Rather than a restaurant invitation, send your friend a box containing the Pensees of Pascal, the aphorisms of La Rochefoucauld, the collected works of Chamfort, Schopenhauer and Cioran, and selections from the work of Seneca
A friend of mine has recently been left by her boyfriend and is very upset. I’d like to cheer her up and thought of taking her out to dinner somewhere nice. I live in Grimsby, and wondered if you had any nice ideas for restaurants in the town or the vicinity?
I rarely dine out, but the greater question is whether you should be taking your friend out anywhere in the first place. Your intended goal is to make her feel better about the (unspecified) romantic disaster she has suffered. And if this is the goal, we must analyse what it is truly useful to say to someone who has been left in love.
Part of the pain of a sad experience in a love affair comes from the preconception, which is fostered in a thousand Hollywood films and in the generally optimistic atmosphere of the modern media, that love is a happy business. This optimism makes us suffer doubly when love goes wrong for us: we suffer not only from the pain of the loss of love, but also from the pain of being in pain when we are supposed to be happy.
In this situation, it is apparent that the most useful thing one can do with someone who has been abandoned is to provide them with evidence that life is not in fact a happy process, whatever the songs might say. This will appease their feeling of persecution and place their own pain in context.
Rather than a restaurant invitation, I therefore suggest that you send your friend a box containing: the Pensees of Pascal, the aphorisms of La Rochefoucauld, the collected works of Chamfort, Schopenhauer and Cioran, and selections from the work of Seneca. They may particularly appreciate the Roman philosopher’s remark: ‘What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.’
You may even want to embroider this on a cushion or a bedcover for her.