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July 2

How to turn someone down nicely

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:25 am

Being nice on October 19, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

With all your immense wisdom, can you PLEASE let us in on the secret of turning someone down nicely? There is nothing I hate worse than trying to explain to gentlemen friends that I’m not interested. Is it all right to tell a tiny white lie in these situations? Like, “Actually, I’m leaving for a remote area in Africa tomorrow so I can’t go out this weekend?” Well, you get the point. Please help!

— Not Interested

Dear Not Interested,

The Africa thing is risky, as a plucky suitor may up and offer you his international cell phone.

Here are some examples of acceptable lies:

1. “I had a great time.”

2. “Dinner? Well, actually, I think it would be so much more meaningful if you came over and acted out a new dramatization of Diana’s Last Days that I’ve just completed. I’ve already highlighted your lines in pink. How’s sevenish?

3. “I’m not in a very relationship place right now.” (As in, standing here, right now, talking to you.)

Basically, though, NI, it’s not about lying, it’s about not telling the whole truth. If that’s what it takes to be nice. And early on, that’s all you owe your gentlemen callers. No Explanations — and definitely no elaborate Excuses — but simply a “You know what, that’s very kind, but I’m going to pass. Thanks, though.” In this case, being clear, even blunt, is being nice.

Breakup Girl


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).



December 5

What to expect when you’re rejecting

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:11 am

Classic LetterDealing with nice guys on January 19, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,
How do I tell a guy-friend that I’m not interested in him romantically without using that awful cliché, “I like you, but only as a friend.”? I know guys hate to hear that phrase.
— Katherine

Dear Katherine,
You are absolutely right. Say anything but. I mean, if you’re going to say that, heck, you might as well say, “You’ve always been sort of a Richard Simmons figure in my life.” This is one of the rare scenarios where Breakup Girl does advocate telling an itty bitty dignity-preserving white lie. Seriously. Tell him you’re not interested, tell him you’re interested in someone else, tell him you’re in love with The Lord … just do not use the word “friend.” (Or, for that matter, “nice.”) If you don’t believe me, read the next letter.
Breakup Girl


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