Everyone from California to Maine says goodbye, but only us Center State people truly know that goodbye means nothing unless it's a true Midwestern adios. Whether its Thanksgiving at Grandma's house or just a chit chat with a long time friend, goodbye's are a special tradition here and they require several sections to properly portray your exit.
So, folks, without further ado, here are the nine stages of the true Midwestern Goodbye.
1. The "welp"
The beginning of every good ol' Midwestern goodbye starts with the stand and welp. This means you know you have to leave, but you're not getting out of there anytime soon. The welp only functions as a signal for others that you must begin the process of leaving.
2. The hugs
The next step in saying goodbye is the hugs. Everyone gets one, be it grandma, grandpa, your weird uncle, all the babies, even the dog gets a goodbye hug. This is by far the lengthy step, because a Midwestern hug is a whole different breed of long drawn out hug.
3. The walk to the door
Once everyone has gotten a goodbye squeeze, the walk begins. Every Midwesterner knows that no matter how many steps away the door is, it will take no less than 20 minutes to get there during the stages of a goodbye. You have to talk about how good the food was or when you plan to see each other next, no matter the subject, the walk to the door always takes a hot minute.
4. The doorway chat
Getting to the door is hard, but don't even get me started on the mid-doorway chat. This conversation has literally nothing to do with anything and most of the time involves a lot of belly laughs. This conversation can range anywhere from five minutes to 45 minutes. We really hope you went to the bathroom before you tried to leave because if not, you start the goodbye process from square one all over again.
5. The "we really should be going"
This simple statement signals that you must end the doorway conversation and begin the descent to the car.
6. The second round of hugs
Once the first hour has elapsed and the sun is setting, the second round of hugs begins. This time, there is less talking but significantly more back patting and side swaying. This time, the goal is solely to get out the door and you really have your eye on the prize... the doorknob.
7. The hand on the doorknob
Almost there, the knob is in hand, BUT WAIT, there's another conversation to go still, you can't leave until someone says "goodbye" in a weird voice and sparks more laughter or your dad and uncle starting doing that thing where they quote movies until they laugh so hard they cry. At this point, at least an hour has passed and you've moved 10 feet.
8. The slow open conversation
As you make your way down to the driveway, there is yet another conversation about whatever may arise. Who knows what time it is at this point, all you know is that it's been at least long enough to digest the huge Midwestern meal you just ate, and it's time for a snack.
9. The window wave
Once you've FINALLY made it out of the house and into your car, you can fully expect that Midwestern hospitality window wave as you pull away. The only correct response to your grandma's porch light flickering wave is a series of honks to let them know that you truly care about the traditional goodbye.