“Keep in touch” and “Stay in touch”: Here’s the real difference (with 9 examples)

When you end a conversation, should you say “keep in touch” or “stay in touch”? Today, we’ll be looking at what the difference is between these two phrases. By the end of this article, you’ll never get the two mixed up again!

We’ll also be looking at what “in touch” means and why we say it.

What is the difference between “keep” and “stay” in touch?

“Stay in touch” is for when you’re talking to someone with whom you already have regular contact with.

“Keep in touch” is for when you’re speaking to someone you don’t talk to regularly.

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Keep in touch

When to say “keep in touch”

If you’re talking to someone who you don’t speak to very often, or someone who you have bumped into after a long time of not speaking to them, the best thing to say would be “keep in touch”. Most of the time, this is said more out of politeness than anything else.

The hidden meaning behind “keep in touch” is sometimes “keep in touch if you want to. But if you don’t want to, I won’t be offended”.

The most common type of person you would say this to are people you went to school with but haven’t spoken to since.

5 Examples of “keep in touch”

“Seems that she resigned a few years ago but I still keep in touch with her and she’s thriving somewhere in Europe!! I miss her”

“Like, i think it’s okay to keep in touch if you meet them on a game and want to continue playing together.”

“Sadly, Facebook is where most of them are, which means I don’t keep in touch very well since I try not to use fb.”

Be sure to turn on your post notifications and don’t be afraid to keep in touch. We love to chat!”

“Take care Bhai, hope we will keep in touch. there are lots of people who need your help.”

Stay in touch

When to say “stay in touch”

There might be other times when it would be more appropriate to say “stay in touch” rather than “keep in touch”. This is mainly used when you’re talking to somebody who you already speak to regularly.

Another common time to say “stay in touch” is talking to somebody who is about to move away. This is your way of saying, “I know we won’t be able to talk face to face often anymore, however, I still wish to maintain regular contact with you”.

The implication here is that you’re already “in touch,” and you want it to “stay” that way.

4 Examples of “stay in touch”

“Stay in touch with loved ones. Leave them alone a week with their fake @bbcnews and you’ll be left with a complete unenlightened bozo in need of some facts.”

“Hey there guys! Sorry for being afk, we hardly get time for elaborating Dogeberg Analytics. Hope you’ll stay in touch with us.”

“We will stay in touch only if you are willing to join just dm me whenever you are free and made up your mind.”

“It may not all be lost. I might know someone working on a decently-priced alternative. Feel free to add your email here to stay in touch:”

The rules about “stay in touch” or “keep in touch” aren’t absolute

We like to think that a lot of people read our articles. However, you should remember that the person who has just said “keep” or “stay” “in touch” might not have. Therefore, they might not know the rules.

What I’m saying is that the rules we’ve just spoken about are general, not absolute. Therefore, you should pay more attention to the tone of their voice than their precise words.

Someone saying “keep in touch” with sincerity is more likely to want to keep in contact than someone saying “stay in touch” nonchalantly.

Why do we say “in touch” to mean contact?

Does it ever strike you as a bit strange that we say “in touch” to mean “in contact”? Usually, when you talk to someone, you don’t need to be touching them to communicate.

The phrase “in touch” goes all the way back to the 18th century. During marches, soldiers would need to physically touch each other. When they were touching their fellow soldiers, they would have had to have good communication with them.

Over time, the term took on a more metaphorical meaning. And today, to keep “in touch” with someone just means to have regular communication.

The multiple definitions of “in touch”

There are two different definitions of “in touch”.

The first one, which this article has been about, relates to keeping in contact with someone. And we’ve already spoken about that one.

The other definition of “in touch” means, up to date, or in the real world. For example, if I’m into economics, I might say that I always keep myself “in touch” with the stock market. Some spiritual people might describe themselves as “in touch” with their inner child.

Likewise, a politician might be described as “in touch” with the working class.

The differences between Keeping and Staying

To better understand the difference between “keeping in touch” and “staying in touch”, it will help to analyse the difference between the definitions of “keeping” and “staying”.

When you keep something, you are maintaining possession of it. For example, if I find a penny on the floor, I might pick it up and “keep” it.

However, “stay” just means to remain. So, if I see that penny, I might decide that I want it to “stay” on the ground as I am not really interested in picking it up.

Keep is when something permanently changes ownership. Stay is when it remains with the same owner.


And those are the differences between “keeping in touch” and “staying in touch”. Hopefully, now, you’ll have a better idea of what to say at the end of your conversations.

However, it’s essential to use this article for general rules and not treat it as gospel. What people mean is determined more by their tone of voice than their actual words. If somebody sounds as though they wish to remain in contact, it doesn’t matter if they tell you to “keep” or “stay” in touch.

However, it’s still interesting to think about how phrases that sound similar can have slightly different meanings.

You may also like: 10 Professional Ways To Say “Let’s Keep In Touch”