Monthly Archives: July 2012

Day 4: The Call and a Surprising Conclusion

Before I share the conclusion of The Dreaded Phone Call, let me first introduce my parents. Dad and Mom are high school sweethearts who have been blissfully married for 30 years. They’re both educated (MBAs) and accomplished (retired in their early 40s) and they’ve taught me what it means to be a generous human being. Dad is a skillful violin player and micromanager, Mom is a book lover and amazingly considerate. People are often a reflection of their upbringing, and my awesomeness is not just a happy coincidence.

Last night, I finally called my parents to share the unexpected news about N. I actually get over break-ups rather (okay, frighteningly) quickly and I was at a point where I could discuss what happened without having an emotional response. Initially, I anticipated that they’d be angry with N, but instead, they said they were sad for him. Wait. Pause. Sad for him? “Hello! I’m your daughter and you should feel sad for me and what I’m going through,” I thought idignantly. As they explained further, my perspective began to shift.

My parents said there’s no sadness to feel for me. At age 25, I have a clear vision for my future. I know, absolutely, what I want from a relationship and those milestones will be achieved. N, they observed, is still searching for answers and when/if he ever finds them, it may be too late. As you grow older, committed long-term relationships become more meaningful and “floating” casual encounters lose their charm. It’s the difference between having a fulfilling partnership and filling a temporary void. Some people make this realization in their 20s, some make it in their 40s, and some never make it at all.

Dad, Mom, and I continued on this subject for a moment, then transitioned to lighter topics. It was good to soak in their perspective and finally put this discussion to rest. I left the conversation feeling contemplative…and surprisingly sad for N too.

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Day 3: “You’re Fired” and Gaining Perspective

This morning, I terminated one of my employees. Despite meticulously studying my speaking points, nothing can truly prepare you for that tense moment when you sit down, face-to-face with the other party. It’s both unsettling and uncomfortable at the same time. You don’t want to be harsh, but firm. Firm, yet compassionate. Compassionate, but not apologetic. It’s a delicate science that can only be mastered through experience (not that people aim to perfect this skill in the first place).

It’s incredibly difficult to be the bearer of bad news, especially when that news can seriously affect a person’s livelihood. My voice shook slightly. I, the self-professed “expert communicator,” stumbled over my words and had to refer to my notes on more than one occasion. But when all was said and done, the conversation was clean and to the point. I conveyed the right message, clearly explained next steps and exhibited the proper amount of emphathy. It’s something I executed relatively well, and something I don’t ever want to do again.

After today, I gained some serious perspective about my relationship woes. People everywhere are undergoing changes and experiencing blows that make make my dating issues pale in comparison. While I’m genuinely missing N’s companionship, let’s face it;  in a month from now, he’ll be nothing but a blip on the radar – just like the other men I’ve dated. I’ll still have my successful career, amazing family and friends, and outside interests and passions. And who knows, perhaps I’ll have even gone on a date or two.

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Day 3: Reality and the Dreaded Phone Call

Confession: I’ve purposely delayed telling my parents that N and I broke up. While we have a close relationship, I am, by nature, very private about my personal (dating) life. I’m also extremely selective about who I mention, let alone introduce, to my family. It’s not that the men I date aren’t “good enough.” I’m just overly sound in judgement and I don’t take this sort of thing lightly. With that said, my parents not only know about N, but they have actual plans to meet him over dinner next month. GAH.

Currently in my parents’ eyes, N is some sort of demigod. Whenever I mentioned him during our phone calls, it was always a quip from the highlight reel.

“N and I traveled to the OC this weekend and we stayed in an amazing vacation home!”
“Yesterday, we biked together on the beach path and rode into Venice for drinks.”

It’s not that I intentionally omitted the bad stuff. During the entire six months that N and I dated, there simply was no bad stuff. Zero turbulence. Not a single fight or indiscretion. I’m dreading how quickly my parents’ admiration for N will turn into anger once I relay the news. Their anger will be completely biased; it’s not like they actually know the guy. All they know is that I cared for him endlessly and he made me happy in return. Every parent wants happiness for their child, and when that’s taken away and replaced with hurt, the claws come out. They’ll ask why he couldn’t promise a long-term commitment (I’m such a catch after all). They’ll demand to know what he was thinking when he threw our relationship away (again, I’m such a catch). These will be rhetorical questions of course, and all I’ll be able to do is sit on the other end of the phone and mumble quietly in agreement.

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