Monday, September 29, 2014

Friends with Exes

You know that period after a breakup, where you fantasize about various situations where you run into your ex, and finally get to tell them off or get your revenge or whatever? (One of my more elaborate ones involved me actually suggesting a Kickstarter to friends to make it happen. I would tell you I'm not proud, but to this day I'm pretty sure it would be funded.) Those fantasies help you get through your breakup, because imagining your ex begging for forgiveness in front of all your coworkers until you tell him to stop, he's making a scene and then security escorts him out...I mean, that feels pretty good. In your head. Because in reality, if your ex showed up at work, it would be a total nightmare. 

And exes do show up. It's not usually at your parents' house during Sunday family dinner so he can apologize for ruining your life. It's usually accidental and messy. Oh yeah...and online. It'll happen online. We all know it's the worst. And yet...when we're on the other's so tempting...

Well it's his birthday. I should tell him happy birthday. Just because I ended our relationship doesn't mean I want him to have a shitty birthday, right? It's harmless. 

Stop that. I'm saying this to you and to me. It's a tough decision, I know. But when do you let go of an ex? I'm not talking about avoiding them, because that's basically impossible. Given geography, mutual friends, and technology, you're probably going to run into an ex somehow. (Particularly technology. At least your mutual friends KNOW you broke up and don't want to see each other. Facebook is like, hey you have 37 mutual friends with this guy--maybe you should friend him! YES FACEBOOK I KNOW HIM. WE BROKE UP. YOU KNOW THAT, TOO. YOU KNOW EVERYTHING. You can keep track of what dresses I'm checking out on ModCloth but you can't remember who I digitally broke up with? I call bullshit.) 

Occasionally, an ex of mine will pop up somewhere on the internet I forgot about when I cleaned him out of my life. He recommended a book on Goodreads? He still uses Goodreads? Delete. Oh yeah, we WERE connected on LinkedIn...not anymore. I don't need to see that. 

There's no solid rule about contact with exes, and every relationship and subsequent breakup is a special little snowflake, blah blah blah, so you can't exactly go around making up hard and fast rules. So I don't have anything useful to tell you, as usual. But since this issue came up recently for a friend, I thought I'd tackle it just in case. 

Here are the few rules I use when it comes to getting in touch with exes. 

1. If I did the dumping, I let him come to me. He gets to set the terms of our post-breakup "friendship." Sure, maybe I said let's just be friends, but after that I'm letting him take the lead on it. If and when he's ready to be friendly, he can let me know. (And you're sitting there like, well what if he never calls? Then you really, really broke him and he never calls. Get over it.)

2. If I was dumped, then I cut off contact. No drunk texts, no sad voicemails, no tweets, and for god's sake no poking on Facebook. None. Shut it down. When (if) the time comes that I am no longer still in love with him and can really, honestly be just friends with him, I'll test the waters. (TEST the waters, not dive in headfirst.) You'll notice the emphasis on honesty here. You've got to be genuinely over him in order to forge a new post-relationship friendship. Sorry.

3. If I work with him, in any way, including volunteer stuff or him coming in to my place of work as a patron/customer, then it's polite civility. He's not worth having to chat with my boss about casually calling a customer a dickhead. 

Sometimes you can be friends with an ex. And sometimes you really, really can't. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday

A few years ago, I met my mom at work for some retirement party or holiday party or some other event. Whatever, it was a social function after work and I worked in the neighboring building and was tight with a lot of her coworkers. During this party of questionable origin, one of her coworkers I wasn't particularly approached me and naturally asked if I was single. (And I won't leave you in suspense, dear readers. Yes, I was single.) So she starts going on and on about her single son and she shows me his picture and I say yes, he's very handsome and cool he has a career that's great and she fumbles with a cell phone she doesn't know how to use and snaps what I'm certain was a mediocre photo of me to show him. 

A couple weeks go by and I get this facebook friend request from the guy so I accept him. I immediately stalk him an appropriate amount: enough to get a sense of who he is (what I'm saying here is does the guy have a million profile pictures with his arm around a woman, you know that's the first thing you look for) and he seemed normal. I figured him friending me was the equivalent of asking for my phone number and so when I accepted the request, that was me saying, here you go call me sometime

Apparently not. I waited like three days and heard nothing so I figured, ok fine I'll like his profile picture or something to get the ball rolling. Only when I searched for him he showed up NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE. That guy unfriended me within three days without saying a word. 

New record. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alone at a Wedding

I've never planned a wedding. Well...actually I have. What I mean to say is that I've never paid for a wedding. But even without that hands on experience, I am certain that getting married is expensive.

For this reason, and for the sake of not having a bunch of randoms at "the most special day" of your life, I'm not offended when I don't get to bring a date to your wedding. (I'm assuming you don't give me a +1 because you're trying to save money, right? It's not because you don't think I could find a date? Because trust me, I could find a date if I had to. I totally could. I could find like ten dates.)

Wait, what were we talking about--oh right. I totally don't mind being invited by myself to a wedding.


You knew there was a "but..." right?

But sometimes a date would be awesome. For example, at a family wedding. Unless you're really close to your cousins who will also be attending, family weddings can get really boring, really fast. It's not like you can flirt with anyone there, either, unless you're 100% positive you're not related to them. 
Or a wedding where you don't know a lot of people. Sure, you and the groom are really good friends,but you guys don't hang out with anyone else from the office fantasy football league where you met. It's not like you'll know anyone else at the wedding. Who will you talk to and judge people with? 
Or, you know, the most common one lately, weddings without many single people. This keeps happening. It's simple, really. The more weddings we attend, the more of our friends are married. People couple up. They don't need to find a date. They have a date. Permanently. Legally. But not everyone! Some of us are in this for the long haul, vying to win Survivor: Forever Alone. (AND I. WILL. WIN.) Now I'm not saying I want your wedding to be a speed dating event, but let's be real--the DJ will play slow music and all the couples will dance. At weddings back when lots of us were single, this was a good opportunity to find a cute boy and flirt with him on the dance floor. But as the crowd slowly evolves into a more married, coupled sort of group...who the hell do I dance with? The answer is I don't. I either sit at the table and hope your weird uncle doesn't come ask why I'm not dancing, or I escape to the bar and make poor choices, or I go to the bathroom just for something to do, or I sit there and send rude snapchats of happy couples dancing and snark on them on twitter. And while some of those are fun, it's a little...boring. A low point at your wedding. If you're not going to invite some other singles (preferably handsome, eligible men...just saying) you're kind of making me the 101st wheel. And it's kind of a bummer.

I'm not saying giving me a date is mandatory. But if you're dooming a wedding guest to an evening of solo activity, consider throwing them a bone and putting +1 on their invitation. Or, you know, make sure at least one of your groomsmen is single and handsome. I'll personally settle for that.

**I KNOW I KNOW you have to worry about how many people the church will seat and the reception hall capacity and the cost per plate of food and I GET IT OK you don't have to remind me. It's just a thought. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

How NOT to Internet Date...

...part 45 of 1,000,000 I guess. 

Twin got a message on OkCupid the other night, the first she'd gotten from this particular guy.

"What's your availability tomorrow night?"

This has been bothering me ever since she told me and I've been trying to figure out why. It's not obscene or rude and on top of that, it's not even my message! So why has it been silently pissing me off?

My first thought was that I disliked his abrupt introduction. Or rather, a lack of introduction and jumping right into the next phase. This guy skipped a greeting, a half-hearted compliment, a common interest, and a witty remark that you're wrong in your opinion of the best Back to the Future. He went all in. You busy tomorrow? He wants to do all that Dating 101 stuff in person. Screw typing. 

It's true that I find his approach to be a bit clumsy. It lacks finesse. This is not a guy with a lot of game. And it's sketchy. A lot of my friends are nervous about internet dating because the person you meet could be anybody at all. (And all of my female friends are nervous that your internet stranger might kill you. Yup.) He could be exactly who he says he is. Or the complete opposite. Or some great combination of lies and creep. It's a gamble! The first conversation(s) at least start the elimination process. My girls will still likely meet internet dates in a public place and have friends on standby ready to break you out of a terrible date. But at least they know that person made it through round one of cuts. 

I brought this up to some guys at the bar, a couple guys I've met before and a random guy I've never met and hopefully can avoid for the rest of my days--who invited himself into the conversation. They didn't see a problem with asking someone to meet up before you really chat. They made a decent point.

But I was STILL bothered by this guy--until today, when I realized why I hated his message so much. He does it all wrong. Sure, you know why he's asking if you're available, but he's also making it really hard for you to say no. (Or so he might think.) He asks about your availability tomorrow and you say yeah, I've got no plans. Then he asks if you want to get a drink. Well now you're screwed. You've painted yourself into a corner. If you don't want to see this guy, it just became really tricky. No thanks, you tell him. Well you just said you were free tomorrow! Why don't you want to see him?!** Because it must be him. You said you didn't have plans. What, did you make plans in the last 30 seconds??

Public Service Announcement for anyone throwing out date invites: We don't WANT to hurt your feelings, you know. Not all the time. We might like to give you an out! GIVE US A CHANCE TO REJECT YOU GENTLY. This guy took away any possibility of a graceful exit strategy.

Sure, I might turn a guy down because he's a disgusting ass. But I also might turn down a guy who seems perfectly nice but isn't a guy I want to date. Maybe he misread the situation and thought I was interested. In these cases, I'm not looking to be a bitch. 

Here's my tip for the day: if you're going to ask someone out, don't trick them into saying yes. "Do you want to get a drink tomorrow?" is perfectly acceptable. It leaves the other person a lot of options. They can say yes, or I would love that but tomorrow doesn't work, or no thanks I'm not interested, or no thanks I'm really busy, or fuck off you're a weirdo, or hey I'm in a relationship but thanks for asking, or any number of other responses. And they have the option of letting you down gently--and you'll both feel less awkward. "Are you available tomorrow?" should only be used as a follow-up question. 

I know you don't usually take my advice but please, try and remember this bit. Try really hard. 

**This might seem harsh but I had a guy demand why I didn't want to go out with him one time. Um, maybs because you're super aggressive and childish about rejection??

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A quick update on real life...ALSO A PUPPY.

What do my blog and the night you lost your virginity have in common? 

We're both disappointing even though you heard it was going to be really magical. 

I know I haven't been around much. For the past couple weeks, I've been spending a lot of time with my family, helping my dad after he had knee surgery. (He had to be at the hospital at 5:30am and since I'm The Best Kid I went along to keep my mom company while she waited. I drank shitloads of coffee and was positively zombie-esque at work that evening. It was all worth it when my dad told me I was his favorite kid. Suck it, three siblings! I think it's important that we skip the part where he was under anesthesia just prior to saying this.) 

I've also been planning a lot of baby shower stuff, which is exactly how I like spending my free time, as I'm sure you can imagine. (I was put in charge of games. MISTAKE. Are drinking games appropriate at baby showers? No...?)

I've got real blog posts coming soon, but I figured you at least deserved an acknowledgement about my ignoring you. Which is more than my ex was able to do. 

Here, look at this puppy while you wait and everything will be fine.