The Act Of Saying Good-Bye

The action of saying good-bye to someone can be confusing for newcomers to Spanish. To make matters worse it’s also closely related to firing someone from a job position. The verb used is despedir and it’s reflexive version despedirse. Use the reflexive version for the act of saying goodbye to someone. The non-reflexive version can also be used to say good-bye but it’s more often used for firing someone.

Here’s an example using the reflexive version- despedirse:

I wanted to say good-bye to you.
Quería despedirme de ti.
keh-rEE-ah dehs-peh-deer-meh deh tee.

A lot of newcomers to Spanish end up using the reflexive version with a ti instead of de ti but that’s incorrect. You need to use de ti like in the example above. Another way to say the English phrase above using the non-reflexive despedir this time:

Quería despedir a ti.
keh-rEE-ah dehs-peh-deer ah tee.

As you see, you can use a ti in this example because it’s not the reflexive version of the verb. Problem with this one is it can also mean “I wanted to fire you.” So it’s better to just stick with the first example, which is more common anyway. Here’s some other examples using despedirse:

Do you want to say good-bye to María?
¿Quieres despedirte de María?
¿keh-ree-ehs dehs-peh-deer-teh deh mah-rEE-ah?

She always leaves without saying good-bye.
Siempre se va sin despedirse.
see-ehm-preh seh vah seen dehs-peh-deer-seh.

If someone leaves without saying good-bye another saying used in Spanish is despedirse a la francesa. This translates to something like “saying good-bye the French way”:

She left without saying good-bye.
Se despidió a la francesa.
seh dehs-pee-dee-OH ah lah frahn-seh-sah.

More examples of despedirse:

She said good-bye to me.
Ella se despidió de mi.
eh-yah seh dehs-pee-dee-OH deh mee.

How come you didn’t say good-bye to me when you left?
¿Por qué no te despediste cuando te fuiste?
¿pohr kEH noh teh dehs-peh-dees-teh kwahn-doh teh fwees-teh?

Despedir can also mean “to see somebody off” like at an airport or bus station:

We went to the airport to see them off.
Fuimos a despedirlos al aeropuerto.
fwee-mohs ah dehs-peh-deer-lohs ahl ah-eh-roh-pwehr-toh.

The translation for “good-bye kiss” is also based on despedir:

good-bye kiss
beso de despedida
beh-soh deh dehs-peh-dee-dah.

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