Before I went out on a coffee date with the guy I’ve been seeing this afternoon, I told my parents I was going on a break-up date and would be home in a couple hours. They stared at me, with heads cocked to the left, perplexed.
“What the hell is a break-up date?” my father asked.
You see, Dad, a break-up date is self-explanatory. It’s s a date. Where you break up.
Why even have a date, you ask? It’s fairly simple. When you have respect for a person, there are certain conversations you shouldn’t broach via text message. The concept that this is inappropriate is totally foreign to many people in my generation. My beloved millennials…wealthy with media to communicate betwixt one another but piss poor in terms of communication skills.
When it comes to ending a relationship via text message, it can happen one of two ways. First, we have the slow fade, which one UrbanDictionary user defines suitably as “when you start ‘talking’ to someone but you realize you’re really not interested, so you ‘slowly fade’ out of the relationship and then out of their life.” The other textual-break-up option is flat out ending things via text, whether in a “serious textversation” or a random out-of-the-blue text, like what happened to my co-worker two weeks ago on her fifteen minute break at work. Rude.
This boy that I had to end things with this afternoon is a very nice boy, one that I would love to see again in a totally platonic, don’t-even-think-of-picking-up-the-check sort of way. He didn’t deserve the slow fade or a brusque text, and I knew that if I just ended things with a phone call, I would never see him again. So I suggested we meet for coffee and met him at my favorite little spot in town.
Upon arrival, I gave him the cheek. Planting a kiss on him would have been a lie in action—the whole point of this date was to end things. We chatted for a bit—friendly small talk—and got our drinks: I coffee and he hot cocoa.
There’s no point in wasting someone’s whole night when you’re going to end things with them, so after about a half hour of conversation, I picked up the check. This tidbit is very important if you’re the one calling things off: no need to break someone’s heart and make them pay for their goods. That’s bad form.
When I got back from paying and he mentioned going on another date, I went in for the kill. “This is where we need to talk,” I said. “Although I would love to grab dinner with you, it would be as just friends. I don’t have an interest in this going anywhere beyond that anymore.”
Yikes, I know, but wording is important. Don’t lie, don’t leave room for them to speculate if you’re only stepping away for a little while. If you have no interest in continuing a relationship, say so. Approaching the ending of a relationship with a “maybe” mindset is just as bad as the slow fade. Rip the Band-Aid off. Sure it stings, but when it’s over with, you can both move on.
The date ended in short order. He took it exactly as I would have—somewhat crestfallen yet with a head held high. I told him I ended it in person to preserve a potential friendship, which I wasn’t just saying out of obligation, but we’ll see if that friendship continues to bloom.
In short, here are the rules of a break-up date for the person calling it off:
- Keep it light and friendly, but not too friendly. Don’t kiss, don’t coo, don’t try to hold their hand. Those are lies in action. Avoid it before you broach the conversation.
- Don’t sugarcoat the end and leave room for speculation. Okay, okay, so I actually gave him a bunch of compliments surrounding the message that it was over for me, but I was blunt in telling him that I was no longer interested. Flat out. “You’re nice, you’re handsome, but I do not like you like that.”
- Pick up the tab. If you refuse this last part, you might as well have ended it via phone call. Being broken up with is like being fired. If he/she has been good to you, he/she deserves a severance package. In this case, his severance package was a delicious hot chocolate.
- Be respectful of their feelings. Let him/her speak. There’s a good chance this person is upset. That’s another reason to pick up the tab…is it possible to cry when being fed for free? I’m not sure. Okay, I am sure. It totally is. But who doesn’t like being treated?
- If possible, take separate vehicles. This is a no-brainer. If the end is messy, who wants to be in a confined space together?
We hugged goodbye and went our separate ways, still with the taste of our beverages on our lips. A solid end to things is a hell of a lot better than being led on. He enjoyed his hot chocolate, and hey, he’d never been to the coffee shop we met up at. I can only hope I provided him with a new date spot for his future sweethearts and a clean-slate to jump off of in his dating life.