The making-your-point-across issue I talked about in a former post doesn´t count for farewells. Kissing goodbye is only a part of the whole act.
Saying goodbye is a ritual. As well as we like to spend time at a cafe or after a meal (having what we call “sobremesa”) we spend, if not hours, a proportionally long time saying goodbye: you don´t want people to think you want to run away. If you´ve had a great time or even a good time, we like to show it.
Announcing that you are leaving
We start to make casual comments such as “I think I am going in a few minutes”, or “I am tired, I think I am leaving” at least fifteen minutes before we actually walk away. If someone in the party wants to say something or if they don´t want you to miss something important, they know that is the moment.
Later (enough time later to finish the conversation we are having) we normally say something like “I will take my stuffs and I am going”.
After taking our stuffs kissing time begins.
Contrary to what most visitors think, you are not expected to kiss everyone. You can avoid it if:
– it is a big party with people all around the house. However, you should approach to those ones you have been talking to.
– there are people having a conversation, separate from the rest and not paying attention.
– If you don´t know any of them and you haven´t talked to anyone. However, if there are only a few and they notice that you are leaving, you should do it.
When you kiss goodbye someone, it is nice to make a short comment about what you have been talking about, to say you will find them on FB (although it might not be true), that you will help them with that problem they told you about, to wish good luck if they have an exam, wish they get better if they are sick, etc.
The goal of these small talks is not to actually commit with what you said but to let the other person know you have been paying attention and you´ve had a nice time. Of course this talks can bring a new topic to the conversation and postpone your leaving.
As I wrote before, we are never conscious of these “rules” until someone breaks them. Someone announcing: “Ok, I have to go” and leaving right away might provoke comments like: “Have your friend left already?”, “was he or she tired/getting bored?”, “does he or she feel ok?”, etc.
The closer the tie, the longer the time you spend: You shouldn ´t leave a party without telling your closer friends that you are doing it because they could be annoyed because you left without letting them know and they would be right.
Saying goodbye is a sad thing, especially if you are having a good time. Why not to stretch that time a little bit. It is also a great time to find new friends and the perfect moment to get someone´s mail or number if you happen to need it.