7 things you should never say to a friend getting over a break-up

People go through break-ups. Some break-ups are dramatic, others are just kind of awkward, but they all suck. Sometimes the suckiness is assuaged by the bright company and uplifting words of a friend. Sometimes the suckiness is exacerbated by the oppressive company and joy-sucking words of a … friend?

Yes! Many times well-meaning friends are the ones that make the getting-over-them process all the more torturous.

Here are seven things you may find yourself saying to friends after a break-up that are guaranteed to pick at their heart sores and help the bad feels fester.

1. “Just saw [exes name] at Applebee’s.”

Creeping Joel Mchale GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

No one needs their riveting documentary on organic kumquat farming* interrupted by a text from you telling them about an ex sighting. Did the ex look good? That will make your friend feel foolish for still having residual sadness. Did the ex look bad? That will make your friend feel guilty and consider reaching out, which we all know would be disastrous. There’s just no purpose in it. Put down your phone and stop creepin!

2. “I’m surprised you stayed with them for as long as you did.”

Will Ferrell What An Idiot GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This sort of statement just tells your friend you think they were a desperate loser. Your friend is already mourning the time lost on romanticals with their ex, and you’re just rubbing salt on the wound.

3. Have you thought about taking a break from dating?”

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If your friend is one of those people who plunged into their first long term relationship in 3rd grade and still hasn’t come up for air, maybe this would be a legit question. Keep in mind that for many people,  being in a relationship is the exception to the single-as-a-dollar-bill  rule. So suggesting they take an official break from something they just timidly forayed into is silly and unwarranted.

4. “I never thought they were good for you.”

This is like telling your friend “I knew you would be hurt all along. I know better than you. Told ya so!” Too little too late!

5.  “You are probably sad because you guys were a great fit.”

Why Would You Say That New Girl GIF by hero0fwar - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thanks, Captain Obvs! Does your friend need to remember all the reasons they are missing the ex boo? They are now going to sob themselves to sleep thinking about how they’ll never find someone else with so much life-mate potential.

6. “Have you considered online dating?”

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If your friend was born after 1958, chances are they have considered online dating. But that’s not really the point anyway. A grieving friend does not need your pedanticism or problem solving, they need someone to listen for a while, give them a hug and say “that sucks, I’m sorry,” and then hand them a puppy.

7. “If you think this is bad, just wait until you experience a break up after 30!”

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What’s worse than complain-bragging?  Grief bragging! Which is in actuality grief dismissal. As I told someone once, “Knowing there’s a broken leg out there doesn’t make my stubbed toe hurt less.”

 

Which friend are you – an uplifting bright sunbeam or oppressive joy-sucking drizzle ? Study these seven, examine yourself, repent, and walk toward the light! 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*everyone grieves differently!

 

Why single people are selfish and crazy

I’m the youngest in my family, so almost all my sibs and cousins are full-blown adulting with kids and real jobs. When I visit with my fam, I’m  kinda blown away by how much having a hubs or wifie, and especially kiddos, requires so many sacrifices all throughout the day.

I have suffered with insomnia for oh.. at least 6 years.. so you can imagine I am a Belligerent Claire Bear when someone wakes me up after I finally do get to sleep. Yet when I visited my sister, she would be up and at ‘em like every 3 or 4 hours at all sorts of unholy hours of the night so that my niece could be fed, cuddled, etc.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself incredibly introverted, but I am a fan of my me-time. I’ve also grown very accustomed to doing what I want, when I want. Yet when I visited my cousin and his wife, they have to be “on” basically all day every day. If you start eating a sandwich, everyone wants a sandwich. When you’re sitting there reading, someone is going to want you to play with them, or watch them jump off the couch, or whatever.

It kinda fills me with awe to see my sis and cuzzo be so selfless – I am strained when I have to delay my din time by 45 minutes so I can eat with a friend. #sacrifices

“But can’t you just be a dutiful daughter, friend, volunteer,  or whatever?” you may ask. Yeah, sure. But at the end of the day, I still have almost full control over how my time is spent, when I eat, and what I do. People with a little nuclear fam don’t have that luxury. And I think because of that, they have a million bazillion more opportunities to be selfless than I do.

On top of that, people around you hold you accountable to a certain standard of normalcy. Right now if I want to eat a jar of pb for dinner, that’s my deal. If I want to put together a particularly tacky pj combo to sleep in, no one raises an eyebrow. If I decide to plan a super inefficient day, no one is there to say “Um, have you thought about doing it this way instead..?” So at the end of the day, even if I start out with the best intentions of being somewhat normal, over time I’m just going to start developing bizarre, idiosyncratic habits because I don’t get that daily feedback.

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So anyway, I’d like the marrieds to give us singletons a little slack. Yes we are selfish, yes we are crazy. But frankly, I think the noble virtues of selflessness and normalcy are not automatically attained without the external pressures of your own fam. We’re like the mantle of the earth just waiting for those deep source volcanic eruptions of fam life to turn us into sparkling diamonds.*

Oh! Singletons should give each other a little slack, too. I think sometimes we compare single men to our friends’ hubbies and we’re like “ewww so immature,” and maybe men look at single women and are like, “ugh so crazy.” It’s possible that the all the sane women and mature men have already married, leaving the rest of us to find our way in the circus of characters who are left. But I don’t think so.. I would like to oh-so-timidly suggest that being married can (often does?) change you into a better person. I think the tricky part is to figure out who will emerge like a radiant diamond and who will turn into ashy dust crumbles when the pressure is on. #realtalk

But.. bright side!!! .. in the meantime, I get this entire jar of pb to myself..!! Nom nom nom.

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If this doesn’t give you a shiver of pleasure, I don’t know what will. (thx pixabay)

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*I was originally going to use a lump of coal analogy, but the interwebs told me that the coal-into-diamonds idea is a myth. Wow! I’m sure most of you found that out in grade school, but my mind is BLOWN

How to be emotinally disabled forever

I talk a lot about how to Forget It and Drive On (aka FIDO), but I was recently convicted about how narrow minded I have been. Some of you don’t feel like FIDOing, but want to Remember and Stay Here (RASH). In honor of symmetry and inclusivity, I’m offering 10 steps that are guaranteed to kick any efforts at FIDOing right where it hurts. This is especially helpful for RASHing when it comes to romantical angst. Lean in and listen up!

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Poster RASH child. He’s even sitting down. (pixabay free image)

1) Talk about your heart break obsessively

Talk about it with your mom, sister, friends, hairstylist, Trader Joe’s cashier.. Don’t be duped by sneaky changes of subject – whenever anyone tries to distract you and talk about something uplifting, skillfully work around that positivity and drive your depressing convo down the court (SPORTS REFERENCE!! WHAT?!).

2) Create shrines in physical space 

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This is how you should think about your local Wendy’s (pixabay free image)

Did you used to get frosty’s with your ex-bf at your neighborhood Wendy’s? Make sure you declare this space Sacred and try to create as few new memories there as possible. That way, if/when you do find yourself at that Wendy’s, you can be flooded with memories of that person. When the moment is right, make sure you confide quietly to your friend group, “I’m sorry.. it’s just that.. we always used to come here for Frosty Friday.” Then let a gentle river of tears run down your cheeks. Quiver your lips for extra effect.

3) Picture obsess 

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Let’s pretend this dude is staring at a picture (pixabay free image)

Don’t let personal time go to waste doing anything productive or refreshing. Jump on the interwebs, and go through every picture you and your past love ever took together – especially ones that mark momentous occasions (e.g. the first night you kissed). Zoom in on the person’s face. Think about how great you looked together. Print out the pic that brings back the most painful, bittersweet memories, and post on your ceiling so it’s the first thing you see every morning.

4) Define yourself by your pain  

It’s important to make sure that this event defines you. You are no longer a 27 year old female with a PhD, you are a heart-broken 27 year old female with a PhD.

5) Never stop asking “But.. Why???!”

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This is the way to understand why she broke up with you. (this is a meme.. surely no copy-right issues here…?? PLEASE DON’T SUE ME)

Make every attempt to understand every action and intent that led to the situation. Whatever you do, never think to yourself “I may never know – that person’s behavior and those events could have arisen for several different reasons, and that’s okay.” No ma’am!  It is *not* okay! I suggest making a string-conspiracy board to figure it out.

6) Revel in the drama 

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^sepia is an excellent way to intensify your feels. (pixabay free image)

Whether you’re feeling sad, mad, guilty, jealous, etc., make sure you just dive headfirst in that ocean of dramatic feels. Make it clear to everyone that you are A LITTLE EMOTIONAL RIGHT NOW. One of my fave ways to do this is to post cryptic, depressing status updates on social media.

7) Split your life epochs around the event / person 

Thinking about your life in years, education (e.g. high school, college, grad school), or jobs will not do. The period of your life before you dated Jo-Jo is now “Pre- Jo-Jo” and the time after “Post- Jo-Jo”. Everything hinges on this event. It has split your heart, therefore it must split your life.

8) Refuse to cut your losses or accept that you may have been snookered (aka taken advantage of) 

If you think someone wronged you, obsess over how you could have avoided the situation in the first place, how you can seek revenge, or how you can avoid EVER being taken advantage of again. Bonus: guaranteed to ruin all future relationships, romantic or otherwise!

9) Make playlist of feelsy music

Think along the lines of James Blunt’s “Goodbye my Lover.” Whatever music gives you the feels and reminds you of the person, play it loud, play it proud, play it on a loop.

10) Binge watch movies and TV shows that give you the feels

Similarly, stick in that rom com or rom dram that reminds you the most of your relationship when it was happy, and let your ticker marinate in the misery. Think about how your reality was so close to whichever fictional story. Decide that you deserve for that fictional story to be your life.

Good luck, RASHers! Let me know how this goes for you!

Have any more useful RASH tips? Please send them into me!

 

I wish you all a life of discomfort and unease

If you are never uncomfortable, your body and soul will shrivel.

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I used to spend a large portion of my life avoiding situations and people who made me feel uncomfortable. For a while I was pretty successful, but I also succeeded at crafting a blank life. Now I don’t exactly enjoy the discomfort, but I accept it. My sage #gallowadvice to you all is to stop avoiding uncomfortable situations. If you are never uncomfortable, your body and soul will shrivel. Here are some examples from my own life.

Strength Training / Running

My body prefers to sit on a soft cushiony couch, in air conditioning. On the other hand, running until I feel like my heart is going to explode or lifting a weight even when my muscles are shaking is suck-y. But it makes me better. It enables me to do the things I really enjoy, like hiking. It helps me help other people, like by helping a friend move. It helps me live longer so I can continue blessing the world with my existence, like by writing brilliant nonsense for 10 people to enjoy each week. Exercise is uncomfortable, but it is confidence boosting, gives me more energy, opens up new opportunities for me to enjoy life, and keeps me around longer (lucky you). Most importantly, it makes me a sleek tigress.

Public Speaking

My anxiety around public speaking used to be really, really severe. When I was in college and the professor of a class wanted us to go around the room and introduce ourselves, I would hide in the bathroom until I was sure enough time had passed that we would have moved on to a different activity. Even now, I get pretty worked up about any speaking engagement, whether it’s to a group of five faculty or giving a guest lecture to 150 bored undergrads. I sweat, listen to Eye of the Tiger, and do push-ups in my office to use up my wild nervous energy. Yet, almost every speaking engagement I’ve had in the past 3 years or so has been really successful. Presentations on my research are good for my career. Leading a discussion or giving a lecture can be confidence boosting. My audiences almost always give me overwhelmingly positive feedback. And sometimes, my presentations are required so that I can check a box and move that much closer to graduation. Public speaking is uncomfortable, but has preceded pretty much every accomplishment or noteworthy success in the past 6 years of my life.

Being friends with leftists

Look y’all, I wish I had the luxury of believing that everyone who disagreed with me was either evil, an idiot, or both. But I don’t. I know super intelligent, kind people – even people who share the same faith as me – who have radically different views on how government should work and what policies promote human flourishing. Knowing this forces me to revisit my own hard-set beliefs, think more deeply about how I came to that conclusion, and identify the assumptions my reasoning is based on – and evaluate whether those are correct or not. It’s irritating. But it’s helped me refine what I believe and become better able to communicate with people who don’t share the same underlying assumptions about life as I do. Being friends with leftists is uncomfortable, but it sharpens me.

Being a Christian in academia

Along the same lines, being a person who believes there is a supernatural reality while pursuing a career in a field that limits reality to whatever is material, observable, and generally repeatable is.. awkward. It has forced me to think about really difficult questions about my faith, from broadly abstract and philosophical to narrowly applied and practical. Sometimes I wish I could live in a community in which everyone has the same baseline assumptions about how the world works, why we’re here, and what comprises reality. But I think that would make me intellectually and spiritually complacent, and I never would have been motivated to seek out answers to really irritating and scary questions. Being a Christian in academia is uncomfortable, but it has actually strengthened my faith overall to know it can hold up under fire.

Having friends and family

People ask things of me. They disrupt my schedule. They want me to eat foods I wouldn’t normally eat at times I wouldn’t normally want to eat. They hurt my feels. They drain my energy, especially when they are going through rough times. They take up my precious time. But a life without those inconveniences is.. empty. Making sacrifices for my friends and family can be uncomfortable, but my friends and family are my support, a large part of my purpose in life, and a large source of my lolz.

**SURPRISE TWIST**

I also hope that I make you uncomfortable. Why? Because in the hyper-offendable culture of the present day, the only  way you can possibly avoid making someone uncomfortable is to stop saying or doing anything. I used to add “of importance,” but people actually get worked up about this blog sometimes, y’all. Thus proving that even the nonsensical of all nonsense can rub someone the wrong way. Not that I go out of my way to offend people, but I also will not delete posts that I believe in (yes, I “believe” even in the silly ones). Doing and saying things makes people uncomfortable, but doing and saying stuff – especially of importance – is worth enduring a little push back.

So my darling readers, I urge you to review your life and notice how discomfort and struggle are the annoying but necessary parents to success, action, depth, and joy. And now with a tear in my eye and love in my heart — I wish you all moderate discomfort, today and forevermore.  ❤