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Too Good at Goodbyes
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
10/21/2017

Dynamic ImageMain Point: In a world where we are constantly let down by others, what does it look like to have someone to trust who will never leave you hanging?

Vital Info Before You Get Started:
The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep fairly current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • Sam Smith came onto the music scene with his 2014 debut album In the Lonely Hour. From that album, his song Stay With Me reached the number two position on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

  • After a couple years of silence, Smith has released his second studio album, The Thrill of it All. The single Too Good at Goodbyes debuted in the number five spot on the Hot 100 chart.
  • Smith has won numerous awards, and is known for his soft voice that Beyoncé has called “buttery.” He is often referred to as a “crooner” due to this distinct voice.
  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song: Sam Smith’s song Too Good at Goodbye’s was released from his second album The Thrill of it All in September 2017. His full album releases November 3, 2018. This song is about trying to guard himself when he is hurting because of broken relationships.

Song Lyrics:

You must think that I’m stupid
You must think that I’m a fool
You must think that I’m new to this
But I have seen this all before

I’m never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you.
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry
And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry
And every time you walk out, the less I love you
Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but true

I’m way too good at goodbyes
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)
I’m way too good at goodbyes
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)

I know you’re thinking I’m heartless
I know you’re thinking I’m cold
I’m just protecting my innocence
I’m just protecting my soul

I’m never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry
And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry
And every time you walk out, the less I love you
Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but true

I’m way too good at goodbyes
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)
I’m way too good at goodbyes
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)
No way that you’ll see me cry
(No way that you’ll see me cry)

I’m way too good at goodbyes
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)
No
No, no, no, no, no
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)
No, no, no, no
No, no, no
(I’m way too good at goodbyes)

‘Cause every time you hurt me, the less that I cry
And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry
And every time you walk out, the less I love you
Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but true
I’m way too good at goodbyes


The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_ub7Etch2U

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What was the main message in Sam’s song?
    A: He has experienced a lot of hurt in relationships, and has been quoted as saying “I haven’t been very lucky in my romantic life, it’s true… I’ve found it all pretty difficult, and I guess in my songs it all just comes spilling out.” This song is about putting up a wall to protect himself from future hurt in relationships.

    Q: What do I need to know about Sam Smith?
    A: Sam came out as gay in 2014. His hit song Stay with Me is about his relationship with actor and model Jonathan Zeizel, and Too Good at Goodbyes is also about the hearbreak he has faced in his same sex relationships. While this is not necessary to bring up to have a solid discussion on this song, parents should be aware of it in case the subject is broached.

    Q: What does it mean to be too good at goodbyes?
    A: The idea is that because of relationships that end in hurt, Sam has had to say goodbye too often to those he has dated. His response is to no longer want to let others close just case they go and leave (him) in the dirt.

Where to Take It from Here: Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There is a guide just after that paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged – the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)


Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement – Say something like this:

This song captures our response to the pain that comes from relationships. As our trust is deeply impacted through failed or broken relationships, we are asking the question of whether Smith’s approach is the right way to respond. Should we refuse to let others close because of the potential for hurt? Will everyone we encounter eventually hurt us, or is there someone who will never leave us hanging in a relationship?

Let’s explore how easy it is to be less than authentic with people, the value of authentic living and see what God’s Word says on the subject.


More Discussion Questions:
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Sam Smith is originally from London. Can anyone do a good British accent? If you could have any accent in the world, what would you choose?

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think we sometimes avoid situations that have the potential for emotional hurt? Would anyone share about a time when they did that?

  3. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What was a difficult goodbye you had to say in your life?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Sam means when he sings, cause every time you hurt me, the less that I cry?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Should people have thick skin or a soft heart? Is it possible to have both?

  6. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      Romans 8:38-39

      For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: This passage lists things that cannot separate us from God’s love. Which of the things on this list are most meaningful to you and why?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think Paul (the author of this verse) says he is “convinced”? Why do you think it was so important to Paul to communicate that he was convinced that he could not be separated from God’s love?

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Considering what Sam Smith says about hurt in relationships, what do these verses say about how we can view God in our relationship with Him?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What would it look like for you to be anchored in a God who will never leave you hanging? How would that impact your view on relationships with other people?

  11. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What are the challenges of being anchored in the unfailing love of God? How can we pray for each other as we work to rest in His unchanging love?

Wrap Up:
During this time, we listened to Sam Smith’s new song. We heard him wrestle through the approach he is taking toward dealing with hurt he has experienced in relationships. Sam sings:

So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you
In case you go and leave me in the dirt

Smith has decided to put on a façade of strength to hopefully avoid the continued hurt he is experiencing in relationships. He is declaring that he is not going to get close, even to those of whom he has significance to, just in case they leave him in the dirt.

Is this the best approach for us to take in relationships? Is it inevitable that we will get hurt so we should not let people get close?


(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

Is it possible for us to find security in one who won’t leave us hanging? If we choose to believe in God’s unfailing love for us, how might that help us when we experience relational hurt?

(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

Relationships can be a gigantic mix of both awesome and heartache. It is likely we all carry baggage from past hurts, much like Sam Smith. These hurts can leave us fearful toward letting others in, as we do not want to experience that same hurt again. Everything changes for us when we encounter Jesus, the one who will never leave us hanging. There is nothing anyone can do, including ourselves, that would separate us from His love. He is never going to walk away from us. He will never leave us. When we encounter Him and choose to believe what He says about us, we stand on solid ground. Let’s end our time praying for each other as we draw near to the one who will never leave us hanging, and the one who will never say goodbye.

CLOSE IN PRAYER

Written by Rob Chagdes



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