Some more lessons on breaking people’s hearts

J.B. Sivanich

During last week’s class, we took a little stroll down memory lane, reliving my own professional triumphs so that you guys may get a taste of what this field is all about. Toward the end of class I asked you guys to come up with things that you want your mark to say after the “pull” – i.e., when he or she is lying in a heap on some unsanitary floor.
The two things I always want my mark to say are “He noticed things in me that no one else ever has” and “He would have been the perfect father.” If you can get your mark to say these two comments, then you have sufficiently separated yourself from the rest of your target’s ex-lovers, achieving an immortal status.
As a rule, people are really self-involved, so coming up with something flattering to compliment your target is fairly simple. You rarely run the risk of it sounding absurd. For instance, outside the lens of self-love a compliment such as “you have an exquisite taste in belts” may seem a little ridiculous – clunky is what my fellow pros call it – but I can’t even tell you how much success those seven words have brought me.
The second statement is almost as easy to achieve as the first: just talk about kids a lot, and how much you love and want them and all the things you are “willing” to sacrifice for them: “I love getting drunk on holidays, but opening presents with little kids will be worth not risking another eggnog hangover.”
I personally like to take my mark on walks that go to playgrounds where kids are running around and talk about how I could watch kids at parks for hours at a time; sometimes I “accidentally” let it slip that I subscribe to the Gap Kids catalogue. If my mark is particularly quick – read: hard to crack – I like to engage her in debates over different parenting techniques: “Winnie the Pooh” the storybook or “Winnie the Pooh” the Disney movie?
This exercise will provide you with most of the direction you will ever need in heartbreaking, but there is another issue that I personally would like to clear up some confusion over.
The application of affection is one of the most discussed and debated areas of heartbreaking. Originally there were two schools of thought about this: There were those in the so-called “Italian school” who advocated for full-on, non-stop affection everywhere at every time and then there were those in the “British school” who unsurprisingly forwent any notion of warmth in molding the model of their piercing cold heartbreaker.
As an American, I prefer the middle road in which affection is used sparingly depending on the situation – I use affection in the same way that a fine chef uses vinegar or in the way that a college student uses ranch dressing.
Let your target think that they are frequently in control of the affection – both the amount and its initiation – without that ever being true. Creating confusion within your target will in time become your best friend, as it creates a sense of uncertainty and disorientation that will give you the opportunities for bold, grandiose gestures that you need.
Even after the heartbreaking is over, don’t be afraid to take a few victory laps. Deion Sanders may not have been the greatest athlete ever – he probably has, though, earned his spot below Mia Hamm and above Tony Parker in the grand scheme of things – but his style rightfully earned him the sweetest nickname in all of sports.
After achieving victory, I like to ask myself “What would Prime Time do right now?” Though I haven’t gotten to the level where I can bankroll an overnight trip to Disney World after every catch – that is, however, a goal I’m closely approaching – I do have some pretty slick ways to say “I won” without actually saying it.
Continuing being really good friend’s with your target’s roommate – i.e., studying with them and posting funny videos on his or her Facebook wall – is a no-brainer. Being abnormally loud in the cafeteria so as to draw attention to you – or just being drunk in public places during the day – is another standard one.
One of my personal favorites, however, is accidentally Facebook poking your target and then sending an overly gracious apology Facebook message explaining to your target that your roommate was really drunk and trying to play a prank, and I’m really sorry you had to get involved in this, and hey, I know it’s probably not the time or the place to say it, but it’s always nice seeing you in the halls and I want to say that I remember our time together with a smile and a laugh . anyway, I hope that that Vorenkamp paper turned out all right and your little sister enjoys having her braces off. . Although, I’ve personally gotten bored with this one from overuse.
Swallow this advice with the awareness that you are not cut out for this line of work. To the three of you out there reading this who are actually are, take faith in the knowledge that if you work hard enough, you may one day become immortalized in the pantheon with Carla Bruni, Don Johnson, Chuck Bass, Winona Ryder, Henry Kissinger and, oh yeah, little ol’ me.