Turning Heads

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‘How’s it going with Orla?’ I ask.CC Image courtesy of utnapistim on Flickr

‘We exchanged a couple of emails today.’

‘That’s good.  It’s when they’re one-way that you have to worry.’

‘It’s not good,’ he says.

‘Oh – why?’

‘She dumped me.’

‘Oh.  I’m sorry.  What did she say?’

‘That she’s too busy for a romantic relationship… I know what that means of course.  It means she doesn’t like me enough.  Because no one’s too busy for the right person.’

‘Err, well, errrr…’ What do you say to that?  ‘… yeah, well, you’ve kinda hit the nail on the head there.’  Not that.  ‘Aaaw I’m sorry.’  Better.

‘I don’t understand.  She just turned!  It was perfect – and then it wasn’t.  I hate women!’

‘Men do it too!  Look at Joe – he turned.’  Literally, in the street.  ‘We’re all fucking ballerinas.’  Poetic.  ‘It may well have been the ex thing, like you said.’

He’d told me the other day that he thought she might be getting back together with her ex.

‘Yeah, well, I’m gonna run with that,’ he says.

‘Yeah, good plan… and come dancing tomorrow!  It’s a good distraction from this kind of thing.’

It’s not, but I’d like you to be there.

CC Image courtesy of bichxa on Flickr

7 thoughts on “Turning Heads

  1. I used to hate the “I’m too busy for a relationship, I need to focus on my career” lies but I don’t think I could handle the truth either. Nobody wants to hear “you’re boring and ugly, I’d rather spend time with a hot blonde”.
    So is there an appropriate break up vocabulary?

    • Hi B (for Brunette?),

      So, appropriate break-up vocabulary… I liked Joe’s approach because it was:

      1. Honest and direct – none of the ‘I’m too busy’ stuff, which I appreciated.
      2. Unambiguous (see below).
      3. Succinct, if you discount the three-hour date that went before.
      4. Face-to-face, which both earns, and shows respect. (And in the street, which makes for an easy getaway.)
      5. Impersonal and neutral – it’s easier to hear about ‘it’, than ‘me’ and ‘you’.
      6. Complimentary and ego-boosting (in so far as a break-up can be!) – he said I was great and that he wanted to be friends. NB: Try not to offer friendship unless you really mean it.

      Avoid saying anything that implies you are too busy/ not looking for a relationship, because next thing the dumpee knows, you’re in a relationship with somebody else, and all that good work they did to get over you will suddenly go out the window (see When Harry Met Sally).

      Most importantly, make your meaning clear: the cruellest thing you can do in this situation is give someone false hope. If you do slip into clichés, like ‘it’s not you, it’s me’, and ‘I don’t want to lead you on’, just make sure the other person has got the right message. And I do NOT mean that literally (see #4)!

      Hope that helps!

      A fellow brunette

      P.S. Just because someone breaks up with you, it doesn’t mean you’re boring, ugly, and unattractive. I hope…

  2. Well, Lily A., that’s fine as long as you don’t hit below the belt and tell him he’s bad in bed, because that’s really not fair.

  3. Thanks MBE: now I have Track 8 stuck in my head. It’s so catchy but really not one to be singing in the office!

    B: It would be his fault for being so selfish!

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