3 Dating Etiquette Tips from Author Jennifer Wright
As you know, the Modern Manners Guy covers all areas of etiquette, so when I came across a fellow Macmillan author, Jennifer Wright, and her new book, It Ended Badly: 13 Of The Worst Break Ups in History, I knew it was something my readers would enjoy. Trust me, Mannerly Nation, in her book she outlines a historical guide of the worst daters to of all time.
Jennifer and I discussed her book, relationships, and how it all pertains to etiquette in today’s sometimes unmannerly world of dating. Below is only a snippet of what we discussed, so please listen to the entire podcast on iTunes or Stitcher to hear more about her fascinating book and see how your past breakups stack up to these Grade-A whackos throughout history.
Tip #1: Someone's Got It Worse
Modern Manners Guy: OK, well, it’s hard to say where to start in your book, since you literally span centuries of the worst daters to ever walk the Earth. But I have to admit, I was rather surprised at how infamous so many historical figures became thanks to their improper breakups. With that, which story did you stumble across while researching your book that exemplifies the worst break up etiquette possible?
Jennifer Wright: There are so many people who behaved so badly in their breakups, that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I think probably Emperor Nero exhibits the worst behavior in his breakups. He killed his first wife, so he could be with his second wife, who was one of the most beautiful women in ancient Rome. But it didn’t work out so well for her, so he kills her as well. And then, to try and replace her, he castrated a fourteen-year-old slave boy and made him pretend to be the new Empress of Rome. So hopefully that puts that any bad behavior your exes have exhibited into a kind of perspective.
MMG: Wow. Now granted Emperor Nero was insane, nothing like that would fly in modern times, and trust me, this book is not all about deadly dating. However, the takeaway here—albeit this situation is grossly severe—is that everyone has had it worse. No one relationship is the same and no ending is the same. Granted Nero was a lunatic, but when you open up to listen to how rude other daters are, from your friends, coworkers, or family members, you start to think about where you are in life and how much you are willing to tolerate. And in the end, it’s only proper to never settle in romance. Follow your heart; it won’t lie to you.
Tip #2: Avoid False Hope
MMG: Along with being an author, you’re also a contributor at The New York Observer and New York Post, covering sex and dating, so I know you'll have some good answers to this next one: Do you have any tips for listeners and what they should generally avoid doing when breaking up with someone?
JW: I think that one of the worst things that you can do when breaking up with someone is to give them false hope. I think that people are inclined to soften the blow and say, ‘My career is kind of difficult right now … in six months or so maybe we’ll try to get back together then. Or I’m just not in a place for a relationship, and maybe a year down the road things will be better. I think that has a really terrible effect of keeping people on hold and not allowing them to move on. Even if you think it’s coming from a good place, if you want things to be definitively over, you have to say that things are definitively over.
MMG: Next to cheating on someone, giving your partner false hope is the most improper way to handle a shaky relationship. Not only is it rude to lead someone on, it’s highly immature. If you constantly string people along with false hope, you’ll earn a reputation of doing so and no one will trust you down the road. And last time I checked, trust is a kind of a big deal in relationships.
Tip #3: Cut Off Contact
MMG: And on the flip side, do you have any recommendations for people who have been broken up with? What can they do to recover—and what should they NOT do?
JW: I think it’s best to cut off contact with your ex even if temporary. De-friend them on Facebook, stop following them on Instagram or Twitter, because nothing you see there is going to be good. Eventually you’re going to happen across a picture of them with their arm around a new partner and it’s going to be terrible! If after a while you’ve moved on, then reinitiate the friendship. But for a while, it’s best if you don’t interact with them in any way.
MMG: Here, I totally agree with Jennifer. I believe people have some distorted “movie-like” dream where they believe crying at a photo will make the person arrive at your door and take you back into their arms. Sadly, this is not a Nicholas Sparks movie—it’s real life. I mean, I love Sparks’ work but unless you’re a character in his books, sulking over old photos online is not going to produce the best results. Of course, you should be upset but just remember that they’ve moved on. So with that, it’s only proper to do the same. Trust me, there are much better options out there when you’re ready.
Alright, crew don’t forget to pick up or download a copy of her book right away. It’s a fascinating and entertaining read about some of the worst daters ever… and you thought, your ex was a lunatic? Yeesh! Just read It Ended Badly and it may put things in perspective for you. You can pick up a copy of the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-a-Million, or Apple.
You can also listen to a free audiobook clip from the book here:
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.