Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What of this "BREAK-IT OFF" email?

“Samantha, I had the strangest but most annoying thing happen this morning. Out of the blue, I got an email from a guy who I went on a few dates with. I hadn’t heard from him in over a week, so I assumed that things were done and then this morning, he sent me an email that said that he didn’t think we were a match romantically and he just wanted to let me know. I thought the note was so bizarre- it’s been 7 days, I get it, we’re done. And truthfully, I didn’t want to go out with him again anyway, but why would this idiot send me this unsolicited email a week later? It seems so odd!”

Ahhh, “the break it off email”- a new but very in-vogue thing to do these days. I have been hearing a lot about them recently. I agree the concept of it is just bizarre. Of course you know that “it’s just not happening” when you haven’t heard from a guy in over a week, because to you as a girl, a week is tooo long for a guy to wait to get back in touch with you if he is interested in you. But to a guy, a week isn’t so long- sometimes guy purposely wait a week to “pace” things, and unfortunately a lot of women rationalize and make this behavior be okay so a lot of men think a week is not too long.

It seems that the guy in question as many guys do, somehow thought that our girl might be sitting in her house waiting for the phone to ring with his caller id on it. And he was feeling oh so guilty about that, so he decided that he would put her out of your misery, remove the suspense that he thought “must have been killing her” and let her know that he isn’t interested. Little did he know or even consider that she wasn’t really interested either. So, he probably in his own “male ego” way was trying to be nice, thoughtful even. Some girls might appreciate the honesty, though most girls would tell him to go shove it, that he wasn’t so cute or interesting anyway, right?

So, why all of a sudden this advent of the “break it off note”? I dare say email is the culprit. It used to be that we communicated by phone which meant that if you wanted to do the break it off, you risked getting the person live when you called and then having to get into a whole “why didn’t you like me, what’s wrong with me conversation” So most men, just blew girls off without explanation because most men are chicken and hate nothing more than the sappy relationship conversations especially with someone who they are not really having a full on relationship with. But then, a lot of times, these guys got yelled at by friends for their callousness and sometimes they even got yelled at by the girl in a public place the next time they ran into each other. And then the guys felt guilty and agreed that they could have been nicer, let the girl down easier, and been more polite.

So now fast forward to today and email. This jerky guy who emailed our girl this morning was upfront and honest and provided our girl with closure, closure she might not have gotten in previous times. Of course, now that we have gotten guys to break in off with us politely, we don’t want that either. Because now, our girl is wondering why- why didn’t he want to go out again, why didn’t he see them as a romantic match, what did she do wrong, should she email you back and ask him these questions, etc, etc, etc.…. Yesterday our girl just thought of this guy as a mediocre guy with bad teeth, scraggly nails and a high pitched girly sounding voice who she wasn’t interested in ever seeing again and totally fine with that notion. Yesterday our girl was fine with the blow off because she didn’t have to think about it, it wasn’t verbalized on her computer screen But now today she is obsessing about him because of his email, she didn’t need, want or ask for the rejection, especially from a guy who she thought was pretty much of a dork to begin with.

This is a woman for you- she craves information yet she hates information, she likes to analyze yet she hates analyzing. So men…. I am not sure what to tell you- you can write the blew off note and she will hate you for it and think you are loser and a jerk or you can not write the note and just blow her off and she will still think you are a loser and jerk.

Your choice…



  1. Samantha, congratulations on your new blog. I am sure it will be an absolute smash!

    We may disagree on method, but from my perspective, the kiss-off email is just a traditional "Dear John" letter in modern times. I wondered about whether an online diss is the same as one by phone or snail-mail letter when I was writing my new book, The Everything Dating 2nd Edition. After careful consideration, I devoted a few pages to rejection letters of the romantic kind and decided that while I loathe the impersonal method of breaking up with someone by email, electronic communication has become not just acceptable, but de-rigeur among computer-literate (and busy) people. They are more likely to read an email and the Post Office sometimes does lose letters. So, I sighed inwardly and deemed it acceptable-- in some bases.

    But what really bothers me is not that the man chose to reject this woman by email, but that he waited a week to do so. I disagree with you that time is a "guy thing." Sorry, but there are still rules of conduct for how long you should let a woman's ego dangle in the wind while you make up your mind about dating her again. If they went out on a few dates, this man already knew he wasn't going to date her again by the end of the last date. If he was out of blackberry range or unable to use a telephone (a few of the only genuinely acceptable uses for online Dear John letters) or he was too cowardly to pick up the phone, the least he could do is dispense that electronic diss in a timely manner.

    Just my two cents.

    Alison Blackman Dunham (aka. Advice Sister Alison)


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