Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What should the correct response be (from someone not overtly religious) if someone says "God bless" when parting company?

"Bye now" or "Bye" doesn't seem an adequate response.

share|improve this question
5  
Someone who says "God bless" as a normal goodbye must be used to having people saying all sorts of different things, since this must catch a lot of people off guard! (Unless there is a region where this is used quite often that I don't know about.) –  Kosmonaut Sep 7 '10 at 14:49
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think it comes down to A) how religious the other person is, B) how religious you are, and C) how much you want to avoid potentially insulting the person. If they are very religious and you are not, and you want to avoid any hint of insult to their religion or any potential conflict, better just say something religious or at least agreeing back:

"Thanks, same to you".

If you can't stand to say something that even acknowledges their beliefs, I think it at least doesn't hurt to acknowledge their sentiment, so you could just say "Thanks, bye." That's probably what I'd do.

share|improve this answer
    
Equally, if you were religious, refusing to reciprocate would be even more insulting! –  Marcin Apr 18 '11 at 16:39
add comment

I'll often reply, "Take care." Sounds a little warmer than "bye," and not particularly religious.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I had a friend in college who liked to respond to "God bless" with "Goddess protect". As I recall he did so just to be different from us other geeks who would sometimes respond with "Live long and prosper".

Seriously, though, I think that a polite "Thank you" should be sufficient.

share|improve this answer
    
I like that. I may start using it (if anyone even has the guts to say that to me any more). –  Bill K Mar 21 '11 at 19:16
add comment

You could respond with a Jewish farewell, illustrating that not everyone sees the world the same way, but also probably alienating your friend

Shalom!

Or you could be polite and simply say

you too!

share|improve this answer
add comment

The origin of "goodbye" (hence "bye") is "God be with you", so it is about on the same level. I think "goodbye" (or perhaps "goodbye to you, too") could be appropriate, just "bye" perhaps not so much.

share|improve this answer
    
@kguest might feel a bare goodbye is a cold response when reflecting an effusive God Bless! –  Ed Guiness Sep 7 '10 at 13:09
2  
That's where the word comes from, but I don't think goodbye has any religious meaning in modern English. –  TRiG Oct 18 '10 at 17:13
add comment

"Be well," said with a smile.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.