Saying goodbye is important

Properly ending chapters in your life is important for how you feel and move on to the next phase in life.

This post is also available in Dutch.

After three years of blogging for Donders Wonders, I will soon have to say goodbye. What is the best way to do this? Psychological research shows that properly ending events and chapters in your life is important for how you feel and move on to the next phase in life.

Closure feels good

It is important to feel that you have rounded off events or phases of your life well, this feeling is also called closure. When people feel like they got closure, they look back at such arguments or relationships more positively, less emotionally, and with less regret. People also think less about events when they have a sense of closure: if something has ended properly, you can also let it go in your mind.

Every end is a new beginning

Closure is also important for how easily you move on to the next stage. If people positively ended a period of their life (such as their secondary school years), they also felt it was easier to move on to the next phase (such as working or studying). And not only our feelings but also our behaviors show that closure makes it easier for us to get on with our lives. In an experiment, people were instructed to get to know a stranger on the phone in ten minutes. Half of the people received no closure because their conversation was abruptly cut off after ten minutes. The other half first received a warning: “You have two minutes left, try to close the conversation properly”. This allowed those participants to bring the conversation to a successful conclusion. After the conversation, the participants did the so-called Stroop task, in which you must name the color of a word. This becomes difficult if, for example, the word “red” is written in blue. The people who could close the conversation well were faster in this task: a sign that you are less likely to still be occupied with the previous conversation after you got no closure!

What do people do when it is time to say goodbye?

When people know that an end or a farewell is approaching, do they adjust their behavior to ensure that they get closure? While people generally like new things (visiting new places, tasting new foods), we actually go back to things that are familiar and meaningful to us when the end of a period approaches. Before we start a new diet on Monday, we would rather eat our homemade favorite dessert on Sunday evening than something we don’t know. That’s why I’m not writing an experimental blog in rhyme form this time, but instead one in my familiar style 🙂

Hopefully, this farewell blog will help me to get a sense of closure about my time at DondersWonders! And if you are nearing the end of a certain phase in your life, try to consciously say goodbye – it will do you good!


Author: Marlijn ter Bekke
Buddy: Maartje Koot
Editor: Wessel Hieselaar
Translation: Helena Olraun
Editor translation: Siddharth Chaturvedi

Image by Genine Alyssa Pedreno-Andrada via Pexels

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