Do’s and Don’ts Of Break-up
Every situation is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to breaking up. But there are some general “do’s and don’ts” you can keep in mind as you start thinking about having that break-up conversation.
- Think over what you want and why you want it. Take time to consider your feelings and the reasons for your decision. Be true to yourself. Even if the other person might be hurt by your decision, it’s OK to do what’s right for you. You just need to do it in a sensitive way.
- Think about what you’ll say and how the other person might react. Will your BF or GF be surprised? Sad? Mad? Hurt? Or even relieved? Thinking about the other person’s point of view and feelings can help you be sensitive. It also helps you prepare. Do you think the person you’re breaking up with might cry? Lose his or her temper? How will you deal with that kind of reaction?
- Have good intentions. Let the other person know he or she matters to you. Think about the qualities you want to show toward the other person — like honesty, kindness, sensitivity, respect, and caring.
- Be honest — but not brutal. Tell the other person the things that attracted you in the first place, and what you like about him or her. Then say why you want to move on. “Honesty” doesn’t mean “harsh.” Don’t pick apart the other person’s qualities as a way to explain what’s not working. Think of ways to be kind and gentle while still being honest.
- Say it in person. You’ve shared a lot with each other. Respect that (and show your good qualities) by breaking up in person. If you live far away, try to video chat or at least make a phone call. Breaking up through texting or Facebook may seem easy. But think about how you’d feel if your BF or GF did that to you — and what your friends would say about that person’s character!
- If it helps, confide in someone you trust. It can help to talk through your feelings with a trusted friend. But be sure the person you confide in can keep it private until you have your actual break-up conversation with your BF or GF. Make sure your BF/GF hears it from you first — not from someone else. That’s one reason why parents, older sisters or brothers, and other adults can be great to talk to. They’re not going to blab or let it slip out accidentally.
- Don’t avoid the other person or the conversation you need to have. Dragging things out makes it harder in the long run — for you and your BF or GF. Plus, when people put things off, information can leak out anyway. You never want the person you’re breaking up with to hear it from someone else before hearing it from you.
- Don’t rush into a difficult conversation without thinking it through. You may say things you regret.
- Don’t disrespect. Speak about your ex (or soon-to-be ex) with respect. Be careful not to gossip or badmouth him or her. Think about how you’d feel. You’d want your ex to say only positive things about you after you’re no longer together. Plus, you never know — your ex could turn into a friend or you might even rekindle a romance someday.
These “dos and don’ts” aren’t just for break-ups. If someone asks you out but you’re not really interested, you can follow the same guidelines for letting that person down gently.