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Friday, December 8, 2023

Minimal Effort

January 26, 2023
Ben Griffin

How to Make Long-Distance Worse Than It Already Is

Ben Griffin

Long-distance relationships are hard. Hear me out: the simplest answer is self-sabotage 

Long-distance relationships: they’re a tradition as old as the postal service, and just as good (which is to say horrible...). Today, long-distance should be easier than ever since we have texts now instead of telegrams or whatever the pilgrims were using back then, but somehow, they’re still a challenge. 

How can anyone stay committed and fulfilled without seeing their person in person? Most of us silly gooses who attempt long-distance relationships are mediocre at them, but fortunately there are a lot of resources out there to improve your long-distance skills and keep your relationship fresh and dewy.   

And then there’s this column. I’m offering alternative advice to help you severely underperform in your relationship so you can end it predictably and move on to something better. After a five-month-long COVID-19 correspondence, I feel qualified to tell you how to mess up relationships and how to mess them up now!  


Here’s the meat: 

  • Buy a cheap (or possibly very old) Wi-Fi router. 
    • Nothing invites emotional intimacy into a video call like your phone constantly switching between your cellular plan and Wi-Fi so that your significant other (SO) looks like 8-bit Bowser and sounds like Bad Bunny. 
  • Ask if your SO will turn on their video even while yours is off. 
    • Little imbalances like this start to corrode the relationship.  
  • Read their text but don’t respond for 20 minutes.  
    • It’s enough time that they won’t wait for you to respond, but fast enough that they’ll try to continue the agonizing conversation. Works best with important texts.  
  • When they send you photos, send a photo but, but it’s the same photo every time. 
    • Ok full vulnerability here, I haven’t done this, but it seems provocative... 
  • If there’s a time difference, only make yourself available early in the morning or late at night. 
    • See how far you can push them by asking to meet 15 minutes earlier or later each time you call.  
    • Additionally, you can criticize THEM for not making THEMSELVES more available. 
  • Respond to their affirmations with uh-huh. 
    • Guarantees they feel heard. 
  • Either:  
    • NEVER be emotionally vulnerable and keep things as surface-level as possible. 
    • ONLY talk about serious topics and have serious conversations. The less smiles/endorphins, the better. 
  • Find excuses for why you can’t call. 
    • The twist is that you gradually make your excuses worse and worse until you can refuse to call for literally any reason.  
    • Example: Yeah sorry, I’m expecting an email sometime today. 
  • Connect over Netflix Teleparty. 
    • Bonding over favorite shows and movies is a really cute experience for any couple. Ruin that experience by screaming at your computer when it refuses to sync up (which for some of us still using a laptop from eight-grade, is constantly...). 
  • Talk about your day in excruciating detail. 
    • Any time conversation naturally moves on, interrupt with a classic news-anchor's, “--aaaaand back to me!”  
    • Example: “So there I was, walking between my first class and my second class, only this time instead of walking around the north-western side of the building in a clockwise motion, I decided to walk around the north-eastern side of the building in a clockwise motion, which was all on account of the fact that– 

The only thing better than ending a loveless relationship is jumping into another one. These humble, experience-driven suggestions should ensure the rapid turnover you crave. For more suggestions or exclusive interviews with my exes, feel free to reach out! 

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