What To Say Instead Of “Let’s Catch Up Soon” When You Run Into An Old Acquaintance

It feels polite to say, “We should catch up soon!” when we run into someone from our past, but should we really say that if we don’t mean it?

By Keelia Clarkson2 min read
shutterstock 2202087179
Shutterstock/Look Studio

The scene: You’re minding your business at the grocery store, trying to decide which pasta sauce to go for, when – poof. Suddenly, your old coworker appears right in front of you, seemingly out of nowhere. Whether you never had any feelings either way about them, or you generally disliked them, you don’t feel the desire to maintain contact after this unplanned, random encounter.

And yet, for some reason, in order to wrap up the conversation and get back on your merry way, you find yourself saying something along the lines of, “We should totally catch up!” or “We should get together soon!” even though you don’t really mean that. Instead, you’re hoping they won’t reach out to ever schedule that “catch up.”

Sound like something that happened to you recently? Maybe you bumped into an old acquaintance at a cafe or a girl you used to be friends with in high school at the mall. And even though you don’t have any intention of keeping in touch, it feels impolite to end the conversation any other way. But is this really the best course of action? Should you really say you want to catch up if you don’t mean it?

Don’t Say Something You Don’t Mean

While it’s become somewhat expected to say this when we run into someone we used to know, telling someone we want to meet up with them when we don’t really want to causes a whole host of issues that were entirely avoidable.

First, it opens up the possibility of the other person actually taking you up on it – in which case, you’ll feel torn between going through with it and trying to think of an excuse when they reach out and ask you to meet up for a cup of coffee. And if you decide to make up an excuse, you’ll probably end up feeling guilty (and there’s no ensuring they won’t reach out to try to reschedule). Second, it creates an awkward obligation for both you and the person you ran into – who may also feel it unnecessary to catch up, but doesn’t want to be rude. Third, saying things you don’t really mean or have no intention of following through on simply isn’t a good practice to get into. There’s just no need to overpromise.

So What Should You Say Instead?

So it might not be the best idea to use, “We should catch up!” as a conversation closer, without meaning you really want to catch up – but what are you supposed to say instead? How do you gracefully handle bumping into an old coworker, acquaintance, or high school friend that you don’t really want to reconnect with? There are a few ways you can navigate and end the interaction with tact.

If you happen not to remember their name, while it’s tempting to pretend you do, just be honest; apologize and say something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry, for some reason I can’t place your name! Please remind me.” 

To find your way out of the conversation without saying, “Let’s catch up soon!” try saying:

  • “Well, it was nice running into you! Take care.” This is both cordial and to the point – you’re glad to see they’re well, but don’t need to catch up further.

  • “Good seeing you! Maybe we’ll run into each other sometime soon.” This lets them know that they can feel free to say hi if they happen to bump into you again, but nothing more than that needs to transpire.

  • “Well, I’ve got to get going, but it was great running into you. Say hi to X for me.” This is a natural way to end the conversation without allowing it to meander.

If they initiate a hangout and you’re not keen on going, try saying, “I really appreciate the invite, but my schedule’s a bit crazy right now. But I’m glad to see you’re doing well.”

Closing Thoughts

It’s always awkward running into someone you didn’t plan to see ever again. And while casually saying, “We should catch up soon!” feels like a kind way of ending the conversation, it’s best not to get into the habit of making promises you don’t intend to keep.

Don’t miss anything! Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get curated content weekly!