blogitto ergo sum

May 13, 2012

#205 – i’m gonna let you go

ok, gonna let you go [shopping goes on]

this is NOT about any broken heart.  no Kleenex required. and under no circumstances may you take this personally.  repeat: you may not take this personally.  period.

a couple of weeks ago, over a warm latte and a cappuccino, Eran and I were discussing communication.  you’d expect that sharing the same language and culture, miscommunication will never join our conversations.  and you’d be wrong, very wrong.  experience has taught us that trouble-free communication is much harder to maintain than one would imagine.   that old practice of repeating what you think the other said is invaluable.

our discussion however, was about passive-aggressive practices that have become standard in American culture, as experienced by us.

I’m on the phone with a friend.  we have covered the catching up, the lows, the highs, the ups and downs since we last talked, exchanged ideas, encouraged each other where needed and we are done.   and i can’t wait for the inevitable “…OK, i’m gonna let you go now,” and i find it well, I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T-I-N-G.  we both do.

i wonder what’s wrong with:

  • talk to you later
  • hey, got to go back to those slides/laundry/report/mess i  call my desk…
  • so happy we caught up
  • my ear is burning, sorry
  • we need to do this more often, i’m sorry i didn’t call sooner, time to go
  • so when will we meet?
  • break is over, time to dive in this #$%@ again
  • sorry, it’s gonna get noisy here, need my next latte now
  • i’m so happy you called, i should do it more

there’s endless number of possible endings, and yet, we get the “I’m gonna let you go.”  or, sometimes, we get its close relative, namely, “you must be very busy…”

can i go now?

come on.  what are you really saying?  if you need or want to go, just say so.  I’ll take no offense.  promise.  but please don’t use me as your excuse.  passive-aggressive means using indirect aggressive behavior instead of direct aggressiveness.  so you think that sending me off  when you are the one who wants to go is not passive-aggressive?  think again.  or… you could wait a minute, as I also am probably close to having enough of you; so let me end it, directly and promptly, if you can’t do it.  i respect you enough to do that.

“i’m gonna let you go, now.”  really?  and do i need to point out the similarity to the workplace’s “i’m sorry, we gonna let you go?”

first of all, i can go whenever i want to.  you are not holding me, and i’m not tied to the cordless.  i enjoy our conversation.  secondly, didn’t communication  101 teach you to own YOUR feelings, thoughts, wants and needs?  don’t tell me that I need to go, that I got things to do, tell me that YOUR soup is boiling, that your deadline is arriving, say how you  feel and what you think.  TELL ME THE TRUTH.

is “i’m gonna let you go  now” the best you can do?  haven’t we known each other long enough to be honest with each other?

interestingly enough, i can recall only women saying this, but no men.  so if i put my repressed woman hat on, i could argue that women got so used to taking care of others, putting others’ needs ahead of theirs, that they are preconditioned to express their feelings in terms of the others’ feelings.  but, this won’t fly.  i have too much respect for my women friends to settle for this.

earlier today, already having this post on my mind, and talking to one of my dear girlfriends, i waited patiently for the inevitable “I’m gonna let you go.”  surely enough, it came.   i apologized and reflected back to her.  in return i got a long, healthy laugh.  followed with agreement.  and more laughs.

i’m gonna let you go now.

Of course, you could always be THIS kind pf passive-aggressive


May 14, evening: Update

reported  by women: men do that to, i.e. end calls with “i’m gonna let you go.”  and to the DISLIKE of the wife at the receiving end.  honoring the commentators privacy, all i can say is that some experience this passive-aggressive act much worse than me.  happy to voice your feelings.  thank you for the touching sharing.

Clipart sources:



  1. 🙂
    well, I would love to stay and add more comments, but er, oh, is that the time (?), well, I gotta let us both go, what with the trans-atlantic y’know energy saving time difference and all, and er and er

    Comment by Fionn — May 14, 2012 @ 08:09 | Reply

  2. Hmmm… I like your post Yael, but in my experience I have found that the connection ends before the conversation is over! At least with AT&T. Cheers!

    Comment by JeffH — May 14, 2012 @ 08:29 | Reply

  3. I love your blogs (I think I’ve mentioned that before…) – Fact!
    To me, the underlying issue is whether we choose wisdom (read as fact/tangible/proven information) or kindness (read as personal interpretation/ execution/lifestyle even…) when we are dealing with family, friends, loved ones etc…
    I believe in ALWAYS giving someone a dignified & gracious ‘out’, whether it’s a phone call, social meet up, suggestion for a future meet up or an activity… I don’t regard this as passive/aggressive. I don’t regard this as a lack of self confidence that people would not want to be around me (now or in the future). I don’t regard this as telling others when & what to do. Quite the opposite.
    Based upon the assumption, we both know the conversation/meet up etc is or needs to come to an end – why be painfully abrupt & abrasive. YES, we BOTH know the ‘fact’ that it needs to end – do it in a way that makes you feel uplifted & positive about the event… not hard & straight forward like it was a business scenario.

    Comment by Shephali — May 14, 2012 @ 12:23 | Reply

  4. Shep: the issue is not the need to end the call. it’s about the how. IMHO, “i’m gonna let you go” is neither polite nor honest. and if it comes out of the blue, it is in fact abrupt and abrasive.
    also, many conversations, whether F2F or via phone/Skype, reach a natural ending with no need to formal termination. point is, if you need, wish, want to end a call, don’t put it on the other person.

    so, i think we agree, do we?

    Comment by yael [ya-el] wagner — May 14, 2012 @ 13:28 | Reply

  5. I’ll let you get back to what you were doing. Ciao, bella.

    Comment by stephanieannbrown — May 22, 2012 @ 20:57 | Reply

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