Ah, those sad autumn days of a relationship, when the spark has vanished, the flower has withered, the stream has dried up, and other cliché metaphors have occurred. In short, you want to get the hell out there as quickly as possible with minimal mess — much like a skilled assassin who’s completely botched his job. And like that skilled assassin, you might be tempted to detonate an explosive, punch some dude in the face, and go diving out of the way like a complete badass. Unfortunately, that approach can lead to some problems, especially in a field as delicate as love and/or political assassination. To make the best of a bad situation, try to avoid the following techniques when you end a relationship.
Photo credit: stamina, Flickr
Messaging a girl and then unfriending her on Facebook shows that the relationship is over in an understandable manner. This is true. Another option would be using words to express yourself like a competent adult. But if you’re going for the “I have the interpersonal skills of a high school freshman” route, then by all means.
Think of all of the great break-up scenes that have occurred over the years in cinema. There’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Gone With the Wind. Now think of the ones that are done by phone. There’s…erm… maybe You Got Mail? No…that wouldn’t make any sense. Huh. Apparently ending a meaningful long-term relationship by phone is cowardly and leaves everyone feeling vaguely dirty, which is probably why it shouldn’t be done. Go figure.
Pro: Gives you the easy out of saying “there’s someone else.” Con: Eventually makes two girls think you’re a horrible person with absolutely no concept of human decency. Decisions, decisions.
Ending a relationship by first drowning someone in compliments is just plain deceptive. Think about it this way: You take her out to a baseball game. Between innings you point out the scoreboard. “Jennifer” it says, flashing her name. Her heart melts. “Will you…” it continues. Tears well up in her eyes. “Move your stuff out of my place ASAP?” She looks at you in confusion. “…by Friday if possible? I want to have enough space for my taco-making party.” Is that something you’re interested in doing? No? Then you probably shouldn’t open up the end of your relationship by flattering her. Be frank. The relationship is over.
Here’s the flipside: being straightforward doesn’t mean you have to unload on her. If you’ve always secretly been annoyed by her love of 2 Broke Girls, you can keep that under wraps. If her use of the phrase “JK” in conversations gets under your skin, now might not be the time to bring it up. If her passing of DARPA secrets to Chinese agents just totally ticks you off then — wait...in that case you should probably contact the CIA immediately. Otherwise, though, it’s okay to show some common courtesy and discretion.
Hiding every time she comes around instead of telling her directly how you feel isn’t only cowardly, it’s also kind of creepy. “Okay,” you’re thinking, “but weren’t you just telling me that I was some kind of transcendentally skilled assassin? Now I can’t sneak around? Be consistent with your metaphors for God’s sake.” Touché tenured English professor/Guyism reader. I was not conscious you existed.
You’re out at your favorite dinner spot (Popeye’s) sharing a romantic meal (27 pieces of fried chicken eaten consecutively), when you decide to lay the news on her. It’s over. As a conciliation, you two get to share dinner together for the next hour. On paper, it all sounds incredible. But unfortunately, the awkward silences, extreme public space, and strained decorum makes dinner at a restaurant the worst possible time to end a relationship.