People always say that your first impression matters. I agree. But few people talk about how to leave a good LAST impression. That’s why today we’re learning about different ways of saying goodbye in Russian.
While leaving a good lasting impression is important, you should also know that if you’re a foreigner learning Russian, it doesn’t really matter what you say.
Russian people are always very happy when you learn their native language, so even if you make mistakes here and there, that’s completely okay.
Still, if you use a correct or even cool way of saying goodbye in Russian, you’re going to get extra bonus points.
In general, there are 3 different types of goodbyes in any language:
And that’s exactly the table of contents of this article.
I’ve added the stresses and Romanized versions of each word, so even if you don’t know any Russian, you can still pronounce the Russian words.
I also shot a short video in which I pronounce each word. Watch the video below.
These 3 phrases are most often said in more serious, or formal, situations. They’re great for business meetings or with people you’ve just met and aren’t sure which friendliness level you’re at.
You can say all these phrases, as well, in informal situations.
This is the most common phrase to say when parting ways in Russia. It literally means ‘’till date’’. That also makes До свидания the safest way of saying goodbye. It’s listed here as formal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for informal situations.
Even if it’s not likely you’ll ever see the person again, you can still say До свидания to them. For example, when leaving a shop in a restaurant.
You say this phrase when you wish someone that they have a good day. For those learning Russian, you’ll see that the two words are in the genitive case. That’s because when you wish someone something, those words should be in the genitive case. If you’re not learning Russian, this isn’t important.
This form isn’t seen too often between friends.
“All the best” is a literal translation of Всего хорошего. You can say this when you wish someone well as you part ways.
The following phrases are best used when you know someone well, or with friends. Also, if you say goodbye to someone and they use one of these phrases, it’s a sign you can also use an informal way of saying goodbye back.
This is the most common way of quickly saying “bye” in Russian. Just like in English, you can also say Пока twice, as in Пока Пока, to say “bye-bye”. Пока literally means ‘while’.
If you will see someone again soon, До скорого is a great way to part ways with them. You can also say it if you wish you could see someone again soon. Just like you would in English after saying goodbye to a good friend who you won’t see again for a long time, but wish you would.
Удачи literally means “luck”, and virtually always in a positive manner. If someone has a deciding exam at university, an important meeting at work, or any other special task that has an impact on the future, you can wish them good luck by saying Удачи.
До встречи can be used almost interchangeably with До скорого. The only difference is that До встречи sounds a little bit colder. As you’re telling them “until next time”, instead of wishing you’d see them soon.
До завтра literally means “until tomorrow”. So if you’re seeing someone again tomorrow, this is the easiest way to say bye to them.
If you’re forced to leave because you have a train or meeting, this is the best way to convey that. It also shows that you’d prefer to stay, but unfortunately cannot.
Увидимся literally means “we will see each other”. And as you can guess, you say it when you want to see the other person again.
Давай is the little cheat word in Russian you can say for virtually any situation. “Want to go to the beach?” - “Давай”. “Get in the car” - “Давай”. It’s a very casual way of responding to any offer. The caveat when saying goodbye? You can only use it as a response to someone using any of the other goodbyes in this lesson.
If someone is traveling somewhere by plane or has a long journey by car ahead of them. You can wish them Счастливого пути.
Прощай literally means “forgive me”. You can only say it when it will be a really long time until you see the other person again, or if you’re not sure if you ever will see each other again. It’s a very heavy word, just like the English ‘farewell’, so be sure to only use it in the appropriate situations.
That was it. By now you know how to leave a good last impression in Russian. If you’re not a native Russian speaker (and if you’re here, I guess you aren’t), don’t be too confused by all the different phrases on this page. They’re merely here so you can surprise your Russian friends.
The most important thing here is to remember До свидания. As you can say it in virtually every situation. Next, I recommend you pick one or two other ways to say “goodbye” in Russian you like and remember them. After all, if you’re just casually learning a couple of Russian phrases because you’re traveling as a tourist to Russia once, you just need several ways of saying goodbye.
And if you’re seriously learning Russian, you’ll come across each variant in this article at your own speed. Ready to start learning words like this and more in Russian? Try Drops: the new way to easily learn a language that combines engaging and fun word games with beautiful design. Learn more than 41 languages with fun, visual games. Try the fastest-growing language app in the world for free on iOS or Android.
About the Author: Arie Helderman is a native Dutch speaker. He started learning Russian around 2015 and now runs a YouTube channel in Russian (Ари говорит по-Русски) with more than 50.000 subscribers. You can also find him on https://learntherussianlanguage.com/, where he shares his methods and strategies to learn conversational Russian in a relatively fast time frame.