Aug 5, 2012

[Technicolor Musings] 5 Things You Probably Don't Want to Hear After a Break-Up

Friends are funny creatures in this social web we call life. They're there in both good times and bad and they get to see us at our best and at our worst. And while even the definition of the term friend continues to evolve with the advent of social media and the ability have literally thousands of "friends" on Facebook or wherever, this social construct remains a staple is most of our lives, whether we like it or not.



It gets tricky after a break-up since (1) clearly it is a highly emotional period, (2) it's a time when you may need a lot of emotional support but (3) it's also a very, very personal matter at the same time. Thus without thinking, friends and other acquaintances will inevitably first ask you "What happened?" before fully consindering a more sensitive response. And thus we, those who are dealing with the break-up first hand, learn to give somewhat "standard" responses based on just how close you actually are with the person that you're talking to.

But friends being friends, they will inevitably stumle across less than ideal ways of showing support for you or trying to cheer you up. And give how the past week or so has gone for me, I thought it might be fun to note a few of them down.

So here's my rundown of things that are meant to cheer you up but you probably don't want to hear after a break-up.


You can do so much better - So wait, are you trying to say that I demonstrated bad taste when I decided to get together with this guy? Are we rating my relationships now based on how hot the guy is? I mean come on, if that were the case I can't imagine how I would rate among his friends, right? No matter how bad the break-up, remember that these two individuals loved each other, and to some extent still do.

I never liked him from the very beginning - Now this is a tricky statement, but in general you need to be prepared to back it up. If you really didn't like this guy for me, did you mention anything before? As my dear close friend, shouldn'y you have tried to caution me or express your opinion out of concern for me? and I know it's difficult, I get that. But did you at least try? We're talking about consistency here. Don't just sweep in at the last minute to join the pity party.

Well, this was inevitable - Gee, thanks for betting against my relationship here. What a great way of showing your support for a friend. If you were so pessimistic about my chances, why were you all nice and buddy-buddy with my ex while we were still together? What the heck was that? Were you just watching this trainwreck about to happen and decided to get popcorn and chips to make the show more enjoyable?

Want me to hook you up with _____ - I'm not sure what kind of a perscriptive period we need to set here, but in general I doubt it's good form to try and throw your friend back into the dating game with a blind date immediately after a break-up. These are sensitive times when the person first needs to find himself and reconnect to what matters to him. Don't go rushing to get him to risk his heart again.

The last item, which is a general one I know, is don't bash the ex-boyfriend. Outside of relationships that died due to physical abuse (and sometimes not even this), it's generally bad form to start heaping loads and loads of insults and assumptive judgements on your friend's ex. You weren't in the relationship. You didn't witness both the good times and the bad times. You simply don't know enough to make a definitive statement here.

Plus there's the fact that you can't forget they loved each other at some point and we have to respect the sincerity of those emotions, even if only for a short time. And when you go off insulting and making fun of his ex, you're not always making him feel better. To some extent, you're also making him feel worse about having gotten involved with the ex in the first place.

And life is far too short for such regrets.

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