Things You Should Never Say During a Break-Up
So far, your breakup conversation is going great. You’ve managed to avoid clichés like “It’s not you, it’s me” and “I love you, I’m just not in love with you.” Nobody has cried yet, and you’re thinking you just might make it out of here without her bringing up the Xbox she just bought you, which you would very much like to keep. What now?
Breaking up is hard to do, but wrapping up a breakup is even harder. One ex-boyfriend, at a loss for how to end our breakup summit, stood up and said, “Be well.” (“And thank you for shopping at CVS,” I added in my head.) I once panicked and filled the breakup silence with “Are we good?” after saying my piece—we were not good. On one hand, what you say now doesn’t really matter: You’ve already quit, so they can’t fire you. On the other hand, it’s usually in these final moments, when you’ve already delivered the speech you’ve been rehearsing in front of the mirror for a few days, that a reckless grenade slips out, causing a mature, adult conversation to spiral into a bilious back-and-forth. Here are six of those grenades, to be avoided at all costs:
“Will you be okay?”
Even if she won’t be okay—even if a day after your breakup she’ll get a dramatic haircut that she immediately hates and she’ll spend the next three to six weeks watching Law & Order, swaddled in her weighted blanket—she probably wants you to think she’ll be okay. “Will you be okay?” sounds a little self-aggrandizing. What she hears is, “How will you survive without the divine blessing of my presence? Without this chiseled bod and righteous beard?” If you want to sound concerned without sounding condescending, say: “If you need to talk, I’m around.”
“You’re going to find someone so much better for you.”
The last thing I want to think about when I’m being dumped is the fact that I’m about to be single again. Unless you are prepared to offer up the names and contact information of several viable rebounds I might consider, keep the “so many fish in the sea” wisdom to yourself. Right after you’re done talking, I’m going to go kvetch about all your flaws to my friends. When they say I’ll meet someone better, I’ll be touched and soothed. When you say it, I’ll burst into tears and then spend the next few hours wondering whether you’ve already met someone else.