Is Lying the Humane Option When Ending a Relationship?

I was using my usual Crock Pot method of dumping: low and slow and passive aggressive until nothing is left but a warm, palatable slurry.

Sep 21, 2012 at 2:00pm | Leave a comment

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An apt visual metaphor for my people skills!


HI GUYS. It's me. How are you today? Good? Well, that's about to change, because you're about to watch this commercial right here:



If you're unable or unwilling to watch this Citi ad, let me recap it for you. A woman breaks up with a man because he is boring (she says boring a couple times for emphasis) so he goes on a spending spree of... rewards points? That he uses to go to a museum? And see an Alicia Keys concert? And take a cooking class? The whole thing ends when Alicia Keys gives him a flirty once over. ("Uh, what the HELL, Alicia?" - Swizz Beatz, probably!)

I mean, obviously nobody really breaks up this way because we aren't sociopaths*, and clearly you would never really dump a dude who uses his credit card reward points to take a cooking class. You just don't let a man like that go.

But, it was particularly resonant for me, because I just got into an argument with my throuple (my two friends with whom I am unnaturally close) about how honest to be when you're giving somebody the brush off.

Personally, I would rather someone lie to me and tell me I am amazing and sexually desirable even if they don't feel that this is so. See how I phrased that sentence so I didn't even have to TYPE that someone might not like me? Clearly I have a bit of an issue here.

Perhaps this is why I have a tendency to get into trouble with breakups and casual relationshippal no-thank-yous. I have, on multiple occasions, made out with somebody as a way to end a date. I think of it as punctuation, a kind of "And now I can go home," but I do see in retrospect how it could be confusing.

I have definitely gone out with people before where I thought, "Well, that was fun. I hope I see that person again" only to have him or her call me again never. This is when I will invent an elaborate scenario in which he or she desperately want to call me but are in some kind of round-the-world hot air balloon race or is dead. People who don't want to see you nude: They're wherever you can imagineer them to be!

But, I don't just do the humane thing and tell a lie that we both know is a lie. I may not be able to commit to a human being but man, you should see me with an emotional charade. We all know that "food poisoning" is code for, "I hate you and I never want to see you again," so if somebody's like, "I had a great time. What are you doing Wednesday?" I am like, "Going out with you!" Then Tuesday I have a meeting or something, because I'm a monster.

Luckily, I am actually a decently busy person so it don't have to go to the trouble of inventing Facebook invites or booking shows or something. I worry though that a lot of this has less to do with the fact that I am extremely nice and more to do with the fact that I am an extreme poonani.

My friend Scottberg has literally stopped a date midway through and said that she didn't think it was working out and that she was going to leave. She told me about it and I acted like she said she had ordered a piping hot gratin pan of creamed spinach, unzipped her pants, and dipped her nuts in it. I just cannot fathom of doing this. The worst part is that the guy was like, "But I was having a good time!" Of course you were, you poor sad bastard, you were on a date with Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Another friend of mine is a masochist and routinely sends follow-up emails to girls who never call him back, wanting to know what exactly about him they found distasteful. He also thinks that when you give somebody the kiss-off, even if it's just after a lone date, you should provide them with a constructive reason why. As in, "Thanks, you seem really nice, but I can't be with somebody who complains about her job this much," or "I was a little put-off when you brought up your ex." I mean, why not just give a bunch of sorority girls a Sharpie, strip naked, and ask them to circle your figure flaws?

On a less ice-cold level, I was involved in a horrifically intense debate with two friends as to how to dispatch with a very nice guy who was kind of not getting the hint. We have a lot of mutual friends and I see him a lot, and I was using my usual Crock Pot method of dumping: low and slow and passive aggressive until nothing is left but a warm, palatable slurry.

This is basically how the conversation was going. We'll call him "Wyclef," for the sake of anonymity and also because it is funny.

WYCLEF: I had a nice time.
JULIEANNE SMOLINSKI: Your eyes are like brown emeralds. Your hair, like the pubic curls of the seraphim.
WYCLEF: Do you want to go see "Hope Springs" with me?
JULIEANNE SMOLINSKI: I'm deep in love with you. I am busy every night this week.
WYCLEF: Oh, that sucks. You're not trying to shake me off, are you?
JULIEANNE SMOLINSKI: I just went off the pill. Please don't masturbate until you see me so as to increase the chance of conception.

I mean, not like that. But he did ask me if we could hang out and I did say, "That would be fun," or something which I guess he weirdly took to mean that I wanted to hang out. After a week or two of me alternately ignoring him and apologizing for not being around, I figured this guy would be exhausted by my gossamer web of lies and platitudes. When he was still persisting, I sort of felt bad.

My friends thought I was being a dick, and that "Take the hint" is not a respectful way to treat a person. My friend Walshie even suggested that I send an email telling him the following (quoting her verbatim here): "Thank you for the email, [Wyclef]. I'm really flattered that you're interested in me, but unfortunately I don't think it's going to work out between us. Best of luck with everything, and let me know if you need anything else work-wise."

BEST OF LUCK WITH EVERYTHING.

I know there's some sort of happy medium here, but I would rather a person break a sheet of plate glass on my head than "best of luck with everything" me.

I feel like giving somebody the Slow Fade is like a humane way to say, "Hey, I like you enough that I don't want to hurt your feelings, but not SO much that I want to see you ever again." It's like the interpersonal version of the courtesy honk you give somebody who sits at a green light too long. Oh, you hate your job? Mmmm next week is really busy for me. And oh no, I have strep. CUTE SHORT VOLKSWAGEN JETTA BEEP!

This is probably why I am alone. 

I don't know guys. Do you buy the cruel-to-be kind thing? How do you like to be dumped? Do you want to go out with me? Do you like me? Do you think I'm boring? See you at the Alicia Keys show.

*HAHAHAHAH SPEAK FOR YOURSELF JULIEANNE, AM RIGHT?