Deaf Culture’s Never Ending Goodbye

When you are chatting and are ready to leave, you make a simple gesture of saying goodbye.

That lasts, what? 5 seconds? Even in a party, you still make a brief goodbye, perhaps lasting up to 10-15 seconds.

However, in the Deaf world, the briefest good-bye may last 10-15 minutes. 🤯

Yes, you read that right – MINUTES, not seconds! Even worse, in party or gathering, it’d last up to 1 hour, more or less. Yep, again you read that right – HOUR, not seconds.

You may have wonder what the heck takes us Deafies so long to say the simple word. Let’s talk about it! Read till the end for a wonderful story told by my Deaf professor from college many years ago.

Deaf Goodbye vs. Hearing Goodbye

Generally, hearing people hear information constantly so they don’t feel the need to always chat and exchange information for long periods of time.

For hearing people, their brains are constantly being overloaded with information coming in via their ears. So they need some down time to process the information.

Deaf people do not have that, hence the strong desire to connect with their own people.

Most Deaf people don’t interact with their own people daily like hearing people do with friends, family and strangers (ex. customers, clients, etc). When they interact with their own people, they can let their hair down because they don’t have to deal with the mentally, physically and emotionally draining struggles they face daily communicating with hearing people.

Because of the infrequent interactions with their own people, they spend a lot more time chatting with other Deaf people. This is sometimes different for Deaf people who works with the Deaf daily (ex. teachers, dorm counselors, business people, etc).  Those people are able to communicate without barriers more often, so they feel less of a need to chat for long periods of times at Deaf parties or events.

This funny story is a classic example of the Deaf goodbye in action.

Deaf Culture’s “The Good-Bye Story”

My mother, who’s Deaf, loves parties and meeting with friends. One time, at her friends’ party, she was having so much fun, chatting with everyone she knew. Sometimes later in the evening, while she was sitting on the couch and chatting with some friends, she suddenly remembered something and asked her friends for the time. They told her the time.

She said, “Oh, no! I have to leave. I have work early in the morning! So let’s save our chat for another time. It was great chatting and seeing you!”

Her friends said the same thing about good chat and seeing her, too. She got up and walked from the couch toward the dining room area.

That is called “goodbye couch”.

In the dining room area, she was informing her friends that she has to leave ‘because of working early the next day. She and her friends were chatting for a few minutes, delaying her departure. Finally, she was able to leave the dining room.

That is called “goodbye dining room”.

From the dining room, she entered the kitchen, where most Deafies congregate (one of two most popular rooms in the house because of the brightest lighting) to inform more friends that she was leaving.  

Of course, those friends, who haven’t had the chance to talk to her all evening, would grab the opportunity to catch up. She stayed for a bit longer to chat with those people. Finally, she completed her goodbye part there and was leaving the kitchen to enter the hallway.

That is called “good-bye kitchen”.

As soon as she entered the hallway, she saw some more friends she hasn’t talked to yet and other friends she needed to inform that she was leaving. So she stayed a bit longer. When she was done and putting on her coat, ready to go through the front door. A friend or two suddenly appeared, stopping her, needing something from her. A few more minutes were added.

Finally, she was ready to go through the front door.

That is called “good-bye hallway”.  

As she was going through the front door, she forgot her husband and had to get back inside to find him. As she was going through the rooms, searching for him, she had to stop to say a few words to some friends, who still didn’t know she was leaving and wanted to say something.  

She finally found her husband, who was in the den, watching some sports on TV with his friends. She informed him and he got up to tell his friends he had to go. His friends said goodbye and said some things to his wife since they had not chatted with her all evening either. So the departure was delayed a bit longer. Finally, the couple started to leave the den room for the hallway.

That is called “goodbye den”.

Going down the porch stairs, they were stopped by friends, who had just arrived. They chatted for a few minutes before saying goodbyes.

That is called “good-bye porch stairs”.

The couple got in the car and as they pulled out, they were stopped by a friend, coming out of the house, waving frantically. Arriving at the rolled down window of the drivers, the couple were reminded of their friend’s upcoming gathering. They said their goodbyes.

That is called “goodbye pulled out car”.

As the couples’ car finished making the reversed drive, the driver flashed their headlights a few times for people, who were outside standing and chatting.

That is called “goodbye headlights”.

The car left. Soon, people were leaving for home as well, making long goodbyes everywhere inside and outside.

Finally, the host and hostess of the party were the only ones left. The wife went upstairs for bed and the husband went around in the house to lock the doors and turn off the lights. When he went upstairs and into his bedroom, he saw one window was open and he went to shut it.

Suddenly, water sprayed him and after he wiped it off his face and looked out to find out who caused it. It was his friend, standing on the front yard, signing, “Good night and goodbye!”

A Funny Comic Demonstration of Deaf Goodbye

When you plan to go to a Deaf or signing party, make sure to add extra time for goodbyes or you’ll be in big trouble for disappointing those who haven’t had the chance to chat with you!

Here’s the funny comic below:

Greg and Tom could’ve just nicely asked Deafies to leave. But no, they chose to not. Of course, the Deafies outsmarted Greg and Tom.

Panel 1: Greg was annoyed. He complained to Tom, “Don’t these deaf people know that restaurant had closed 5 minutes ago?!” Tom shrugged, “Boss, these hearing impaired individuals had paid the bills but they won’t stop chatting.” In background, Alexis and her two deaf friends (one man and one woman) were chatting.  Panel 2: Greg rubbed his chin and said, “Hmm… How can I get them to leave?” Cam interrupted, “Can I go home?”  Panel 3: Greg yelled at Tom, “Shaddup! I’m thinking!” Tom jumped back.  Panel 4: Greg continued rubbing his chin, deep in thought.  Panel 5: Greg exclaimed, “I’VE GOT AN IDEA!” Tom whistled, “Ooh! What is it?”  Panel 6: Greg turned around and said, “You’ll see, Tom! You’ll see how evilly genius your boss is!” and cackled. Tom cheered, “Yay!”  Panel 7: A zoom up of light switch. Greg is turning off the light. He cackled.  Panel 8: It was pitch black in the restaurant. Greg shouted, “TAKE THAT, DEAF PEOPLE! MWAHAHAHA!” Deaf people exclaimed.  Panel 9: There’s rustling coming from deaf people. Greg was puzzled.  Panel 10: Deaf people turned on lights on their phones and shined light on each other. Greg swore, “&@#$! They’ve foiled my evil plan!” Alexis and her friends smiled and said, “Nice try, Greg!”

Hope you enjoyed this post and learnt something new!

Until next time, ta ta! 😄🤟🏻

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