A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking Up With Someone

The song says that breaking up is hard to do. Is it? I think it can be, when you’ve never done it before. I mean there’s a certain delicateness to the operation. If you’ve ever been dumped you know how hard it can be to take. Almost certainly there are moments and things said that you look back and think, “that was so not called for!” You don’t want someone to go through that kind of ego shattering, security robbing humiliation. There’s a certain balance you’re looking to strike and a certain result you want: “I don’t want this person stalking me, but I want to make sure I never have to deal with another 2am text from them either!” With that balance in mind, here are a few tips to keep it clean.

Location, Location, Location!
Neutral place is best. I was all set to break up with a girl during my junior year but I wanted to do it in person. I figured the park. It would have been someplace somewhat public but one that had no significance to our time together whatsoever. The second she said, “Come on over to my apartment,” the alarm from every sci-fi movie that means the end of the world is nigh started ringing in my ears. Don’t dump him/her in his/her home, or at school, or in their office, you’ll just be robbing them of their safe space. Pick a place you’ve never been before and don’t plan on going again. If you’re super early into the relationship, the phone might be amicable but only under certain circumstances. Still comes off as douchey.

Avoid birthdays or special occasions. Breaking up with someone after they’ve caught the bouquet at their sister’s wedding is grounds for Hannibal Lector serving you your own leg. Mondays seem to be popular, although it’s tough to go wrong with a Thursday or Friday. Having a weekend to take it all in is handy, although being distracted all week with work can provide the kind of structure that allows you to get perspective. It’s a case-by-case basis, use your judgment.

Be honest but BE RESPECTFUL
Do you like getting rejected? No! So try to keep in mind that the person you’re dumping is going to be put into a sh*tty mood. Leave out any unnecessary nitpicks and jabs. There’s no cause to be cruel. Tell it like it is: “We want different things, “We’re at different places in our lives,” “I think it’s best if we ended it now.” Whichever cliché applies, use it and be done with it. You don’t have to go into a diatribe about all the things wrong with them that lead to this moment of you destroying their emotional security. Think of the Golden Rule: dump others as you would want to be dumped.

Having the break up conversation is usually necessary for both of you to get closure. As the dumper, you have a responsibility to hear the other person out. You won’t need to agree with all, or anything, of what they’re saying. However, it’s important to give them their time. It’s polite. I believe a great word would be “civilized.” Plus, odds are you might learn a little something about yourself that you weren’t aware of before.

Stay calm
Better not to scream. Or smile like it’s the happiest day of your life (even if it is). There’s no reason to get defensive, even if they get angry and say something petty. Who do you need to impress? Keep your ego in check and you won’t antagonize or agonize, thus making it go a lot smoother in swifter fashion.

Sounds pretty simple, right? No money spent. No restraining orders needed. Just keep these points in mind before you tell them, “We need to talk.” It’s all in the name of making the cleanest break possible. That’s the easiest kind to heal from and the easiest to look back on without coming to the realization that you might have scarred someone for a couple years. Breaking up isn’t rocket science, it’s common decency. Be kind, be clear, be respectful, and it’ll be over before you know it.


The Dude

[Lead image via J-me-L/Shutterstock]

  • 10614935101348454