While a polite greeting always makes a great first impression to someone you meet, a proper way to end a conversation will help your friendship go a long way. In China, mastering casual and formal ways to say goodbye in Chinese is considered an essential part of polite conversation. To speak Chinese like a pro, you have to understand various ways of saying goodbye in different situations. First, let’s start with the most commonly used phrases.
Casual Ways to Say Goodbye in Chinese
1. 拜拜 [bāi bāi]: Byebye
Used between close friends; the most common colloquial expression.
2. 再见 [zài jiàn]: Goodbye
Textbook version of saying goodbye; it is used in real life, but not that common compared to 拜拜. It is more polite, often used between teachers and students, or between elder and younger relatives:
老师再见！ [lǎo shī zài jiàn] Goodbye teacher!
同学们再见！ [tóng xué men zài jiàn] Goodbye students!
叔叔阿姨再见！ [shū shu āyí zài jiàn] Goodbye uncle and aunt!
3. 我准备走了 [wǒ zhǔn bèi zǒu le]: I’m leaving;
Some equivalent ways of 走了: 撤了 [chè le]/ 溜了 [liū le]
Often used when getting off work, or when a party is over. Sometimes 啊 is added at the end of the sentence to express different emotions depending on the situation. Most of the time it is added to make the tones less harsh, but sometimes it can be used to express an impatient and urgent mood.
[Nǐ men jì xù wán, wǒ chè la]
You guys have fun, I’ll be going.
[Nǐ men zěn me hái méi zhǔn bèi hǎo, wǒ zhǔn bèi zǒu la]
Why haven’t you get ready? We’re leaving!
4. 明天见 [míng tiān jiàn]: see you tomorrow
- 下周见 [xià zhōu jiàn] see you next week
- 改天见 [gǎi tiān jiàn] see you another day
- 下次见 [xià cì jiàn] see you next time
- 回见 [huí jiàn]，回头见[huítóu jiàn] see you around
Usually, the more you are looking forward to the next meeting, the more likely you are to put a specific date or time before 见. Simple, isn’t it?
5. 再联系 [zài lián xì]: stay in touch
我有点忙。 先走一步， 再联系！
[wǒ yǒu diǎn máng. xiān zǒu yī bù, zài lián xì]
I am busy, I have to go, stay in touch!
Formal Ways to Say Goodbye in Chinese
There is a lot of information and emotion in a simple goodbye. Chinese people are too shy to say they will miss you, but a formal farewell always stands that they care about you a lot.
1. 告别 [gào bié]: Farewell
告别聚会 [gào bié jù huì]、欢送会 [huān sòng huì]: A farewell party
2. 后会有期 [hòu huì yǒu qī]: See you again in the near future:
[jīn tiān jiù yào zhèng shì hé nǐ gào bié le, hòu huì yǒu qī]
Today is the day we have to say goodbye, hope to see you again in the near future.
You may encounter this when a friend that you really cherished has to move to another city. Or after you have established a friendship with a business partner, the project was completed and you won’t see each other very often anymore.
3. 送行 [sòng xíng]: To see someone off:
[wǒ fù mǔ zài jī chǎng gěi wǒ sòng xíng]
My parents saw me off at the airport.
[Wǒ gěi nǐ sòng xíng]
I will see you off
送行 [sòngxíng] has a twin brother: 送别, but this one is more poetic. A famous Chinese song Bidding Farewell (《送别》) adds a melancholy flavor to this word.
So, besides the meaning of seeing someone off, it can also describe saying goodbye to a certain period of time.
e.g. 送别秋天 [sòng bié qiū tiān]: farewell autumn.
4. 一路顺风 [yī lù shùn fēng]/一路平安 [yī lù píng’ān]: Safe trip
A common way to express your good wishes to your friends when you see them off. Well, normally, people will not say 一路顺风 to someone who is taking the plane for superstition reason, since 顺风 means may you travel in the same direction with the wind. Play it safe by saying 一路平安 instead!
5. 告辞 [gào cí]/失陪 [shī péi]: Pardon, I will take my leave
It is a very formal way of taking leave which is a sign that you know some Chinese business etiquette.
[wǒ xū yào jiē gè diàn huà, shī péi yī xià]
Excuse me, I need to take a phone call.
[jiā li yǒu jí shì, xiān gào cí le]
Something urgent came up at home, I’ll take my leave.
6. 慢走 [màn zǒu]: Take care
Often paired with 下次再来 [xià cì zài lái]/欢迎下次光临 [huān yíng xià cì guāng lín]: Have a nice day!
You probably have heard this expression when you were leaving a restaurant or finish visiting somebody’s home:
[màn zǒu a, wǒ jiù bù sòng nǐ le]
Take care, I won’t see you off.
[màn zǒu,, huān yíng xià cì zài lái]
Take care, I’m looking forward to your next visit.
7. 此致敬礼 [cǐ zhì jìng lǐ]: Kind regards / Respectfully yours
The best way of ending letters and emails in Chinese.
Say Goodbye in Chinese For Texting
The following ways of saying goodbye are also very handy when nowadays everything goes online. Try to impress your Chinese friend by using the following phrases.
1. 886 [bā bā liú] / 我下线了 [wǒ xià xiàn le]: I’m going offline
886 is homophonic with 拜拜喽 [bài bài lóu] and it is very convenient to text on phone. It is a classic way to say bye to your internet friend online.
2. 晚安 [wǎn’ān]/好梦 [hǎo mèng]: good night / sweet dreams
When you are talking to someone you want to have (or already have) an emotional bond with, you can wish them good night and sweet dreams instead of saying goodbye.
3. 下次再聊 [xià cì zài liáo]/下次接着聊 [xià cì jiē zhe liáo]: TTYL!
This widely used informal phrase literally translates to “next time again chat”.
4. 今天先聊到这吧 [jīn tiān xiān liáo dào zhè ba]
Let’s call it a day for now.
Hands down the best way to end work meetings – but only if you’re the boss or someone close to that.
Fancy Ways to Say Goodbye in Chinese
You must have noticed that 别 means to part. Now you can challenge yourself to learn some chengyu(Chinese idiom) describing the parting situations.
1. 不辞而别 [bù cí’ér bié]: leave without saying goodbye
[nǐ wèishéme bùcí’érbié?]
Why did you leave without saying goodbye?
2. 劳燕分飞 [láo yàn fēn fēi]: be like birds flying in different directions.
It is a metaphor used when a couple is no longer together.
In some cases, the relationship might go downhill after having spent a couple of blissful years together.
3. 一刀两断 [yī dāo liǎng duàn]: literally means cut in two with one stroke of the knife.
It actually means To be finished with someone or something; to cease being involved with someone or something.
[wǒ hé tā yīdāoliǎngduànle]
I am done with him.
4. 分道扬镳 [Fēn dào yáng biāo]/老死不相往来 [Lǎo sǐ bù xiāng wǎng lái]:
same as 一刀两断，usually suggests the breakup is pretty ugly.
分道扬镳: literally means to go separate ways
老死不相往来: literally means be completely isolated from each other all their lives
5. 依依惜别 [yī yī xībié]: hard to say goodbye.
But it is always used in a third perspective
[zài huǒchē zhàn, tāmen liǎng gè yīyī xībié]
They have a distressed parting at the train station
6. 生离死别 [shēng lí sǐ bié]: part forever
part never to meet again; part in life and separate by death;
7. 曲终人散 [qǔ zhōng rén sàn]: literally means the play came to an end and the audience dispersed.
This phrase is used to suggest the happy occasion has come to an end. It can also be used to describe sadness following a joyful reunion.