Break Up Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Ending a Relationship
Whether it’s just bad timing or a bad match, breaking up is never easy. If your relationship is coming to an end, it’s important to keep etiquette in mind when preparing for the split. Don’t pull out the dreaded five-word cop-out, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Instead, follow these do’s and don’ts for a more respectable break up.
When considering the other person’s feelings…
Don’t try to let them down easy. You may think you’re being selfless by making up excuses or not telling the truth, but you’re really just doing this to protect your own feelings of guilt and selfishness.
Do tell them why you really want to break up. Even if the truth isn’t easy, it will help you both find closure and move forward.
When deciding what to say and how much…
Don’t spend too much time on why it’s ending. An extensive explanation of your reasoning may lead to accusations and unnecessary hurt towards the other person. It can also open the door for what-ifs from your partner, which will only lead to false hope and more disappointment later.
Do keep it short and to the point. Put thought into your exact reasoning before the conversation starts. Use “I” statements along with honesty and kindness to discuss why you feel it should end.
When determining where to do it…
Don’t break up with someone in public. They should have the freedom to express themselves without the fear of having to hold emotions in or being embarrassed.
Do have the respect and courage to break up with someone in person. Hiding behind technology makes you look bad and ruins any chance of a real discussion and closure for the other person.
When you’ve realized that it’s time to break up…
Don’t stay together simply because you’re afraid of hurting their feelings or because the timing isn’t “right.” Stringing someone along regardless of circumstance is hurtful and will only make things worse.
Do speak up and end the relationship if you’ve resolved to do so.
Most of all, remember the golden rule of break ups: treat your partner the way you would want to be treated. Being honest, kind, and respectful when breaking up will help you both come out of the relationship less hurt and able to move on for the better.