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Thursday, March 7, 2013

But What Do I Say?


I read an article very recently by Chiara Atik called "The Five Worst Things to Say to Someone Who Just Went Through a Break-Up" (Article here).  Honestly, it was so on-point that I wish that I had written it myself.  So, I'm going to do my good deed by imparting this wisdom upon you.  This is for you friends out there struggling with the 'What Do I Say's' and for those of you who, like myself, have been through a break-up and find yourself listening to the five things you shouldn't (and don't want to) hear from your friends.  To summarize, the five no-no points are these:
1. “I never liked him anyway.”
2. Ultimately, this is going to be a good thing for you.”
3. “You can do so much better.”
4. “Now you can concentrate on your career.”
5. “What you need is a girls/boys night out!”
I'd like to add a few of my own.  Here's what not to say (and here's what the broken hearted is thinking):
1. “You dodged a bullet.”
While it may seem that way to you, this actually feels like taking a fucking bullet. 
2. How could you still love her?  She was fake.”
It wasn't fake to me, asshole.  I loved.  Truly.  Deeply.  Passionately.  I'm still struggling with what was real and what was not, but I know this for sure: MY love wasn't fake and MY loss feels very real.
3. “She sucks.  I hate her.”
So, not only am I suffering a broken heart but now I have to worry about YOUR feelings about her too?  Also, you're making me feel like an idiot for loving someone YOU hate.  Thanks.
4. “Yeah, while you guys were together, I heard that she…”
And this is helpful to me after the fact, HOW?  This only reinforces what I'm already feeling: a deaf, dumb and blind fool.
5. “Let's go out and get drunk/lap dances!”
First, I don't enjoy that kind of "entertainment" and you, as my friend, should know that about me.  Second, all I'm capable of right now is crying on the kitchen floor, so mustering up the energy to put on my make-up, get dressed and face a bar full of strangers or a club full of nasty-stripper-snatch is more than I can possibly bear.  And third, can I just please have a kind word and a hug??
To summarize, Ms. Atik recommends you stick to these helpful words instead:
1. I’m here whenever you want to talk.
2. Break ups are the worst thing in the world. The worst thing. I am so sorry you are going through this.
3. I know you want to be alone right now, so I’m sending you a care package of cool/distracting stuff and I’m on standby for whenever you want to hang out.
Here were some helpful words that I got from friends during the worst of it all:
1. "I'm rounding up some friends and we're going to cook you dinner and have a movie night.  Don't worry about anything, I'm taking care of it all."  And a group of my friends along with my sister all showed up with love, encouragement, "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and home-cooked food.
2. "You deserve to be taken out on a date."  And three of my closest did just that: they rallied around me, showered me with attention and light-hearted humor and took me to a blues club where we listened to BB King covers and ate fried chicken.
3. "You are not a burden.  I don't care how long you need to talk about your break-up.  I love you and I'm here to listen, even if it's all you can talk about for the next year."  The truth is that it takes a long time to get over your heartache; AND it takes a lot of talking to process through all of your feelings; AND after a few weeks, you may feel like you are a burden to your friends.  Your best friends will remind you that no matter how long you need or how much you can't stop talking about your heartbreak, you are not a burden, that you can take as long as you need to heal properly, and they'll love you and listen anyway.

Thanks to all of my friends for their solidarity, support and listening ears, even those of you who have occasionally broken the no-no rules.  Extra special thanks to my friends who NEVER broke the no-no rules.  You know who you are and I am eternally grateful.

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