By staff writer Et Nola

In relationships, sometimes finding the right words is hard to do. It seems as if everything we say has been expressed before in some other relationship. I could personally agree with such a notion, but then again, I can only wonder if someone else ever had their girlfriend “express” that she had become a bisexual, chain-smoking, gypsy entangled in a love triangle involving a couple and a bottle-nosed dolphin named Sunshine. When I got the news, my mind flashed to the beginning of Old School, and I immediately knew how Mitch felt…only I wasn’t such a punk-bitch about it. I mean, we hadn't even slept together yet.

Though it almost goes without saying, that relationship was over. She let not one but two people come between us…two people and a dolphin. But such an experience is a very common occurrence in college relationships (minus the dolphin): it was a farewell. In that spirit, this article is about farewells—both their varieties, as well as some personal preferences (just because I like “sharing”…hmm, could that explain the dolphin?). There are many strategies to parting ways. Some are “classy” and others are what you might call “direct.” When it comes to our relationships, these words can mean life and death…or something more important, like the chance of having sex again.

Significant Other Goodbyes

Allow me to begin with the sweet surrender of…well, love. This type of farewell ranges from the not-so-peaceful “Emotional Jihad” to the diplomatic “(Tongue) Kiss Goodbye.” When it comes to relationships, you can go towards either extreme and find dissatisfaction. These just happen to be my personal favorite extremes.

Research shows that at the heart of any old flame lies a glowing, blue penis head.

1. The Emotional Jihad

Let’s just say love was indeed lost here. But luckily, the void left by the absence of a once blissful sentimentality is conveniently replaced by utter scorn and an urge to literally crush your partner’s very soul. When it comes to goodbyes, this is a fun one. Nothing says “I once loved you” like telling others how your "once-loved one" is a social miscreant only capable of finding joy in some combination of the bottom of a bottle and the crotch of a passerby. Few expressions can satiate the appetite for destruction like spreading the gospel of your ex’s alcoholism and sexual deviance to all that you know. Well, unless Hallmark makes a card. The problem with the Emotional Jihads: once you declare one, you’re off the Christmas list forever.

2. The End of Relationship Armistice AKA The (Tongue) Kiss Goodbye

Alert the press and call the UN: welcome to the ultimate in peace-keeping. This type of farewell is aimed at those looking for some combination of a) gathering their respective belongings from the other person’s place, b) leaving the relationship with pride intact, and c) reserving a chance at still being friends (because when we fail at one form of relationship, shouldn’t we be allowed to fail in another?). Like most peace treaties, both sides try to express their grievances in a diplomatic manner. Unlike most peace treaties, getting screwed by the other person is an ideal parting gift. The problem with ending your relationship with a bang: sometimes the "old flame" turns out to be an explosive rash of HPV—truly “the gift that keeps on being given.”

Verdict: I recommend something between the two just to avoid burning bridges and urinary tracts. Because hey, aren’t relationships about compromise anyway?

Generic Goodbyes

These goodbyes are applicable to those you meet and don't develop much emotional attachment to (but you don’t have to tell them that).

1. The “Season Finale”

This form of farewell can actually be associated with anything from friends (w/ or w/o benefits) and foes to mere acquaintances. The purpose of this goodbye is to let the other person know that it’s not over—whatever “it” is. Sure, maybe you won’t be wandering into their room drunk, horny, and slightly in need of a warm body…and cable television—but that shouldn't mean you can’t pause the relationship and push play in the fall, right? Even if you hate someone, doesn’t it feel incredible to embrace your contempt and let them (and the rest of the wedding reception/bar/or class) know that you hate their petty, vacuous existence? Let them know that it isn’t over, despite the fact that you won’t acknowledge they existed at all…for the next ten to twelve weeks.

2. The “Not-So Goodbye”

The awkward farewell when people just won’t go away. For instance, the accidental grocery store encounter. You make conversation and try to say goodbye, but just when you’ve broken free of the conversational tyranny of courtesy, they appear behind you at the cash register. Or perhaps, the end of year repeat encounter. They’re finished with classes. So are you. The problem: they are everywhere you go and utterly pointless to talk to. Your job, your favorite bar, your roommate’s bed…you are never safe from this lingering threat. You have nothing to talk about, nothing in common, and nothing to save you from having to acknowledge them. After every sighting, you hope they will go away, but just like herpes, they return…sometimes with friends and never with anything good, like snacks or antibacterial cream.

3. The Finger

Oh, such a timeless classic. Actually, it really isn’t so timeless anymore. The finger has steadily lost more and more power over the last 25 years…almost like frowning. It’s really quite sad if this farewell is your only course of action. You’re better off biting your thumb. Still, such simplicity can be appropriate. Dane Cook already covered the possible origin of the expression, so I’ll leave it at “suck my back.” The problem: It’s really lame. Seriously. A five-year-old gave me the finger. That’s why I slept with his mom. Guess that makes me the bigger man.

4. The Sentimental

Be it the hug n’ kiss combo or some sort of heartfelt note written in big crayons, finger-paint, and macaroni shells, this goodbye is the key to maintaining the facade of sentimentality. Yes, some people are sincere about such thoughts. Others just couldn’t find an ink pen. Regardless of the nature, this goodbye leaves an impression—either of naivety or semi-sappiness. When it comes to college, almost everyone endures this type of goodbye annually. Maybe it’s the kid you met first semester who faded off around winter break. Now, he’s coming back into your life to tell you that he has been secretly in love with you. Maybe it’s you finally admitting to your best friend of the opposite sex that they mean much more than that night you discovered tequila together. Maybe it’s your last chance to help separate an extremely hot virgin coed from her bra and panties. Just remember, it’s all about timing and thought…so try not to give them time to think about what it all actually means.

Since there are so many ways to say farewell, I encourage originality. Farewells should feel unique, even though we experience them time and time again. Take my ex-girlfriend’s, for instance. I mean, how many dolphins do YOU know named Sunshine?