How to Chuck

Chucking someone is a form of murder. Instead of wanting them to cease to exist in their life, you want them to cease to exist in your life. When chucking people you have to decide whether you’re going to be nice or nasty. Remember that being nice often turns out to be nastier in the long run. A nice way of chucking someone is to say, “it’s nothing to do with you, it’s me that’s the problem.” This is actually quite a tricky approach because you’re the one they like. You then have to pretend to have become someone quite different with different needs. But this makes you even more interesting as you suddenly become ‘old partner with exciting new dimensions’. The next step is to then clarify in what precise way you have changed into this new person. This breaks down into needing more time, more space or more sex with other people. You generally have to work your way through the first two excuses before you admit to the third. The nasty route involves telling your partner in detail how much you hate them. Although this process reflects badly on your taste in partners to begin with, the purgative effect of denouncing them is well worth the price. However, this approach also has its risk. For a start, you can feel so good after telling them what a bastard they are, that you end up having the best sex of your life. Also, if you really tell your partner what a clinging tiresome drag they are, they can develop a dangerous dependence and you’ll end up with them clinging onto your leg when you try to leave. A great way of chucking people is to do it the same way business does it. Call them in and tell them that you’re going to have to let them go. Explain that their individual competencies don’t match your overall strategic direction. Or you can set an arbitrary deadline for them to meet agreed targets for emotional delivery. Then you can point out that they’ve missed their targets, their deadline and their opportunity to build a long term future with you. Always chuck someone at their place or somewhere neutral. It’s very difficult to chuck someone at your house and then have to give them a lift to the station as this will restart the cycle of pleasantness. The best kind of chucking happens in airport departure lounges where you can use lines like, ‘Of course I’ll wait for you, Tony.’ After you’ve said this, you must wait at least until Tony has got through passport control before you rush off to meet Adam in the short stay car park. Self-help is emotional DIY and the self-help section in bookshops is the equivalent of B&Q. In the old days, personal growth used to mean a wart. Now it means something far more unpleasant. Self-help is a bit of a misnomer because it generally requires the help of a guru in book form. People who buy self help books are always nice people. You won't find total bastards picking up a copy of Unleash the Pleasant Person Within.

Self-help books vary in quality. If you find yourself drilling a hole in your head to let the demons out, it’s probably best to take that one back to the library. It’s a shame that there isn’t a monthly self-help magazine which you could collect and keep in a special binder until you’d got a complete personality.

Often people with the same kind of problem like to join self-help groups. Be wary if your group offers life membership as clearing up your problem fast is unlikely to be a priority. Self-help is addictive and you can spend so much time with yourself up on blocks that you don’t actually get out any more.

Some people enjoy self-help so much, they get someone to do it for them. These people are called therapists and are paid to find everything you say interesting. The difference between a therapist and a friend is that the friend won’t ask you to lie down before talking. If they do, they might be about to stretch the limits of friendship.

Most self-help books work by identifying a failing you have and then curing it for you. There could be a book called Count your Blessings And Pull Yourself Together but it would be very thin and would have to be padded out with a 10 Step Counting/Pulling Programme.

All self help books promise a significantly nicer and more powerful you underneath the normal pathetic you. Be warned though, if you manage to release the fearless smiling extrovert within, it’s very difficult to put it back. Also remember that most self-help books are written by Americans and you might inadvertently release your inner American.

British self help books tend to fall at the first hurdle. There would need to be an introductory volume called First Take Yourself Seriously. Many people prefer liquid self improvement where the effect is more immediate and you don't have to listen to accompanying CDs. Finally, don't confuse self-help with helping yourself. One will lead to inner peace the other will lead to a conviction for shop lifting.

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