Tuesday, June 4, 2013

After revisiting the wonders of Happy Endings: Season One (seriously check it out, even though the show has been cancelled), I was inspired to analyze the two break up styles utilized by everyone, including yours truly and even the writers of that phenomenal show.

If you're reading this, odds are you've been in a relationship or dated someone. And if that's the case, you've experienced what I refer to as The Conversation, or the infamous Petering Out. When it comes to dating, or the end of dating someone, there are only two ways to end things (see above). Obviously The Conversation forces the person to fess up and be honest with the other person, which for some people is great. Petering Out is the road more often traveled when things were kept pretty light and casual, the eventual fading out of the other person's life. The span between calls, hang outs, and texts grows until they finally stop. No potentially awkward conversation or confrontation, just easing out of it.

The question is, which is better?

Obviously, certain situations demand specifics. You say you've been in a relationship for a year? I swear, if you try to Peter Out I will find you and slap you. You better be writing that speech and be prepared to sit down and converse. You've only been on a few dates? Absolutely let that slide; the other will get over it.

But what about that murky in between? It never got that serious but lasted for a bit, you got pretty close. Or what if you run in the same circle of friends? You know you'll see the other person again, so which route do you take? Do you chance petering out even though you're inevitably going to talk again or do you give them the speech and hope it negates any future awkwardness?

In the span of writing this, I've gone back and forth on which I prefer more times than I've used question marks (go back and count them, it's a lot). I'm a fan of The Conversation because, even though it could be uncomfortable (is there ever a situation like this in which it's not?), both parties know that nothing more is going to happen. It's done, kaput, finito. You could also make it quick and rip that band-aid off; "I don't think we should see each other anymore" or the classic "This just isn't going to happen, but you're great!" click. Perhaps the best way to approach the conversation is looking at it from a timeline - avoid awkward face to face rejection and do it on the phone if you've gone out on a handful of dates. Otherwise, it's probably progressed enough that you should do it face to face.

As more time has elapsed, I think Petering Out is what you reserve for the casual encounters that could have amounted to something but one of you, or both of you, aren't wanting to take it there. Or maybe you realize the other person is not your cuppa tea and since it was never that serious, you decide to just let it slowly fall through the cracks. I think I'd save this card for the interactions in the I-met-you-randomly-and-will-never-see-you-after-this category and move on.

Note: I have recently been informed of Ghosting, in which one person simply vanishes from the radar. A few dates in and boom, silence. I think I almost like the idea of Ghosting more than Petering Out, only because, unless a rock is smarter than you, you realize the silence from the person who once responded is due to them not being interested. But if you're going to do that, you might as well have The Conversation and get it over with. Otherwise, it's guaranteed to be awkward the next time you run into each other post-Ghost.


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