Mistakes! We all make them. Our errors range in breadth and severity. For example: maybe you try to drag race in your friend’s mom’s minivan in rural Wisconsin and then get banned from driving in the state of Wisconsin forever. Or maybe you decide to drywall a hole you accidentally made in your own apartment, and end up with your feet stuck to your bedroom floor. Or maybe you drink three delicious, delicious margaritas and email your ex-boyfriend from a bathroom stall in Brooklyn (you know, the one who ripped out your heart years ago and stepped on it—the ex boyfriend, not the outer-borough bathroom) suggesting that it’d be a swell idea to CATCH UP OVER COFFEE AT A TIME THAT IS CONVENIENT FOR HIM? And then when you’ve realized what you’ve done, your friends remind you that you’ve been drinking, would probably mistake a bag of mulch for a man, and might regret this?
Unfortunately you see that he’s already emailed you back, so you chortle self-assuredly in your friends’ faces and put your stupid plan into motion because alcohol? And also because you’re a giant weird baby?
You know, those kinds of mistakes.
Not saying you’ll find yourself in this position, because a mature adult like you would never do such a thing. I know I wouldn’t, not me, no sir.
But…in the utterly hypothetical event that you did wake up the next day to find yourself in this predicament, you might possibly find yourself en route to see a person who devastated you years ago and who you totally swore off for good.
In that case, here are a few conduct tips.
1. CONSCIOUSNESS LEVEL
DO: Arrive at your meeting sober, alert, and in control of your person.
DO NOT: Mix up a bunch of margaritas in your water bottle and slug them en route to meet this person. But in case you were wondering, yes, I’ve got a great recipe for simple and convenient margaritas for the girl on the go. First, get a big tub of Crystal Lite. Then dump it in a water bottle. Then pour in a whole mess of any liquor you can find. Shake well. Voila! Gourmet margaritas to set the mood for your future date from hell.
2. SOCIAL RESEARCH
DO: Avoid stalking this person on any social platform. The internet means nothing; rise above it.
DO NOT: Instagram-stalk the girl he’s currently dating and force all of your friends to agree with your conclusion that she’s a facially-bland, bizarro version of you. Clearly this man was desperate to replace the Real You with a Fake You (the Real You was too intimidating due to your attractiveness and success, which he could not handle). You are winning this race, right? Wrong. The internet means everything, and you’re not the one in the picture. Get over it!
DO: Remember who you’re dealing with. Just because this mud balloon isn’t dating you anymore doesn’t mean that he won’t reach across that cafe table, grab your hand, say how he misses you and thinks about you all the time, and try to manipulate your good nature for his own satisfaction. “Could you just hear me out?” he’ll say. Like, could you just listen to his side of things? Because he’s misunderstood. He didn’t mean to be awful, it just happened! These are all tricks, so be prepared.
DO NOT: Let him sweet-talk or down-talk you to soothe his own consciousness. His “side of things” is simple: he wanted out. If he regrets losing the glorious ball of uniquely amazing cells that is you, too bad. He is about as worthwhile as a burlap sack filled with glue; you are wonderful, brilliant and too special for that junk.
DO: Say, “Thanks so much for the cup coffee, bye!” And move on with your life.
DO NOT: Go back to his apartment, kiss him, pat his back while he cries, hold each other, consent to a next meeting aka date that will go nowhere, sleep with him, or engage in any related activities. Saying no is hard. You may have a confusion smoothie blending in your stomach. But you’re a big girl and you don’t cavort with senseless lunatics with a penchant for deception. So when he leans in to give you those puppydog eyes and pluck your heartstrings, don’t give in! Even I would not give in to this. And I’m not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed—I’ve taken Cold-Eeze on an empty stomach, for pete’s sake. Bottom line: DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE CREEPER. He is a resident of Creepertown USA, population: 1. Him. Stay out.
In conclusion? This person is your ex for a reason. If you choose to meet for a catch-up, make sure your expectations are lower than the boobs in National Geographic. It’s tempting, after a few years, to assume that a person who has disappointed you has changed. Fact: he probably hasn’t changed, at least not in the same fundamental way that he couldn’t change to be right for you a long time ago. Double fact: you probably have changed. For the better. Be the bigger person; don’t let this wet-blanket-disguised-as-a-man drag you back into his weird world of confusion and disappointment. You’ve got great things to do.
Like drink the rest of those homemade margaritas.
Hannah VanderPoel is a writer and filmmaker in New York City. She works at MTV. Previous credits include Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and HBO. You can follow her on Twitter @hanvanderpoel.
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