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April 10

Too much information

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:04 am

Inconvenient truths from February 2, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I just broke it off with the guy I was seeing and the reason that I gave him is that we didn’t click. But I also thought that he was annoying. So I told him the truth about that and now he hates me for being honest. Did I do the right thing?

— Turtle Girl

Dear Turtle Girl,

Ah, the old “We don’t click.” As Buffy might say, “You wanna vague that up for me?” It is indeed a maddeningly fuzzy thing for a dumpee to hear. Dumpees: you always want to know WHY, like, in the form of an itemized list of grievances. First of all, sometimes dumpers really don’t know why; “gut feelings,” “chemistry,” and “click”-age are mysterious, yet perfectly legitimate phenomena. But when dumpers do have reasons, well, you think you want to know, but you really don’t (much like how we think we want to know how many people our partner has slept with).

See, there’s information, and there’s too much information. Breakup Girl does not recommend sugar-coating a breakup speech to the point where the only logical response is, “Well, if I’m that great, then why are you dumping me?” At the other extreme, she also does not recommend divulging stuff, even in the interest of clarification, that will just make things more sour. You need to give them enough to go on, but not enough to go off on. I mean, you’re leaving anyway, so it’s not like “you’re annoying” is something you guys are going to “work on.” You dumpers should all ask yourselves: “Are the beans I’m about to spill going to be helpful — or hurtful?”

Still, Turtle Girl, it seems like you did at least what you thought was right. And listen, dumpees: if you lobby for the itemized list, no fair getting mad at them for giving it to you.

Breakup Girl


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