Q and A With… Greg Behrendt 2005

Greg Behrendt,

co-author of He's Just Not That Into You

By Judy Dutton

The co-author of the best-selling book He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys shares some surprising advice about brush-offs and break-ups.

Describe your own "he's just not into you" moments. What have you done when you weren't nuts about someone who had fallen for you?
Did I do the things I wrote about in my book? Sure, how else would I know? I've definitely avoided phone calls, or suddenly become really busy. One thing I've heard so many guys say is, "We didn't need to break up, we weren't really going out!" It seemed weird to them to call a woman after just three dates to say, "This isn't working out."

So, have you ever broken things off face-to-face? What happened when you did?
I'd gone on a couple of dates with this girl; it hadn't even gone beyond kissing. I met her in a coffee shop and said, "I don't think this is going any further." I spent four hours in that coffee shop with her in tears. She had just created some relationship in her head. So, I can understand why people aren't always forthright.

How about the reverse situation—were you ever crazy about someone who was not that into you?
Sure. I'd been dating this girl for a year and we even lived together, and when I came home one night she was kissing some guy in our driveway. She claimed it was just a peck on the cheek; I said it looked like she was trying to get something off his tongue with her tongue. It was a matter of great debate for some time, but I was so completely deluded I bought her story. Soon, she moved to New York to be with him, but even then I thought I could get her back. I can't even tell you how pathetic I was.

So when did it really hit you that she was gone?
Honestly, when I got sober. I stopped thinking about her and started to like myself more. I think the reason it takes so long to get over people is we all want to be liked and loved, and we put all our eggs in that basket. And what's strange is, you know there are people out there who do like you, and of course you never call them. I'd deliberately pick girlfriends I was uncomfortable around because I didn't like myself.

Is there such a thing as too much honesty when dumping someone?
Yes. I once told a girl I wasn't attracted to her anymore. She hated me forever. But hey, she asked!

So, what's the best way to break up with someone?
It's going to be unpleasant; asking how to do it right is like asking someone how they like to be hit in the face. So be honest and don't drag it out. Probably the best way you can say it is, "I'm just not feeling it." People always want to know what they did wrong, but rarely look inside themselves and ask, "What wasn't working for me?" You have to see a breakup as an opportunity to learn.

Judy Dutton is a freelance writer livign in New York City. She once broke up with a guy by saying, "Sorry, my dog just doesn't like you."

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