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This personal blog is where I channel my inner wordsmith, adding color to those design topics that often fall between the lines.

A Breakup Letter

Listen, this is hard for me. But I've got to be straight: We're over. It's not me... it's you.

For so long, I was fooling myself, thinking things would change next week, next month, next year. But your hold on me is too tight. You can't give me the space I need.

I admit we had some good times. Well, come to think of it, there was just that one time. I'd had a root canal and hadn't eaten for days. I was light-headed - you could call it hungry - when you caught my eye. You were just hangin'... so sleek and slender. Right away I knew I wanted you.

I'd almost forgotten what had happened that night. Remember? I wanted to show you off to my friends, but I overdid it. I think I ate an entire cashew, and that didn't sit well with you. Actually, you wouldn't allow me to sit at all. We had just met, and already we were coming apart at the seams.

I realize now that we were never a good fit. The truth is that from the beginning I couldn't be myself around you. And I didn't want to see who you really were. Where did you even come from? Who shaped you? Every fiber of your being is an affront to womankind. You're so narrow and controlling! I'm sorry. That was probably uncalled for. You can't help the way you're made, and I'm the one who snapped you up and took you off the market.

I was unrealistic about putting your needs before my own - like, for example, my need for solid food. I know, I know, everyone in our zip code has forsaken gluten, so why couldn't I do that for you? Because of one thing: yes, croissants! I mean, they're one of the wonders of the world - flaky bread that also has so much butter? That's like giving up the wheel! I'm not sure why I'm even bothering to explain. You've never really liked my stories, because talking requires breathing. 

My attachment to you has been my secret shame. I've never told anyone about our middle-of-the-night trysts in the privacy of my closet, me holding my breath the whole time, hoping this time will be different. I don't want to live like this anymore!

So I'm setting you free, size 4 silver Cotton, Rayon & Viscose Blend Pencil Skirt. I'll be dropping you off at The Way We Wore consignment shop. I hope you'll find someone more appropriate - maybe someone half-human, half-scallion? And I'm not coming back for you. I'm done. Finished.

I'm returning to someone who really gets me, who allows me to be who I am, who's always got my back (and front) - my always forgiving, and extremely accommodating, boyfriend jeans. 

Time to come clean: The real inspiration behind this blog post is a design thinking exercise. The Love/Breakup Letter is based on the premise that the relationships we have with brands and applications are very similar to those we have with people. When we love and appreciate brands, we come to rely on them, become loyal to them, and look for more and more ways to include and incorporate them into our lives. We talk about them with our friends and share them with family. On the other hand, when we detest brands, we do whatever it takes to avoid them, speak out against them, and actively seek out alternatives.

Treating brands and products like people can help us better understand their context within our lives. Writing a letter is a perfect way to tap into the emotional connections we have with our products and find ways to promote their best attributes or fix the features that are broken. So to all those in the product management/design/development space - I highly recommend this exercise!