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24 November 2021

How to leave the chat - and do it right

Maria Potudina

Ghosting is bad – yes, the sky is blue. Cutting communication is not as easy as it sounds - and we’re aware of it. Maria Potudina, a psychologist, tells us how to leave the Pure chat the right way, how to say “no”, and why we’re so uncomfortable with conflict in the first place.

Shame and guilt – childhood trauma

So, you’re on Pure chatting with a match of yours. You exchange photos and they send something that isn’t quite what you expected. Either they’re not your type, don’t look like their ad photos, or you’re feeling weird about something they did or said. Another scenario: they send you nudes unprompted – and you’re just not okay with that. Now the moment of embarrassment is upon you – you’d like to say goodbye to your companion and explore other options. How do you do it correctly without hurting their feelings? Take a deep breath and just do it? Well, that’s an option, indeed, but the context here is not so black-and-white. Let’s look at the situation a little closer. Why is it so hard for some of us to say no? Why is it easier to clench your fist and pull a ghost instead of telling the person upfront why you would like to part ways? What do you do with the bitter aftertaste of your actions? And what about when you’re on the receiving end of this situation? Doesn’t feel that nice. No wonder - there’s a slight feeling of emptiness where communication and honesty were supposed to take place.

Pure. Let loose

Pure is an app where classic rules for dating don’t apply. On Pure, you create your own rules.

Nearly always, it’s about our childhood. (You knew I’d say this – I’m a psychologist, after all).

What is a child supposed to be like to get approval and praise from their parents and society at large? Exactly: obedient and agreeable. Many of us were raised with the notion that a child is supposed to be grateful by default simply for being born (this kind of gratitude is questionable, but that’s for another day), and that as long as our parents are taking care of us: feeding us, providing with education, tolerating our temper tantrums (which are normal for children, by the way, but can be unbearable for the parent) then we must repay them by being good.

For this unbearable behavior, the heavy cross of parenthood, and often the very fact of our birth, we don’t just start to feel gratitude - we start to feel guilt, responsibility, and shame. We internalize responsibility for the anger of our caregivers and all the feelings we may cause them in general.

We feel it’s necessary to be convenient for the parents and not bother them because it’s difficult enough to raise us. In particular, it is very difficult for the parent to face the unpredictability, immaturity, and development of a child. Therefore we start to feel as if it’s necessary to interfere with our parents as little as possible, starting from a very young age, so we turn to self-control and self-regulation instead.

We also feel the pressure to live up to other people’s expectations – behave in a way our parents feel appropriate, even if it’s hurting us (because expectations come first). We try to be perfect by our parent’s criteria - because the imperfections of our character and development as children lead to punishment, losing our parent’s love and approval, and sometimes even manipulation tactics such as silent treatment.

And this pattern of being “convenient” lingers, and later finds its way into every area of our lives and into each situation where we might feel like we’re doing something wrong. Doesn’t matter that you’re an adult now and no longer in a parent-child dynamic - the trigger here is your feelings that used to be forbidden, not the event. What do you do in this case? Well, in a perfect world you would reach out to a therapist and learn new tools for regulating those difficult emotions. But that’s not always an option. 

So, here are 3 quick and efficient tips that can help you cut the communication without all the negative emotions and consequences that come with it.

1. I-message

Anyone who’s into psychology knows about the “I-statement” phenomenon. This simple yet effective technique encourages you to address a situation by talking about yourself instead of directing your thoughts onto the other person. Your feelings, your mood, your needs, and your desires - keyword here is yours. I-message refers to describing your feelings and assessing your emotions with a sentence that emphasizes how you feel, not how someone else made you feel.  It usually starts with “I”, “me” or “I wish”. 

On the contrary, when we use “you” messages, we subconsciously start pointing fingers and trying to blame the other person for making us feel a certain way. And that is a straight path to defense mode. Your match feels attacked, powerless, and might attack you right back - so there’s your recipe for conflict.

This technique will help you show the other person that you’re self-aware enough to take responsibility for your own emotions and they are not to blame here. It facilitates a healthy dialogue where neither of you gets your feelings hurt.

I-Message examples:

Expressing feelings

Start the message with I. “I want”, “I feel _ today” “I get disappointed when someone doesn’t look like their pictures” etc.

Speaking facts

We should state what upset us clearly and concisely - no need to beat around the bush. It’s important to stay objective and not try to evaluate the other person’s actions. We can simply describe what actions led to our wanting to cut communication and why we’re upset. It’s best to use impersonal sentences, such as “I get upset when I receive unsolicited nudes, so I’m going to leave this chat. Have a good day.” or “I don’t like receiving messages of this nature”.

Stating our needs

It’s important to state what kind of behavior we find more appropriate. “I like to be warned when my date is late” or “I get worried when my date is late because I start to feel like something happened. I would prefer to get a call or a text”.

This is more of a real-life scenario rather than leaving a chat, but this “I” technique applies to pretty much any state of events you might be dealing with. It will take time to learn how to communicate this way, but once you’re used to it, you’ll realize how significantly this strategy can improve the quality of your life and relationships. It also makes us understand that our emotions are ours, and other people’s are theirs.

2. Politeness and compliments

Not a single case of getting upset by politeness has been registered. Honestly, you won’t lose a finger by typing something thoughtful to the person you’re about to cut communication with. The easiest thing to do here is use the sandwich technique (and nope, this is not about threesomes). The sandwich technique means saying two good things in between your not-so-pleasant message. For instance: “You look really hot in this photo, but I’m not in the mood tonight, see you later. Wishing you the wildest adventures!”.

If you struggle with saying no – make a draft in advance to refer to in these situations. Will be easier to prevent guilt and shame from reoccurring.

Bad answer: Um, you don’t look like your photos.
Good answer: Wow, nice pic! I’m not really feeling it right now, though. Hope you have an adventurous evening!

3. Humor

Tip for the most advanced of us. Since humor is complicated and intricate, and we’ve all got our own and unique understanding and sense of it, it’s important to use it correctly. The only foolproof way that will never fail you is self-irony.

Trust us on this one. A lot of great things might happen when you allow yourself to not take things to heart! And making jokes about yourself is almost always appropriate.

Whatever your preferred way of cutting communication is, remember that honesty, mutual respect, and an open mind are keys to connection on Pure - even if that connection is about to end. 

Good luck!


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