At least 3 reasons why you should never say "Wish me luck!"

Three reasons to avoid saying the phrase "Wish me luck!" as part of your goodbye dialogue: 

It's aggressive, presumptuous, and authoritarian. 


You're not even asking someone to wish you luck. You're telling them to offer you the wish. You're practically ordering them to do it. It's at least a little audacious, if not downright pushy. 

Isn't it?

Is there any other instance in which one person tells another person exactly what to say as they part? Can you even imagine it?

"Tell me not to worry!"
"Say something positive about my future!"
"Tell me that you love me a lot!"
"Tell me that you hope my plane doesn't crash, but say it in a funny way."
"When you say goodbye, add something about how you're hoping I win the PowerBall tonight!"
"As I turn my back and walk away, wait two seconds and then tell me I have a nice ass!"

It doesn't happen. "Wish me luck" is the only time when we demand that another person say a particular set of words as part of their farewell.

It also creates this odd stage play of sorts, because there is only one response to "Wish me luck!" 

It's "Good luck."

By asking someone to wish you luck, you can be 99.9% sure of their response, thereby creating this predetermined bit of two-line dialogue. It's like a guarantee of the future. You can be certain that there will be no surprises for at least the next two or three seconds.   

Person 1: Wish me luck!
Person 2: Good luck.

Is there another instance when dialogue is so predetermined? Even when you tell someone that you love them, the responses can vary slightly.

Person 1: I love you.

Possible responses:

I love you, too.
Me, too.
Love you, too.
Super love you!
Don't forget to pick up milk on the way home. 

"Wish me luck" is weird. I know that most of us don't think very much about it when we say it. It's simply a phrase that we use in place of the standard "Good bye" or "See you later." Most of the time, we're probably not trying to solicit wishes of good fortune from another person. We're simply trying to make an exit. 

Still, it's weird, even if you're using it innocuously. It's aggressive and presumptuous and authoritarian. It forces you and your companion into a brief and boring stage play. It's meaningless chatter laced with undertones of bellicosity.

I won't be annoyed if you ask me to wish you luck, but I may say something other than "Good luck," and perhaps something equally aggressive, presumptuous, and authoritarian.

Just for kicks.  

Don’t say goodbye to the bride and groom. Just leave. Let it be your final gift to them.

Slate’s Seth Stevenson argues in favor of not saying goodbye.

Ghosting—aka the Irish goodbye, the French exit, and any number of other vaguely ethnophobic terms—refers to leaving a social gathering without saying your farewells. One moment you’re at the bar, or the house party, or the Sunday morning wedding brunch. The next moment you’re gone. In the manner of a ghost. “Where’d he go?” your friends might wonder. But—and this is key—they probably won’t even notice that you’ve left.

I am an enormous fan of ghosting. My wife, however, would never allow it. My wife’s goodbye ritual takes at least 20 minutes and includes the scheduling of at least one future social engagement and engaging in at least one conversation on an entirely new topic before the farewell is complete.

For me, ghosting will never be a reality. Nor will it be for most people. Social conventions are incredibly difficult to change, and they are even more difficult to ignore for the vast majority of people.

It takes a special kind of arrogant rule breaker to ghost on a consistent basis.


But there is one social engagement where ghosting shouldn’t even be an option. It should be standard practice:

A wedding.

As a wedding DJ with almost two decades of experience, I believe that ghosting at a wedding is not only acceptable but represents an act of kindness and generosity toward the bride and groom.

Every weekend, I watch as brides and grooms are pulled off the dance floor during one of their favorite songs by friends or family members who feel the need to exchange idle, meaningless, and soon-to-be-forgotten pleasantries before saying goodbye.

Don’t do it. Just leave.

Consider the numbers:

If there are 150 people attending the wedding (an average number of guests for the weddings that I do), that means that the bride and groom will need to say goodbye to approximately 75 couples.

In the course of a five hour reception (also the average), that amounts to a goodbye every four minutes.

Since most guests don’t start leaving four minutes into the reception, what it really means is a constant stream of goodbyes during the last two hours of the reception, when the bride and groom are supposed to be dancing with friends and family and having the most fun.

Years ago, I would make an announcement with about 15 minutes left in the wedding imploring guests to join the bride and groom on the dance floor and stay for the last few songs so the bride and groom could enjoy them in peace.

“Don’t make the bride and groom spend the last few precious moments of their wedding saying goodbye to you.”

The announcement rarely had any impact on the selfish jackasses who thought that leaving 15 minutes early was more important than the happiness and enjoyment of a bride and groom on their wedding day, so I stopped making it.

But if there was ever a social event to ghost, it’s a wedding. The bride and groom will never remember who did and didn’t say goodbye to, nor will it matter to them.

I promise you: There has never been a bride or groom in the history of the universe who were concerned with saying goodbye to their guests in the midst of their reception.

If saying goodbye is important to you, stay until the end. Wait for the music to stop and the lights to come up. Then say goodbye.

Otherwise, just leave, damn it. Let the happy couple be happy.