Calling it Quits

Inspired by: Give Judy My Notice” (2005), from the Ben Folds album Songs for Silverman


The end of a relationship is often not by mutual consent. Sure, having the big blowout fight with slamming doors and cars peeling out of driveways feels mutual. But the end of most relationships is not typically that dramatic. Often, one person ends the relationship long before the other has realized it.

I’m guilty of this, at least on a subconscious level. Not really working on a relationship is the same as abandoning it, and that’s something I did once upon a time. Or multiple times. In both romantic relationships and platonic ones. If you stop putting in the effort for something to exist, of course it’s going end.

Some relationships can be easily recovered, though it often takes extenuating circumstances to do so. In the end, though, it does require effort from both people to resume. If one person is unwilling to try, than the status quo remains. Inertia is a powerful thing, and trying to overcome it requires a lot of effort. For example, I haven’t had much of a relationship with half the people I deployed to Iraq with, partially because we were all simply thrown together not long before we left, but also because I left the general area of the country in which we most resided. But the folks that I served with before the deployment? Those relationships feel unbreakable… even if I’m super bad at keeping up any kind of regular communication with the lot of them.

To get back to my original point, there are some relationships that probably should have ended long before their time, whether it’s the relationship with an ex-whatever or not ordering from the same crappy restaurant anymore after the quality starts slipping. That inertia makes it so difficult to just do the thing to end the relationship. You rationalize it away. You could spend the time finding a new go to Chinese restaurant, but what if it’s terrible and you have to find another one? Was the food really that bad last time? Maybe it was just a bad day and it will be 10% better and you’ll feel okay with it if you just gave it another shot.

The same works with relationships. And that’s what this song is getting at, if in an indirect way. That “narrator” has had enough of Judy, and they’re tired of feeling or being treated like garbage by her. So they are telling a third party that they are done with all of Judy’s shenanigans, probably because it’s too hard for them to admit that it should probably be over.

We do some wild things trying to hold onto things we no longer have any business of having. We silently wait for things to get better because at the root cause of whatever it is, there are genuine feelings of care. Sometimes even love. But that’s not enough. And nobody is better for it when the end eventually comes.

It is never too early to abandon something that isn’t working anymore. Something that isn’t quite right in the way that it always was before. There are times that I wish I understood this a little better, but, as you know from yesterday, I try not to live my life full of regrets. Not everything needs to be seen to the inevitable end because of previous time invested. That’s the sunk cost fallacy in action.

So abandon that shitty Chinese food restaurant that forgot your General Tso’s Chicken one time to many. Eliminate those toxic people from your life that make you feel bad about yourself. End that relationship that isn’t working because the two people in it don’t want to work on it anymore. Maybe it’s been five years. Maybe it’s been much shorter, or even much longer. But know when to call it quits.

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