I have a really good girlfriend who is divorced, and one night we were out at a bar, sipping wine and sharing a salad like we usually do, and she gave me some great divorce advice.
I can’t remember exactly how it came up, but it went something like this. We were talking about how we both sometimes get the feeling that people feel sorry for us because we are divorced, single working moms, etc. etc., which we both find kind of funny because they obviously don’t know us. Anyhow, apparently, someone had asked her a few days earlier, “How’s Jackie doing?”
My friend didn’t tell the person that a long-term relationship I was in had recently ended, nor did she say anything remotely negative or sad. My friend replied, “She’s doing great! She just got this really cute haircut.” She then changed the subject.
This friend is a great friend, which is what I told her, when she replied, “I live by the rule that when someone asks me about one of my friends, often seeking the scoop, I choose to be complimentary and vague.”
COMPLIMENTARY and VAGUE. It’s genius. Think about it. Nothing good would have come from her telling the person that I was going through a difficult time, or that I was single again and not looking forward to being in the dating scene, or that I felt like I was going to be alone the rest of my life. What would that have accomplished? More gossip? The person feeling sorry for me? Maybe the person would have called me (which I didn’t want.) Instead, my friend complimented my hair and was vague in giving any specific information.
If you think about it, you can’t go wrong being complimentary about someone. It’s not phony, it’s happy and it’s seeing the positive. You also can’t go wrong being vague. My friend figured that I would share what I wanted to share, so why should she do that for me?
Complimentary and vague are two words every divorced woman should remember, not only in talking about a divorced friend, but when talking about her ex.
I have been divorced for almost a decade, and still, people ask me in conversation, how are things with your ex?
And my answer is usually…complimentary and vague. I say something pleasant and I keep it real vague. True friends are an exception, as no one should have to bottle up what they feel and not tell a soul. So, I’m not telling you not to vent once in awhile to those you trust.
But, what I’m saying is, when you are positive and happy, you are more attractive to others, and you feel better about yourself.
My dad always says, “No one wants to hear your shit.” He says when someone asks how you are, you should always reply with, “Great.” Complimentary and vague.
Here’s another good use for complimentary and vague. Let’s say someone sets you up on a blind date, you go out with the guy and you have no interest. Now the person calls you and says, “How did the date go?”
You want to say, “Umm, what the hell were you thinking setting me up with him?” Instead? You guessed it. Be complimentary and vague. Say, “He was really sweet but just not for me. Thank you so much for thinking of me, I truly appreciate it, and would be open to meeting other people you might know.”
You can’t go wrong with being complimentary and vague. It’s impossible. You’ll know who, when and where it’s OK to expand and be more detailed.
Being complimentary and vague makes you seem like a classy person who doesn’t spend time gossiping, who isn’t bitter, and who sees the good in everyone. And, being complimentary and vague will make you like yourself for those same reasons.
So, next time someone you know calls you and says, “Hey, did you hear about so and so? I heard her husband cheated on her and she’s getting divorced.” And let’s say you already knew.
Try, “That’s so sad. I’m really sorry to hear it. They are both nice people.” Or “I hope it’s not true.” Or, “I hope she’s OK.” You’ll love yourself.
Complimentary and vague; you can’t go wrong.