“A farewell is oriented not to the termination of the social occasion or sociable moment wherein it takes place but to the sharp decrease that is about to occur in the possibility of such comings-together occurring – at least for a time. And the more lengthy and absolute the separation, the more expansive the ritual. Yet no matter how long and complex the anticipated separation, the fact that the participants are at the moment in easy access situates them favorably for the separation not to occur as planned.
“Farewells, in short, inevitably expose the participants to unexpected recontacting. And should this occur, the performers will find that the ritual already performed is improperly profuse for what has turned out to be a short absence; yet there is no way to take it back.”
– Erving Goffman, Relations in Public
It’s farewell-party season in the foreign student community again.