This is a classic interview from 2013 that was very popular, and I think this book is still perfect for so many reasons.
“Hi Jodyne and welcome to The Phil Factor. Thank you for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for my readers about your book Dump ’em: How to Break Up with Anyone from Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser.”
Jodyne: My pleasure and might I just say what a lovely first name you have. I’m lucky enough to have two dads and both of them are named Philip, although one of them goes by his middle name, Donald.
TPF: Well, thank you. Although I can’t take credit for picking my name I have become rather fond of it. So, what was the impetus for your decision to write Dump ‘em?
Jodyne: Like most people, I was terrible at ending any kind of relationship: cleaning ladies, dentists, hairdressers, friends, etc. I avoided those people I was too scared to dump like the plague. Unfortunately as the toll of people I was avoiding went up, so did my chances of running into them when least expected; like the checkout lane at CVS, the movies or my favorite restaurant. I was once cornered in Barney’s in New York City and forced to explain why I didn’t go back to see a former hairdresser that I really cared about, who just stopped cutting my hair evenly. It was awful running into her because at that point I had avoided her calls for a few months and here I was standing in front of her with a new hair cut. I didn’t want to lie, but my first reaction was to make up excuses and I just felt awful. She didn’t deserve that. She deserved the truth. I left that day with the clear intention of not wanting to be that person anymore, too scared to nip something in the bud when it came up. So I figured I would go to Borders (R.I.P) bookstore and find a book that would teach me how to politely dump people. When I discovered there was no such book, I decided it was time to teach myself, so I started gathering information and interviewing different people, both professional and personal. The more people I talked to, the more I got the consistent feedback that I should write a book. When enough people tell you that you should do something, you listen.
TPF: Was your intent for the book to be a therapeutic book that’s funny or funny book that turned out to have some therapeutic value?
Jodyne: Good question. I wanted the book to be both. I think everyone of us has struggled at some point with having to dump someone, and many of those stories are funny. Some not so funny, but at the very least relatable, so my intent was to share my personal stories, but at the end of the day make sure to include practical tips and tools so my reader would know how to do it in their own life. I genuinely wanted to share what I learned because I knew there were a lot of people out there in the world, like me who were looking for a kind and respectful way to end relationships.
TPF: Dump ‘em isn’t just about ending romantic relationships but relationships with anyone from your …ahem…manicurist/waxer to a neighbor to friends. In your personal life, whom have you found is most difficult for you to dump and why?
Jodyne: Personally, I find friendships the most difficult to end, because unlike romantic relationships which we enter into knowing there’s a good chance things won’t work out, with friends we go into it thinking they’ll be there for the long run. But like any relationship, sometimes they run their course. The problem is that sometimes only one person feels that the friendship has run its course. I’ve had friendships where the other person expects more from me than I am able to give, and not every friend understands that. When I was younger I had a number of toxic friendships; people that spoke disrespectfully towards me or who drained me emotionally and physically. I tried unsuccessfully in the past to to dump a lot of them, but most of them had such strong personalities that they wouldn’t let me! After researching and writing Dump ‘Em I learned how to dump those toxic relationships. I learned that not every break up has to be done in person, that sometimes the best way to end a relationship is write a solidly constructed letter.
TPF: You interviewed quite a list of luminaries for this book including Kato Kaelin, your sister Sarah Silverman, trainer Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser, Adam Corolla, and several professional experts. Of all those people, who surprised you and what did they say that you weren’t expecting?
Jodyne: Kato Kaelin surprised me the most. I knew I wanted to write a chapter about how to dump a houseguest since I used to live in New York City and I had never before had I been as popular as when I had my apartment in Soho. I had people I hadn’t seen since 2nd grade show up at my door hoping for a place to crash. Oddly since moving to Los Angeles, I haven’t had that problem, but I knew as soon as I decided to write the chapter on how to ask a houseguest to leave that I wanted to interview Kato and by sheer luck I happened to know someone who had his email address. I fully expected it to be the wrong email or just not hear back from him, but he ended up writing me back right away. I met him a few days later at the National Lampoon office on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles where he worked. Not only was he incredibly charming and charismatic, he was funny and smart. And the best part was that he actually had great advice about dumping a houseguest.
TPF: Your columns in The Huffington Post have been about relationships, or rather the end of relationships. Between those and your book, one might think that you’re a pessimist about relationships. Is that the case?
Jodyne: Actually, quite the opposite, but I can see how one could think that. I come from a broken home, so I saw first hand how relationships can fail without kindness. Observing my parents I thought all relationships ended either by fighting or by avoiding each other, so that’s what I did for many years. However I craved a different type of closure, I just didn’t know how to do it. My writing has always been personal and I think my path ultimately led me to write Dump ‘Em because I learned what was missing for me, that voice that stands up for myself in a kind and respectful way. I am in no way trying to say that dumping people is easy, but my book advocates that there is a way of doing it where everyone gets closure and that for me is a hugely important part in ending any relationship.
TPF: Did you catch any flack from former friends, hairdressers, trainers or others who may have recognized themselves as examples in your book?
Jodyne: Funnily enough I didn’t. I actually went on Rachael Ray to apologize to my old hairdresser who reached out to me numerous times to see if I was okay after not hearing from me for some time. It didn’t help that I kept hitting delete on my answering machine. In all fairness she did give me a mullet before I graduated from college. But still, I knew this woman and saw her outside of the salon and she deserved to know that I was going in a different direction with my hair and not to expect me back. See that’s the thing, I think sometimes we build up saying good-bye to a relationship as the most difficult thing ever, when the truth is it can be very simple, it’s comes down to how we say it, and I advocate for less is more. Don’t go into long lists of excuses as to why you are leaving the relationship, keep it short and sweet with a potential opening for a return, because sometimes when we leave a relationship, we realize that we want to return and so leaving the door open is a great way of knowing you can return if things don’t work out.
TPF: Did you ever speak to or hear from your former assistant French Fry?
Jodyne: Sadly, no.
TPF: I’m sorry to hear that. Your story about that particular relationship was heartbreaking.
Jodyne: Ugh. I know! That one in particular got me where it hurts because he did absolutely nothing wrong. whereas with other relationships we have a way of justifying our actions by thinking that person was an ass anyway. but French Fry was salt of the earth.
TPF: Well, who knows, maybe French Fry reads The Phil Factor and will see this and understand. It’s been a couple years since Dump ‘Em came out. Are there plans for another book of any kind?
Jodyne: I’ve been talking to people about turning the book into a television show, which would be a lot of fun. I also just finished a screenplay for a production company in Los Angeles based on an article I wrote for the Huffington Post. I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve, but you’ll have to follow me on Twitter to find out!
TPF: I think a show based on the book is a great idea! I’ll follow you on Twitter and look for Dump ‘Em in next seasons Fall line up. Jodyne, thank you for visiting #ThePhilFactor and thank you for your time. I’m glad you didn’t decide to dump me when I e-mailed to ask for this interview. For those of you that would like to read more you can find Jodyne’s book in both hard copy and e-book in bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all the other online retailers. You can also follow Jodyne on Facebook and Twitter. As always, if you enjoy what you read here please share it with your friends by hitting the Facebook, Twitter or other share buttons below.
You are right is was a super interview, Phil. Thanks.