What to Say to Someone Going On Sabbatical

Title: What to Say to Someone Going On Sabbatical: A Guide to Support and Encourage


Taking a sabbatical is a significant decision that allows individuals to take a break from their regular work routine and immerse themselves in personal growth, exploration, or relaxation. While it is an exciting and transformative experience for those embarking on a sabbatical, it can also leave their friends, colleagues, and loved ones uncertain about what to say or how to support them during this time. This article aims to provide guidance on what to say to someone going on sabbatical and offers answers to frequently asked questions about this unique journey.

1. Express Genuine Excitement and Support:

When someone shares their plans for a sabbatical, it is important to respond with enthusiasm and genuine support. Express your excitement for their upcoming adventure, acknowledging the value of taking time for personal development and rejuvenation. Encourage them to make the most of this opportunity and assure them that you will be there for them whenever needed.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions:

Showing interest in their sabbatical plans and aspirations can be a great way to support your friend or colleague. Ask open-ended questions about their goals and intentions for the sabbatical, allowing them to share their dreams and aspirations. These conversations can help them solidify their plans and build excitement for their upcoming journey.

3. Offer Help and Resources:

During their preparation phase, your support can extend beyond words. Offer assistance in researching destinations, organizing logistics, or even connecting them with people you know in their desired location. Additionally, share any relevant resources or recommendations that might enhance their experience, such as books, podcasts, or travel tips.

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4. Respect Their Boundaries:

While your friend or colleague might be eager to share their plans, it’s crucial to respect their boundaries. Understand that some individuals prefer to keep their sabbatical intentions private, and they may not wish to discuss their plans extensively. Be mindful of their comfort level and provide space if needed, while still expressing your support.

5. Maintain Communication:

Staying in touch while they are on sabbatical can be a meaningful gesture. Ask your friend or colleague how they would prefer to stay connected during their time away. Some might appreciate regular updates and messages, while others might prefer occasional check-ins. Respect their preferences and make an effort to maintain communication, reminding them that you are thinking of them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: How long do sabbaticals typically last?

A: Sabbaticals can vary in duration, ranging from a few months to a year or more. The length often depends on personal preferences, financial considerations, and work arrangements.

Q2: Can I ask about their sabbatical plans if they haven’t shared them?

A: It is best to wait until they voluntarily share their plans. If they haven’t mentioned it, respect their privacy and wait for them to bring up the topic.

Q3: How can I support someone financially during their sabbatical?

A: Financial support can come in various forms. Consider contributing to a specific aspect of their journey, such as covering a portion of their travel expenses, offering accommodation if you live in their desired destination, or providing them with resources to explore cost-effective options.

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Q4: What if they experience challenges or doubts during their sabbatical?

A: Encourage open communication and be a listening ear if they encounter difficulties or uncertainties. Offer emotional support and remind them of the purpose behind their sabbatical, helping them stay focused on their goals.

Q5: Should I bring up work-related matters during their sabbatical?

A: Unless they initiate conversations about work, it is advisable to avoid discussing work-related matters. Respect their desire to disconnect and focus on their personal journey.


Supporting someone going on sabbatical involves expressing genuine excitement, asking open-ended questions, offering help and resources, respecting their boundaries, and maintaining communication. By understanding their aspirations and providing encouragement, you can play an essential role in making their sabbatical experience more fulfilling and memorable. Remember, a well-supported sabbatical can lead to personal growth, renewed inspiration, and a deeper connection when they return.

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