1. Develop an intense new obsession
You know what beats talking about the soul-crushing pit of despair inside your heart? Talking about the SUPER COOL NEW PROJECT you’re working on. Your significant other? Yeah, you guys broke up. But it’s for the best because if you were still together you wouldn’t have nearly as much time to work on the cool new thing that you’re doing. It’s basically taken over your life. Who has time for a relationship anyway? Not you.
2. Rehearse an inspirational speech
The thing about sympathetic people is that they expect you to disintegrate into a blubbering mess the moment you’re shown compassion. Which works if talking about your feelings is what you want to do. Otherwise you’re going to have to rehearse a riveting speech that throws them entirely off course.
“Breaking up was the best thing that ever happened to me! I’ve seen the light! I do yoga now! I feel amazing! My Netflix keeps me warm at night!”
None of these things are true. But it helps with the ‘Aw, poor you’ looks that you don’t want any part in.
3. Pretend it was their own idea
“I broke up with them.”
People ask fewer questions.
4. Start seeing someone new
What better a way to dull the excruciating pain of a break up than by getting excited about a whole new human being? Rebounding may not be a long-term solution but it sure does work as a short-term fix. Sometimes you just need to remember that love doesn’t always feel like getting run over by a train. Plus “I’m seeing someone new!” Is a much better conversation piece than “I want to crawl into a dark hole and cry for the rest of my life.” You’re having fun and nobody else is asking questions (To your face). Problem solved.
5. Be HILARIOUS about it
People are going to ask you if you miss your ex (Because people are invasive as fuck) and you are going to have to answer them. Of course talking about how you’re feeling makes you want to jump down a well, so you come up with a series of completely unfunny jokes to cover your tracks. “I miss having three meals a day made for me, AM I RIGHT?” You’ll say. And everyone will know you’re not right. They can smell the sadness through your horrible punch lines, which is why this tactic is usually only used as a last resort.
I’m not condoning running away from all your problems but a change of scenery can actually be good after a break up (For those of us who are a wee bit avoidant). Whether it’s moving apartments, moving jobs, moving across the country or simple re-structuring your life to make it seem like a different experience, there’s a comfort in finding new things to be uncertain about. You don’t want your relationship status to be the only thing up in the air. Might as well toss your whole life up into the sky and see where the pieces land.
7. Become incredibly attached to their social life
When your friend has just had a break up and they ask you to join them for brunch for nine o’clock, shopping at ten, coffee at one, a hike during the afternoon, dinner reservations in the early evening and a dance club at night, they are trying to tell you something. That something is, “I am incapable of processing my emotions like a regular human being. I need you to join me on a list of extravagant adventures that allow me to put misery out of my mind until several months from now when I will inevitably collapse with despair in the middle of the grocery store because the Organic peaches that he used to eat are on sale and I no longer have a reason to buy them. Then, and only then, will I finally be okay.” In the meantime, their never-ending social agenda is a cry for help. One that can be answered through enthusiastic participation… and a gentle understanding that they’re about ten times less okay than they’re pretending to be.
8. Secretly die inside
Just because we don’t like to TALK about how we’re feeling doesn’t mean we don’t feel pain. Breakups suck for everyone and a bit of emotional avoidance is actually a part of the healing process for many people. We need patience, space and time to work through the changes that are happening in our lives. One day we’ll be ready to talk. That day just may not be today.