So, Why Do Guys Use Clichés When They're Dumping You?
The Debrief: We ask two men to explain why ‘work is just too manic right now’, is deemed a better break-up line than ‘I just don't want to go out with you any more’
Picture this: girl meets boy, the couple go on some dates and really seem to get on. Boy talks about introducing girl to his friends, or taking her on holiday. But out of the blue, boy ends things over text.
‘This isn’t going anywhere, but you’re a really cool girl,’ the pixelated text reads.
I’m amazed: ‘He told you that you were a really cool girl?’
She rolls her eyes: ‘I think he thought it would be a comfort.’
It’s a familiar situation, a boy telling me this when breaking off a thing. And I didn’t find it comforting. All I thought was, ‘Oh great, you don’t want to be with me romantically, but at least I rate high on your Cool Barometer.’
BUT why do some men think they're doing us a favour by dumping us via cliche? We’re all adults, grow up and tell us you’re just not feeling it.
TV psychologist Emma Kenny tells The Debrief, ‘Men often feel the truth is too scary and resort to clichés, because they feel they’re being kinder. They don’t realise us women can see through them and actually find it insulting. Tell a girl you’re just not into her and she can be taken off the hook and move on.’
I decided to ask my mates Charles* and Eddy* (as the names have been changed why not give them the monikers of the duo behind that early ’90s banger, Would I Lie To You?) why they resort to these clichés and what they actually mean when they say them.
‘I just don’t want a girlfriend’
Charles*: I have said this. Sometimes it’s true, but honestly, the girl just probably isn’t right. If you like a girl enough, you’ll commit. Usually when I say this, I’m seeing other girls and don’t want to settle for just one. But I figure telling her I’m just not ready for a relationship is less insulting. And if I tell her I’m seeing other people, it probably burns the bridge if I want to sleep with her again at some point.
‘Work is too manic for me right now’
Eddy*: I’ve said this to a girl, maybe a few years ago now. And it’s just a more polite way of saying you just don’t want to make the time for her. Rest assured, no matter how manic work is, we’ll make time for a girl we really like. But making it appear as though dumping her is a decision out of your hands just seems nicer.
‘I’m scared by what I'm feeling right now’
Eddy: I haven’t said this, but I know plenty of guys who have. It’s usually bullshit. Unless you have real commitment issues, it’s a nice way of saying, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore,’ but making her feel that she really means a lot to you. Then, if you do decide you want to spark things up again, she’ll probably come running back. Sounds harsh, but it’s true.
‘I don’t think we’re going in the same direction’
Charles: I’ve said this and I was honestly trying to be nice. I cared for the girl but I just didn’t care enough to make her my girlfriend. I felt she was falling for me more than her so I decided to end it. Sometimes it’s actually the truth.
*Just pure silence. Ghosting. Never texting back*
Charles: Who hasn’t done this? Usually the girl might be someone who texts a lot, or is just a general pain in the ass. Most boys don’t like confrontation, so you’ll probably ghost a girl if you feel a break-up would lead to her going mental and yelling at you. Sometimes, just going silent is the easiest way to let them know.
Eddy: Every guy has done this. And I bet loads of girls have, too. Sometimes you just want to avoid an awkward scene. Or maybe you’ve met someone else and just want to focus your attention on them instead. Silence speaks volumes doesn’t it?
Charles: We know girls say they want honesty, but sometimes they really don’t. Softening the blow with a cliché break-up line is what they want to hear. It’s easier to digest.
Eddy: Everyone does it, even girls. No one wants to be an arsehole.
*names have been changed
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