I grew up in Illinois and Kansas, so I feel this deep in my bones. If nothing else, Midwesterners are polite. Sometimes to a fault.

But they, that’s what’s makes the Midwest a great place to live. If you’re from the coasts, this list might not feel super familiar, but anyone from all those wonderful places in between will feel right at home.

Let’s take a look at the 9 steps of saying ‘goodbye’ that folks in the Midwest practice on a daily basis.

1. Welp…

Man posing in shirt and tie

Step 1: the “welp.” This is the beginning of the process and consists of standing up and saying “welp.” It’s a subtle but well-understood cue that saying goodbye has begun. Welp…

2. Hugs.

Step 2 is when you break out the hugs. Grandma, Grandpa, cousins, friends, in-laws, etc. all get a hug…but we still have 7 more steps to go, so don’t get ahead of yourself.

3. The walk to the door.

Home for the Holidays

The hugs are done, and now it’s time to start making your way to the front door, which you will leave from…eventually. But the journey to that door will probably take at least 20 minutes as new conversations will pop up about all subjects big and small. This is also when you’ll begin to talk about the next time you’ll see everyone.

4. The chat in the doorway.

You’ve made it to the door, but there’s still no escape. The conversations at the doorway can last anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes and sometimes longer, depending on who is present. If Aunt Tillie is there, it might be a very long night…

5. “We really need to get going.”


It’s a simple statement that everyone should pick up on, but you’re still not going anywhere. So settle in for some more action…

6. Hugs, volume 2.

Since you don’t know when you’ll see these people again, the second round of hugs, complete with more swaying, back-slapping, and everyone saying “it was so good to see you!” is now in motion. At this point, you’re starting to feel desperate and you know you have to get to that doorknob sooner than later.

7. Get your hand on the doorknob.

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This is crucial. You need to physically get your hand on that doorknob to let everyone know that you mean business and that you intend to get the hell out of that house. You’ve only moved a few feet…but you’re still not done with that long goodbye.

8. The driveway conversation.

You’re making your way toward your car, but yet another conversation appears out of nowhere. So close! You grin and bear it and slowly inch your way toward your vehicle as Uncle Billy once again brings up the great Thanksgiving family fight of 1977. Just keeping walking and being polite.

9. The wave from the window.


You finally made it to your car. As you drive away, the final piece of this long, drawn-out experience is everyone in the house waving at you from the window. You’re thoroughly exhausted but you’re now home free. The last thing you’re required to do is wave back to everyone and honk the horn a few times. You’re free! It’s over!

There you have it! If you live in the Midwest, expect a lot of these over the holidays.

Good luck!