This story originally appeared in Dutch on MUNCHIES NL on August 23.
A common mistake made by people who want to end a relationship is thinking that it is better to do it in a nice bar—the bar where I work, for example.
A breakup is a heartbreaking moment for everyone involved, not only for the couple, but for the server as well. Every time I look at this drama unfold from a distance—the bowed heads, the awkward silence, the pleading eyes and the mess of a broken heart that I occasionally need to wipe off the table—I am overcome by a helpless, sad and uncomfortable feeling.
The server is responsible for maintaining a good atmosphere in the bar and for keeping a high turnover rate. This is difficult, because it's hard to know whether it's better to wait for the crying to end, to offer a comforting cup of coffee, or to come to the table and be the first to start a normal conversation about the daily hassles to remind the couple that life goes on.
Nevertheless, it is understandable that if you are considering breaking up with someone, a public place is still ideal. Below, I suggest a number of places that are appropriate for these moments of sorrow and pain. Think of it as a guide to minimize the pain for all parties involved. The servers will thank you.
A self-service restaurant
If you choose to break up at a self-service place (like La Place, Ikea) where you choose your food and drinks from a buffet, and where you have to pay immediately, you are assured that you will be left alone for the rest of your stay. Often there are crying children muffling your words for the people around you. And if it gets too emotional and your runny nose continues to flow, you can get up to refill your glass of water or get some napkins, because that's what you do at a self-service restaurant. This completely eliminates the server, allowing you to avoid any awkward interactions.
A food truck
The advantage of a food truck is that they are usually found in parks and the atmosphere around it is fleeting and casual, and again, you usually pay here immediately. While eating at a standing-table or sitting on the grass eating a hot dog, you can let go of your relationship based on your difference in opinion about the hotdog, and say something like: "Perhaps we have grown apart." Being outdoors meanwhile gives you some fresh air, and perhaps a group of skaters will roll past for some distraction. In the meantime, the server is at a safe distance in the truck, blissfully unaware of what is happening right in front of his nose.
A dive bar
What is great about dive bars is that they're filled with drunks, and what's great about drunks is that they are usually oblivious about what's going on around them, so it's very likely that your awkward silences will be broken by continued drunken noise, which can offer distraction and consolation. At dive bars, a waitress will rarely take the effort to come to your table. For exactly this reason, it is normal to order at the bar and start a tab. Some dive bars will even let you get away with smoking, which provides nice relief for a couple that has just broken up.
A shady bar you have no business entering in the first place
This is the place that you don't really know whether it's actually intended for the public or why it's open in the first place, because it is even darker than the inside a bat's abdomen and the clientele is made of up nobody you'd ever want to associate with.
This is therefore the ideal place to end your relationship, because you can immediately put everything into perspective. As soon as you walk out, you can easily breathe again, because you're happy to still be alive—your throat has not been cut open by the mafia who was sitting right behind your crying ex-lover with his intimidating gaze. You will both come to the realization that things could be much worse. The bar staff members are so emotionless and unfriendly they would probably just shrug if they saw you eating your own baby and are therefore too callous to feel involved in your personal love problems.
An overpriced hipster joint
Every neighborhood has an overpriced restaurant with mediocre food, but for some reason is always packed with people, which is why it never drew you in. This is the perfect place for a breakup, because you will leave your bad memories at a place you'll probably never come back to anyway. Your waiter will also be so busy that they don't really have the time to actually worry about you. In this way, you can unapologetically break someone's heart without bothering others.