1. Don’t listen to Beyoncé’s “I Miss You”
There are a whole slew of songs you should steer clear of during a break up. Like, I don’t know, ANYTHING ever recorded, EVER, by Celine Dion? Or “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen—that’ll do a real number on you. “Thinkin’ Bout You” by Frank Ocean, “Everytime” by Britney Spears, the list goes on. But perhaps the worst song you could ever listen to is Beyoncé’s “I Miss You” (re: “I thought that things like this get better with time / But I still need you, why is that? / You’re the only image in my mind / So I still see you…around / I miss you like everyday / Wanna be with you, but you’re away / Said I miss you, missing you insane / But if I got with you, could it feel the same?”). Instant tears. Don’t do it.
2. While you’re at it, just avoid Beyoncé altogether
Or at least for a little while. Or, you know, you could not take my advice and just totally go HAM on her tumblr. Yeah, seriously, go ahead do it. You’ll get to see what the opposite of misery and your life looks like; it’ll be fun.
3. Avoid third wheeling
Which, let me tell you, gets harder and harder with each passing day as all of your best friends get plucked up like little lilacs out of dirt. Still, you’re going to want to avoid this if, for nothing else, than to shroud your poor ears from cutesy nicknames or from the song that they plan to play at their unplanned wedding. Which brings me to number 4…
4. Don’t go to weddings
Do I really need to explain this one?
5. Don’t take Xanax
Around this time you’re probably wondering which type of substance abuse is most advantageous to undertake at the moment. Personally, I would urge you to stay away from Xanax (or, Alprazolam). Yes, there’s the slight possibility that it will make all of your deepest anxieties seem like trivialities, or that you’ll feel compelled to use your credit card with the discretion of a Kardashian, but there’s an even greater possibility that it will plunge you into a state of catatonic lethargy. Waking up with the rage of a truck driver isn’t too much fun either.
6. Same goes for Benadryl
You will lose sight of sanity.
7. Don’t go cray cray on your ex
Easier said than done, but still worth reiterating. If you’re about to send him a diatribe in text message form, send it to your best friend instead. It’s much harder for a friend to break up with you.
8. Don’t cry at the office
If you’re one of the lucky 20-somethings who happen to have a job, do us all a favor and just don’t cry at work. You might think, “Who, me?! Cry at work?!” Which is precisely what I thought and which will leave you weeping at your desk in no time. Accept the possibility, and don’t let it happen. Your co-workers will feel awkward.
9. Don’t wallow…especially in his clothes
If you happen to have sartorial remnants of your ex scattered about your home, you’re going to want to gather them all up and put them in a safe, yet unreachable spot. The urge to wear his underwear and t-shirts around the house—to casually roll around with them in bed and smell them until your nostril hairs are burned off—will be strong. Exercise restraint.
10. Don’t force yourself to have casual sex
Because chances are you’ll start crying, try to spoon him after, or something weird like that. Not a good look.
11. But also, don’t dive right into another relationship
The pleasure and sense of relief you might get by doing this will be strong, but fleeting. It’s like the whole band-aid solution—you’re not allowing yourself to fully heal from the break up.
12. Don’t stalk him
That means on social media or in person. After a break up it’s easy to slip imperceptibly into Swimfan mode without even realizing it. Well take note—DON’T. Don’t get into the habit of checking his Facebook page every time you sign in, because this will soon become second nature and, eventually, an impulse you’ll perform like clockwork. But also, don’t underestimate the weirdness of stalking in person too. Don’t be that girl who shows up to a party he’s at and stands in the corner the whole time watching his every move. Know why? Because it’s creepy.
13. Don’t sift through your old photos
There’s a reason for the phrase, “A picture tells a thousand stories.” Pictures are able to tell a ton of stories because you can extend your imagination and suspend disbelief. Looking at old photos won’t bring to mind that time he cheated on you. Looking at old photos of you and your ex will help you forget the bad times, remember the good times, and cloak all of your memories in illusions.
14. Don’t try and show off “how happy you are” via social media
You might not think it’s transparent, but trust me, it is.
15. Don’t not have that joint
Just don’t. Just blaze.
16. Don’t “oops wrong text” him
Girl, I KNOW I didn’t just hear what I think I heard. That you intentionally sent him the text message that was meant for your best friend. I know right now it seems like a great jealousy-inducing ploy, texting him, “Hey, you on your way?” followed by a “oops wrong text,” but in actuality, it’s not. Instead, go grab yourself a mountain dew because bitch you THIRST-AY.
17. Don’t expect any grand gestures
Again, with the whole suspending disbelief thing—just don’t do it. After break ups it’s easy to let yourself slip into romantic mode and be consumed by fantasies. Well, snap out of it. When you open your front door tonight, little Miss Voldemort, your live-in cockroach, will still be there waiting for you, as will that half-eaten funfetti cake. And you know what won’t be at home waiting for you? Your ex, with a bouquet of flowers, a hand-written sonnet and a bathtub filled with fluff. Don’t get it twisted.
18. Don’t watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Um, why? I don’t know, maybe because the movie’s entire marketing strategy was based on lies?! In the beginning everything is cool. Jason Segel was broken up with, his sweatpants match the color of your underwear that you haven’t taken off in a week…you know how it is. They got you right where it hurts. They pull you in and get you right where they want you…only to have your eyes pissed on at the sight of unexpected and pure, unadulterated love. At the end of those two hours, Jason Segel will have found himself Mila Kunis. But you will still be on your couch, alone, and with that toblerone.