How the Italians Resolve Awkward Endings to Phone Conversations

“Ciao” is such a versatile word in Italian — it can mean hello and goodbye.

I noticed that Italians end phone conversations with several “Ciaos.” In other words, “blah blah blah Ciaooo, Ciao Ciao Ciao Ciao” then hang-up. The Ciaos are uttered with increasing speed and decreasing volume, one right after the other.

I have no idea how this mode of conversation evolved, but I would guess it’s a resolution to that awkwardness we all experience at the end of telephone calls. The conversation is finished. How the hell can we hang up? My go-to is, “Ok, I’ll talk to you soon.” Others throw in a few “take-cares.” The Italians have it down: one side starts saying Ciao, then the other starts saying it, and when they’re both repeating “Ciao” over and over again, they both hang up.

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