Once, I have received feedback that using "see you when I see you" is not very polite.

Do you have the same opinion?

What other expression should I use in case I have no clue when I will see the other party?

  • 1
    Is this question geared towards formal, business communication or an informal dialog between friends? Oct 18, 2012 at 17:40
  • 8
    Not as impolite as responding with "Not if I see you first!" :-)
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 18, 2012 at 19:33
  • @Kristina - it would be great to know the perception in both formal and informal conversations.
    – m1k3y02
    Oct 19, 2012 at 2:00
  • 3
    I think at least some people would understand "I'll see you when I see you" to imply "I won't be making any particular effort one way or the other to either see or avoid you, so if/when we meet again, it'll be just a matter of chance". In matters concerning politeness, it's best to err on the side of caution and stick with something more commonplace, such as "I'll see you soon", or the ever-popular white lie "We must have dinner together". Oct 19, 2012 at 23:58

7 Answers 7


I agree that "See you when I see you" isn't the friendliest of phrases. You should probably say something like I don't know when I'll see you again. Soon, I hope.

Here in Taiwan, the native speakers of Chinese usually say See you next time for what literally translates to "again see" (再見) (zai jian). The vagueness of "next time" makes it almost work for me.

See you later!
See you again!
See you soon!

These are three reasonable substitutes for "See you when I see you", and none is rude, just vague but positive.

The sentence in the first paragraph is somewhat formal and not appropriate for everyone, just people you'd really like to see again soon but don't know where or when it'll happen.


I wouldn't consider that to be impolite at all, however if you are dealing with one or more people who do think that, the phrase "See you later," or "Catch you later," or maybe "I hope to see you soon" may suffice.


There is a great Australian movie called Gallipoli (about WW1) where two soldiers have this exchange: "I'll see you when I see you" and the other responds: "Not if I see you first!". In this case it is humorous, and a sign of friendship, so I guess its dependent on the culture.


"See you when I see you" is very cautious, not too demanding nor pushy and not even asking permission or approval to other person. It's not said in an obligating manner; it's a very safe statement and non mandatory, though hoping for the other person to agree if he/she is interested to see him/her the next time they'll meet.


It sounds just slightly impolite to me, and I think the reason is the implication that you won't be making an effort to see the person again. That may or may not be the case, but in either event there's no reason to mention it. I would recommend "see you soon" or "I hope to see you soon." Informally, you could also use "see you later", "see ya", or the very casual "later."


Politely said means "I won't be making any plans to see you, but if we happen to cross paths its probably best to pretend we don't know each other"... controversial means "Next time I see you, watch out!"


"See you when I see you" is a nice phrase and also a dashing one.

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