Now what?! Exit interviews for personal relationships

One of the most frustrating things in life is when things go wrong between two people, communication is lost and there is never an explanation as to why.

This frustration transcends categories and can apply to any relationship involving two people, whether they are employer/employee, salesperson/customer, family members, friend/friend, or romantic partners. Over the past few years in the dating world, this has become more and more awkward.

What if we didn’t have to wonder what happened and received feedback about our contributions to the relationship?

Stephanie McNamara

One of the many dating stories shared with me by a good friend was that of his breakup. He told me that the woman had asked him to meet for an “exit interview”. I was blown away and it stuck with me as an absolute brilliant from him!

As they continued with awkward post-breakup banter, she began asking questions and taking notes with each response. The questions weren’t intrusive and not very specific either – but they served to give her the closure she needed to move on.

Recently I thought about how invaluable a tool like this is for a thinker like me. Instead of having to fill in the blanks on your own about what went wrong, you could get some constructive feedback.

From a dating perspective, sometimes things just don’t work out and you both know that from the start, and you move on. When the “exit interview” comes into play, it’s when you think you’re building something and getting to know yourself – boom! – you are a ghost.

What discouraged the other person? Maybe it wasn’t a lack of physical attraction – just the reality that you’re boring, for example.

In the workplace, most companies adopt the procedure of an exit interview when someone leaves. When employers are genuinely interested in improving, they consider feedback for their own growth and development. They can use the feedback to ensure improvement in the staff or processes in place.

Can you imagine receiving a link to a survey monkey after ghosting, breaking up, having dinner, or any other interaction you might need to improve in the future? Questions like…

● Please rate my punctuality on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being very late and 10 being very fast)
● How likely are you to recommend going out with me to a friend?
● Having to sit across from me made you feel nauseous – True or False.

This idea may sound super weird, but it has merit. Responses should, however, be general and non-malicious. If you’re angry or hurt enough to have answers that go to the jugular, maybe your answer should be “no comment.”

Sometimes we can separate ourselves from people in our lives that we just weren’t in touch with, personally or professionally, and that’s okay. Feedback is not always necessary.

But we grow when we recognize there is room for improvement. I’m not suggesting that people change their personality or physical appearance based on someone else’s opinion, but I am suggesting the value of remaining open to answers. I live by the philosophy that I don’t ask questions unless I want to know the answers.

Ultimately, I like closure. I don’t do well with details in any aspect of my life. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but my request to anyone reading this is simple: don’t just cut off communication with someone who has been in your life on a regular basis.

My PSA for today is don’t be a jerk. Don’t force the thinkers of the world to fill in the blanks themselves.

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