Is it better to have loved and broken up with your lover using an AI chatbot than to have never loved at all? I honestly can’t say that it is! But that isn’t stopping folks from using bots like the popular ChatGPT to help them craft break-up texts.
“Breakup on Easy Mode!” a TikTok user captioned a video of themselves using ChatGPT to end things with a girl they’d been seeing for a year. Instead of mulling over the right way to kindly let her down, he asks the bot to help him write a “heartwarming breakup text.” The bot abides and sends back a couple of cordial paragraphs letting the girl down gently.
“Copy and paste that shit and you’re done!” the TikTok’er emphatically says. Call me a masochist, but I think we could benefit from going through the distress of breaking up with someone in our own language.
On the other end of the spectrum, some dating app users are having AI write their intro messages to their matches. “I love wine,” the chatbot offers one user looking for an in with a Danish oenophile. “Where is your favorite place to drink wine in Copenhagen?” Another user asks the bot to help him write a poem about a tall girl he’s matched with. Reportedly, she loves it. No one’s ever written her a poem before! (Still, no person technically has.)
I understand online dating can be a slog. I did it on and off for about six years. But automating interactions in our romantic relationships is “solving” a “problem” that won’t bring the solution you hope it does. As uncomfortable as initiating flirting is, and as dreadful as sending a kind person an “it’s not you, it’s me” text can be—it’s a muscle you have to build if you want intimate relationships with another person.
Bringing in a third party to aid with a breakup isn’t new—there are companies like The BreakUp Shop that will help you craft an email or text message ending a relationship. Plenty of love coaches offer these services, as well. Also, what is a best friend if not someone contractually obligated to line edit your risky texts? What is new is having AI guide someone through the uniquely human agony of turning down a potential love interest.
But before I totally knocked it, I turned to the love guru in question—ChatGPT—to better understand the limits of its breakup abilities. I started off simple:
Easy enough. But what about break-up text aimed at a more serious relationship, arguably one that shouldn’t happen over text?
I appreciated ChatGPT’s acknowledgment that ending a nine-year relationship is an “emotional experience” and then truly laughed at their suggestion to sign off from said relationship with “Take care.” I then had to see its ability to dump someone in a “funny way.”
Eh. AI hasn’t quite figured out humor. But, to be fair, neither have many humans. Maybe it is realistic in that sense. Anyway, I lowered the bar and asked for a breakup limerick.
Alright, I’ll give it to ChatGPT, this would be a good breakup message…for a freaking leprechaun. What about a scary breakup text? It is called ghosting, after all (ba-dum-ching!)
Booo! I found this to be unimaginative. There are absolutely times when a breakup could be scary, like on Halloween.
See, this is an example of the limits of AI. Sometimes you are cornered into a scenario where you must break up with someone while dressed as a slutty Marge Simpson. An algorithm will never understand that.
ChatGPT is really stuck on when it is and isn’t okay to break up with someone. So I asked if today, Groundhog’s Day, was an appropriate occasion.
I disagree. So, after tooling around a bit on the program, I decided to be direct (always a good idea) and ask ChatGPT exactly what I was thinking.
Take ChatGPT’s word! It is not a good breakup resource. Artificial intelligence might alleviate some awkwardness, but the course of true love must pass through the valley of discomfort. Sure, use it to maybe get some wording inspiration, but “breakup on easy mode” should be grounds for getting booted from the simulation!