Flowers AFTER Breakup?
April 24, 2016 12:58 PM   Subscribe

My GF's 17YO daughter is experiencing her first real breakup. She's devastated. As her mom's BF for the last many years, would flowers be an appropriate way for me to express my sadness for her situation? Color?
posted by bricksNmortar to Human Relations (31 answers total)
 
No - just be there to listen if needed otherwise stay out of it
posted by lpcxa0 at 1:03 PM on April 24, 2016 [21 favorites]


Flowers seem a little unusual for this situation. I'd think more along the lines of a card with a handwritten quote/verse to let her know you're thinking of her. It's really kind of you to take her pain seriously instead of blowing it off with "you're only young plenty more fish blah blah" so I'm sure she will be touched by any sign that you're thinking of her feelings.
posted by billiebee at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2016


If you've been around for a long time.....I think a small bouquet would be lovely.... It would show that you care for her....that you want her to feel better.........y'all obviously have a relationship...... I say go for it...
posted by pearlybob at 1:11 PM on April 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Does she drink coffee? When I was 17, I would have been greatly comforted by being treated to my favorite coffee (or maybe ice cream? some other treat?).
posted by I_love_the_rain at 1:12 PM on April 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think this situation calls for a shitton of candy and ice cream given without comment, if anything. Each person is different but I didn't want to talk about my devastating breakups as a teen with adults other than my dad. I wanted to sit and cry and eat junk food and bitch about my ex to my same-age friends. Flowers would have reminded me of the ex.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:12 PM on April 24, 2016 [47 favorites]


It's really kind of you to ask this! I don't think flowers are quite right, but a different gift with different connotations might be nice. When I was 17yo and got dumped, I'd have liked a new CD (I guess that would be an iTunes gift card these days) or a manicure or a trip to my favorite restaurant.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:13 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


When my engagement ended and my roommate overheard the very loud, upsetting conversation that I was having with my then-fiance, she went ought and bought me a deluxe slice of decadent chocolate cake from Whole Foods. Hands down, best gesture of support ever, and she didn't even like me that much. I'll never forget it.

It was unusually apropos, too -- my ex was really rigid about controlling what kind of sweets I could and couldn't have, so getting to indulge in an enormous slice of cake while cursing his ass to the heavens was wonderful.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:14 PM on April 24, 2016 [74 favorites]


Depends on the breakup and how you were going to get her flowers. Do not re-break her heart (or re-traumatize her) by having them delivered or waiting for her where she might think they were from him.

I feel like an iTunes card or treating her and her mom to pizza-and-cupcakes (and netflix and pajamas) night (and your absence, so she can have her mom to herself) would be more appropriate.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:14 PM on April 24, 2016 [43 favorites]


At the risk of asserting gender stereotypes and possibly contributing to the development of unhealthy coping patterns, I'm going to say, give her some money for a little shopping trip or a night out with friends.

It's nice that you want to recognize this, but, bit of an awkward space for a step dad. Which is probably why you're thinking flowers :) But yeah it'd be shopping or going out for me.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:24 PM on April 24, 2016


Such a nice thought! I, too, wouldn't necessarily go with flowers as they're a little too closely connected with romance/dating, but I fondly remember my Dad buying me a bunch of junk food, candy, chocolate one day when he came home from work. He just wordlessly brought them into my room and said he was sorry, and it was so sweet and so appreciated. She's lucky to have you in her life!
posted by hollypolly at 1:25 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


You should ask your girlfriend, her mother, what would be the most appropriate gesture of support you should give her teenage daughter. Don't just give her flowers, especially, without consulting her mother. Not a good dynamic.
posted by flourpot at 1:27 PM on April 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Were I the 17-year-old daughter, I think being treated to ice cream or a movie, or a new album?, would be nice.
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 1:34 PM on April 24, 2016


If I were 17 and my mom's bf gave me flowers or chocolates, I would look at him like he was creeping on me.

Support is great, but be careful that it comes in a format that doesn't send mixed signals. I think a more dad vibe might be picking up a pint of her favorite Baskin Robbins ice cream (or one of the other excellent suggestions upthread).
posted by Michele in California at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2016 [42 favorites]


When I went through my first big break up at 17 my single, full custody dad gave me the collectors edition of the Back to the Future movies and I watched them on repeat for about a week on the living room couch. He also brought home my favorite snack foods. I have remembered that gesture my whole life. The key seemed to be that it provided a distraction and acknowledged that he understood and accepted my moping on the couch for a little while.
posted by teslacoilswoah at 1:35 PM on April 24, 2016 [21 favorites]


Any kind of gift in this situation should be given in the context of what you already know about her. Does she even like receiving flowers? See also: candy/ice cream/etc suggestions - is that even something she would want? Basically you need to figure out what it is she likes in happymaking situations, and do that. Consulting with her mom and thinking about what you know she enjoys is going to work out better than taking generic suggestions from people who have never met her and are going by "well this is what I personally would have liked," which may not reflect this individual girl's personal preferences. Teen girls aren't a monolith. They're individuals to be respected as such.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thank you!
posted by bricksNmortar at 1:44 PM on April 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is an incredibly sweet thought and, while I agree flowers are not the best thing, I'm sure you can think of other things she would enjoy that could take her mind off things. Maybe it's candy, coffee or some other edible treat, or maybe there's a book or album she's eyeing. If she has a hobby or is a super fan of a tv show/band/sports team/video game, something related to that would be nice. You may know her well enough to figure this out on your own, but consulting her Mom is also a good idea. You're really awesome to want to do something, and she will appreciate whatever gesture you make. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 1:44 PM on April 24, 2016


No flowers, for a few reasons. Lyn Never describes something that happened to me recently. I got flowers where every sign pointed to them being from my long-lost great love, and the truth, even for an oldster like me, it was agonizing. And flowers, to teen girls, are romantic, not sympathetic. (Though I would never, ever have come up with Michele in California's fear of a creeper, and any transference you might have to deal with at 12 should be long gone by 17.)

If her mom can't advise you, opt for (non-romantic-)comedy. The more, the better. DVDs from the 40s and 50s, if she'll watch them. Find things that comfort her, sure, but even better, opt for things that distract. Laughter is a great distraction.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:49 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Starbucks gift card would be super nice.
posted by permiechickie at 1:56 PM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


When my dog died, my dad took me to see Crocodile Dundee. I'm sure my dad never talked to me about feelings in my whole life (and he only took me to the movies that one time) but I knew he was trying to cheer me up. It's a very fond memory for me.
posted by beccaj at 1:59 PM on April 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


Seconding Michele in California -- creepy. If you're compelled to express, yes, gift her with something -- but not flowers.
posted by Rash at 2:28 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think that flowers are the issue...any weird vibe would be there without flowers, it's not the flowers that create it! It's the occasion. Flowers from dad or stepdad are for birthdays, graduation, etc. Ask your girlfriend what special treat she would like and then just be around if she needs to talk.
posted by 8603 at 2:46 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am 38 and from the South, so I, personally, would have understood yellow roses for friendship if my stepdad had given me flowers on a sad occasion. But (a), I don't think the younger set knows that "rule," and (b), not the right time, anyway. For a happy occasion, you can do any color.
posted by 8603 at 2:49 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Gift card for shopping sounds AWESOME. New clothes always make you feel great.
posted by jbenben at 2:51 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ben & Jerrys. Ask her favorite flavor. Then back off.
posted by Toddles at 4:16 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


My father sends me flowers at every opportunity: happy or sad. So when he's sent them after a break-up I took them in the spirit they were intended. I wonder if you have given her something special that she liked before and meant "I care about you" to stand en lieu of flowers? Others have made lovely suggestions above. Unless flowers have been a thing of yours in the past, it may be a bit too romance-oriented to her. But if you have been a flowers for all occasions kind of guy (like my father), your first impulse may be perfect.
posted by pammeke at 4:35 PM on April 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you guys hang out at a family, then you and her mom could have pizza / ice cream / candy night with her favorite silly movie.
posted by bunderful at 5:17 PM on April 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Agreeing it needs to be in line with her personality, but no one has suggested a gift certificate for a hairdresser yet (i don't think) Shaving my head after my first relationship broke up was very freeing.
posted by saucysault at 6:09 PM on April 24, 2016


It's lovely that you're even asking this question. I vote against giving her flowers. It's the kind of sweet gesture associated with romance, and after a breakup it might feel sad. How about telling her you want to go pick up some flowers for her mom, and asking her to come along? That way, she gets to look at and enjoy lots of different flowers, and also spend some time with you.

The best things you can do for her... well, some of them are don'ts. Don't say things intended to cheer her up, like, "plenty of fish in the sea" or "it's his loss" or anything else trying to change her feelings. It's good to say that you've been through it, if you have.

When I was the girl in this situation, my dad told me that watching TV is one of the best things to do when you want to turn off your sad thoughts. Back then, there were no DVRs or streaming movies... so now there are a lot more choices in things that can distract her for a while.

Take her for a drive. You don't have to talk at all. Bring tissues, and a pair of sunglasses for her to put on to hide her red eyes.
posted by wryly at 6:10 PM on April 24, 2016


Oof. Please no gift certificate to a hairdresser. Many young women would interpret that as a message that they need to fix their appearance --or even that a lack in that department caused the breakup.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 1:44 AM on April 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I would go for a present that gives her something to do - eat, read, watch, go to - whatever she enjoys, but avoiding "triggers" like romantic movies obviously!
posted by intensitymultiply at 3:10 AM on April 25, 2016


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