I was at the gym the other day when one of my friends that I workout with said “see you soon” to me as he was leaving. As soon as he said it I have to admit I sort of liked it and the more I thought about it the more I really liked it.
After years of hearing “take care” or “later” or “see you later” or “catch you later” – it's nice to mix it up a bit and "see you soon" is just a really nice sentiment that hits the spot. I do also like "take care" because that just seems like a nice, caring thought. Whereas the variations of "later" just seem a bit too businesslike or even perhaps a little dismissive. Yeah, "see you soon" has a real nice feel to it.
Now, thinking about it, "see you soon" isn't something that you would say every time or for everyone. I mean, that's what makes the phrase so special. You save it for someone that you actually are hoping to see "sooner" as compared to "later". I like that. Now, of course, once you start using "see you soon" with someone you can't switch it up and start throwing in "see you later". That really won't work because that person would perceive a letdown, so unless you're trying to give that distinct impression, you will have to use "take care" or another appropriate substitute.
And while I suppose you can say that "say you later" or "take care" are just part of social necessities, really not meaning much of one thing or another, I beg to differ. It is a form of social contact and is usually the last or just about the last statement that you say to an acquaintance or a friend so there is more here than a mere formality to it.
Words do matter, and there is a rhythm to our conversation in which we have to play our part. Whereas "how are you doing" is a form of "Hi, Hello" it can be much more when you put a little bit more emphasis on it and say something to the effect, "No, really, seriously, how are you doing?" People understand that to mean that you want to engage them in a more meaningful conversation and chat for a while.
I believe that "see you soon" has more of the connotation that you care, and perhaps more importantly, it leads the door open, that you'll indeed pick up the conversation where you left the next time that you meet which could be right around the corner. Whereas your "see you later", on the other hand, sort of shuts the door and says pretty much to the effect we're done for now and with no real promise that the conversation will be picked up at any near point.
Now perhaps I'm reading into it way too much, and perhaps I'm taking words too literally, but given a choice between being a touch more considerate or receiving a little extra consideration I have to say I prefer that.
See you soon!