Saying Goodbye vs. Fading Away

This question pertains more to online communities and friendships than it does to face-to-face relationships, but it is relevant to both.

When you’re dissociating from a group or an organization or whatever, is it always best to make an outright declaration that you’re doing so, or are there situations when it’s best to just gradually fade away? If you hold some formal role with responsibilities, then the only ethical thing to do is take the first option. However, say you’ve decided that some group–be it a church, a coffee clatch, or more usually an online forum–just doesn’t trip your trigger. Is it best to make a firm break, letting (essentially) everyone know why you’re leaving, or is it more prudent to just taper off your involvement until you’re gone?

I’ve seen lots of people make righteous declarations on leaving a group, airing their laundry and burning bridges. These farewells often engender pleas to stay with the group and arguments about the issues the departing person brings up–in other words, a lot of drama. More often than not, the leaver ends up skulking back anyway, their reputation less than pristine and feelings hurt all around. As such, I’m no longer one for saying goodbyes; if someone wonders where I’ve been, I’m not hard to find. That, and I haven’t committed to leaving forever; it’s much easier to work around “haven’t seen you in a while” than “so you went back on your decision.” Is this cowardly, or is it just common sense?

What do you all think? Should one declare the causes which impel them to separation out of a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, or just fade away?

So, you’re leaving then? :dubious:

Truthfully, I always try to opt for fading away. An announcement seems a bit arrogant and dramatic, imo.

Eh, not the SDMB. Nobody would notice, anyway.

You make it seem like such an either or. EITHER we throw a hissy fit and stomp out, OR we just fade away.

When I did leave here for some months (during the pay to post) cycle, there were a few other contributing factors, too. I thought about it for a while and then posted a very simple OP stating I would be leaving and asking people to please leave the drama elsewhere. It worked very well, and I had a nice civil conversation with people before I left.

I was very glad because only a few months later they killed pay to post and I was able to come back without any embarrassment of having stormed out.

So, I prefer to tell people if I am invested in the board, but no need for drama.

I can’t think of an online group I made a conscious decision to “leave”. Usually it was a case of gradually losing interest, or a different sort of people joining, and it got to where I didn’t bother reading any more.

In one humorous case I went back and posted to a thread and was dissed for a being a know-it-all newb. It was kind of fun to point out that I was a charter member with hundreds of posts, and a single digit member number!

The last time I did this for an online group, I politely said, “I’ll be on vacation for the next few weeks.” Then just never returned.

After a couple of years, I did get a nice email from one old friend, wondering what had happened. “Just drifted away, I guess,” I said.

No advantage of being dramatic about it. “Slip out the back, Jack.”

This is pretty much the only online place where anyone knows me (if indeed, I’m known…) so I have never done it online.

IRL, it isn’t usually a conscious decision, it just seems that the relationships fade. (OK, maybe it *is *conscious - on their part… I mean, how would I know?)

I agree that “goodbye…FOREVER!!” dramatic statements are pretty lame, but I think it’s nice to tell anyone who might expect to see you that the group just isn’t your thing (or whatever).

I’m certainly NOT a fan of “if I just stop answering X’s phone calls and emails, then they’ll figure out I’m not interested eventually”. I find that a bit rude compared to “sorry, not interested”.