Want To Break Up? 'Tis The Season, So Better Hurry It's not just turkeys that get nervous this time of year. Chances are high that a failing relationship will also meet its end during the holidays. That's because it's not just turkey season — it's turkey drop season.
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Want To Break Up? 'Tis The Season, So Better Hurry

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Want To Break Up? 'Tis The Season, So Better Hurry

Want To Break Up? 'Tis The Season, So Better Hurry

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Okay. We're done with the turkey sandwiches. No more turkey bowls on TV. The turkey decorations are stuffed in the back of the closet. Now, there's just one thing left for this weekend: the turkey drop.

Carly MacLeod, what is the turkey drop?

Ms. CARLY MACLEOD (Romance Columnist, Student Life Newspaper): The turkey drop is that holiday breakup season where all the college students return home for their first major vacation and everyone breaks up.

SMITH: Carly MacLeod is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis and is the romance columnist for the Student Life newspaper. And she's with us from her hometown of Boston.

So, why the timing? Why is Thanksgiving the perfect - or I guess the worse time, depending on which side you're on - to break up with someone?

Ms. MACLEOD: Well, I mean, a lot of the turkey dropping that goes on is with freshmen who went to high school together and, you know, they've had their relationship there and went into the whole long distance thing really gung ho. But after about three months of living separate lives, everyone's going to different parties and making new friends and not being able to see each other very much, everyone's just pretty sick of the whole thing at that point. So, go home, hook up and break up is pretty much the pattern.

SMITH: Well, I'm just glad to see they're not doing it over Facebook or texting or Twitter. You do want to do that face to face still?

Ms. MACLEOD: Definitely. I mean, it's nice that people are actually doing it face to face but�

SMITH: That's a good side. The bad side is you're with your family and you're home and�

Ms. MACLEOD: And it's right before finals. So, emotionally, it's already a burden and then you add studying for huge exams that are worth up to a third or a half of your grade. I mean, that's a lot of stress in many ways.

SMITH: That's pretty heavy. Now, you write the Romance 101 column in the Student Life newspaper at Washington University. And last week, you wrote about how to survive a turkey drop, and this comes from experience, right?

Ms. MACLEOD: Yes, very true. I was turkey dropped my freshman year. Came home for that first Thanksgiving break, and we saw each other and my boyfriend just said I can't do this anymore; the distance is too hard.

SMITH: And I don't mean to rub this in, but he was in high school and you were in college and he dumped you?

Ms. MACLEOD: He was. He was. He was still a senior in high school, so that one hurt even a little bit more than, I think, the regular breakup.

SMITH: Well, it turns out this isn't just a college phenomenon. Thanksgiving is perfect for breakups of all ages. So, who better to turn to than relationship and sex advice guru Dan Savage, who joins us from Seattle.

Hey, Dan.

Mr. DAN SAVAGE (Savage Love Column): Hey, Robert.

SMITH: So, what is it about Thanksgiving that makes it a common time to breakup?

Mr. SAVAGE: Well, for grownups, it's not that it's the first time you're laying eyes on each other after heading off to college. For grownups, it's the anticipation of being stuck for three or four more months. Because if you don't break up now at Thanksgiving or before Thanksgiving, you're a cad if you break up around Christmas and then there's New Year's, and you can't dump somebody right around New Year's. And then quickly after that, if you don't jump on it, is Valentine's Day.

So, really, Thanksgiving is when you have to pull the trigger if you're not willing to tough it out through February.

SMITH: Yeah, because you would have brought them home to the family at that point for maybe Christmas or Hanukkah or something like that, and that just makes it all worse.

Mr. SAVAGE: And, God forbid, if their birthday should fall some time between November and February, then you're really stuck.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: There's a whole physics over this. So, okay. Let's do it this way. Let's say we're dating, Dan, and you've decided that it's Thanksgiving and we've got to end this radio relationship. So, you're turkey dropping me.

Mr. SAVAGE: I'm actually bad at the turkey drop. I had a turkey drop that was coming and I fled the state.

SMITH: Dan Savage, I'd probably do the same.

Mr. SAVAGE: Pure wimp are you, Robert, (unintelligible) should we be dating.

SMITH: So, Carly MacLeod, do you have the guts to break up with me over the radio? Show me how it's done.

Ms. MACLEOD: I mean, the standard formula from all the different stories I've heard - I talked to a few friends before writing the article - pull you aside and I'd say, you know, it's been a lot of fun but I really have my own life going at school and I don't know if I have room for you to be part of that.

SMITH: I can change.

Ms. MACLEOD: I mean, the distance isn't going to change, though, and that's the big thing.

SMITH: There's always next summer. I mean, really, we can prolong this a little bit.

Ms. MACLEOD: But think of all the stuff we'll be able to do at our different schools and different lives because of this.

SMITH: What do you think, Dan Savage?

Mr. SAVAGE: I think she did really well, yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: I know you have a little bit of�

Mr. SAVAGE: She didn't even have to bring up the fact that you're already married and that might be a reason to break up.

Ms. MACLEOD: Only maybe.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SMITH: Carly MacLeod is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis studying English, and she's the romance columnist for the Student Life newspaper. Dan Savage writes the syndicated Savage Love Column.

Can we still be friends?

Mr. SAVAGE: Yes, Robert.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. MACLEOD: I'd say yes for sure.

SMITH: Thank you both.

Mr. SAVAGE: Thank you for having me.

Ms. MACLEOD: Thank you.

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