boss already knows what they are. If the boss is clueless, this is not the time to educate them.
    • "Dear Mr. Flitt, I am resigning my position at FlittWidgets effective immediately. You can reach me at the address on file should that be necessary. Sincerely, David Gonaway."
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    To the coworker. It's ok to be friendly here—you're probably talking to somebody you get along with. (Would you bother writing to the coworker you didn't get along with? Probably not).
    • "Bill, you were a blast to work with—we made a great team! Hope old Flitt promotes you into my spot. If you need to talk about things, you have my number. Give me a call. Best, Dave."
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    To the flame. Be respectful, be caring, but avoid terms of endearment. They'll either come off as disingenuous, or worse, cynical. End it how you want them to remember you.
    • Hi, Stephanie. I really enjoyed our time together, but it's time for us to move on. I wish you all the best, and I know you'll meet somebody who appreciates your deadly snake collection. Yours, Dave"

Method 2
The Thoughtful Reminiscence

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    Say what's on your mind. There will be many times when a simple "so long, see ya later" is not how you want to leave things. For those times, you will want to let them know not just that you're leaving their lives, but why, and what you think of the time you spent together.
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    Consider to whom your letter will be addressed. This will determine the basic thrust of what you want to say, and how best to say it.
    • For example, a goodbye letter to a lover will be dramatically different in content and tone than a goodbye letter to a parent or sibling.
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    Determine the mood of the letter. Are you bidding farewell to your recipient in a friendly way, or will this be your last retribution? This is a serious thing to consider before committing anything to writing. A poorly-executed goodbye letter can be confusing not only to the reader, but to the writer as well.
    • If you are leaving a professional situation, whether saying goodbye to your company or your colleagues, keep the tone friendly and professional.
    • If you are saying goodbye to real friends, it's likely this is not a permanent goodbye. Keep your tone light and optimistic, and talk about when you meet again.
    • If you are saying goodbye to a lover, speak honestly, and remember that while things may have changed, they were once close to you. Do not offer false hope, nor spiteful recriminations.

Method 3
Write Your Letter

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    Choose your medium. Will this be a hand-written letter, an email, or a text message? If you do choose to write your farewell letter on traditional paper, investing a couple dollars in some classic stationary is an elegant and thoughtful touch.
    • Sending a text message is perhaps the most ungracious medium possible. In some cases, this might be absolute perfection.
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    Create an outline. Contrary to the dramatic scenes in movies, letter writing should take a bit more effort than tearfully or angrily scratching some words onto paper. An outline is a great way to straighten your thoughts and organize exactly what you want to say before you begin writing. The last thing you want to do is to forget something important, or to ramble on aimlessly.
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    Begin writing. Do not be concerned if it takes several drafts; often, the best thought out letters do. Take the time to perfect the letter, as it may well be the last communication you ever have with the recipient. Also, take the time and effort to write neatly and legibly, and to spell everything correctly. This does not change the content of your letter, but it will certainly affect the recipient's final impression of you.
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    Take a break, and then reread your letter. Before you place your letter in the envelope, or hit the Send button, let it settle. Once it's no longer fresh in your mind, you will find it much easier to correct any mistakes, whether those are simple spelling and grammar errors, or in the tone and content of your delivery. Having a trusted friend look over your letter can be very helpful, too.
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    Load your envelope. Including some small flourishes to your final correspondence can be a thoughtful and classy way to say goodbye.
    • For professional farewells to colleagues, your new business card can a nice touch.
    • For friends and family, a special photograph of yourself or a shared memory is a welcome addition
    • If the goodbye letter is to a lover, some token of your affection or of your relationship could also be stirring.
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    Seal the envelope. Once you are completely content with your written, reread, and revised goodbye letter, fold it neatly and slip it into an with any pictures, cards, or other mementos. Seal it, stamp it, and drop it in the mailbox or press "send."


  • If you're planning on a handwritten letter, consider using a fountain pen rather than a ballpoint pen. The result will be much more elegant.
  • If the letter is to a lover, add a very light misting of your perfume or cologne to the paper. Giving them a last whiff of your personal fragrance can sear you into their mind forever.


  • Even if sending a spiteful letter, be the better person. Do not stoop too low or deliver degrading insults, or you risk appearing immature.
  • Remember that even though you may intend for a goodbye to be final, chance has a way of playing tricks on the best of us. Do not include anything that you may be embarrassed of in the future. A goodbye letter is not an appropriate time to finally tell your boyfriend that he has awful smelling feet, because there is always a chance you may run into him or date him again in the future.
  • Remember, anything you write to someone can be shown to anyone else. Do not include things you wouldn't be comfortable with others seeing Once you send the letter, it is the recipient's to keep and do with as they see fit.

Things You'll Need

  • Stationery.
  • A pen (preferably a fountain pen).
  • A dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Appropriate postage or active email account.
  • Perfume or cologne (the most important part)

Article Info

Categories: Letters