Can it be Done? : How to Break-Up Gracefully

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First and foremost it should be pointed out that when you’re on the receiving end of a break-up there is not much that can make it feel better in any way. However, there are certain things you can do during a break up that can help prevent future resentment, and may actually make becoming friends in the future a possibility.

1)  Do it in person

Probably the worst thing you can do is text or e-mail someone to break-up with them. It makes it seem like they were never important to you to begin with and also that you may be afraid of the person. Although breaking up in person may seem like a lot of trouble, just remember that the person you’re with went through a lot of trouble attracting you, getting to know you, dating you and actually put effort into the relationship. It’s basically like giving credit where credit is due.

2) Don’t talk too much

Try to make the break up as short and sweet as possible. Kind of like pulling off a Band-Aid. If the person you’re breaking up with actually asks why or what’s wrong or what happened, they don’t actually want to know. Don’t try to make it more than it is. Just make it as quick as possible and move on with your life so that they can move on with theirs.

3) Tell the truth (but not the whole truth)

Being honest is important. You should be honest throughout your relationship but also when it’s coming to a close. Know when it’s time to end things and don’t string another person along just because you’re afraid of being honest with yourself. When it’s time, it’s time. Dragging out a relationship past its expiration date just makes it harder for both people and is really unfair to the person who doesn’t know their time is being wasted.

However, being completely honest with someone as to the reason for your break up is often unnecessary. You can’t tell someone “hey, sorry but you’re not as attractive as I thought you were”. That will never go down well and is just plain hurtful. So the guideline on this is simple, just be honest without being offensive. Tell them that you’re looking for something different or that things aren’t working out or that you feel like you two aren’t a good match. Any of those are good reasons and are broad enough to be honest without being hurtful. Most people don’t really want to know the real reason anyway.

4) Don’t try to sympathize

I think the worst thing you can do during a break up is go into the whole “you’re such a nice person and you’re going to find someone absolutely incredible for you” schpiel. You can’t sympathize with someone you’re leaving because you’re making an effort to exit their lives but trying to be sweet about it. It can actually be hurtful to hear because they don’t want to think about anyone else especially after they’ve spent a lot of time focusing on thinking about you. You can’t possibly understand what they’re going through because you feel differently about them then they do about you (unless, of course, it’s a mutually agreed upon break up).

5) Don’t try to be friends right away

It’s hard enough for someone to move on from something they are familiar with but being stuck in limbo is way worse. When you first end a relationship with someone it’s nearly impossible to not have some sort of residual feelings for that person, and therefore being friends with that person puts you in an awkward position. Being friends with someone means you’re comfortable with all aspects of that person’s life. Are you really comfortable with the idea of them dating someone else? Are you comfortable knowing they will be hugged and kissed by another human being? If you aren’t, then you’re not really friends. It’s a way for you to stay a part of their lives without having the title of “significant other” while they’re still significant to you and it doesn’t work well.

You have to give it time. The general rule is you have to wait half the length of the original relationship before trying to be friends again. So if you were together for 2 years, you should wait at least 1 year to be involved in each other’s lives again.

Overall just realize that the person you’re breaking up with is a human – with emotions, that can include anger and the desire to be vengeful and the more graceful you can be the less likely that you’ll be burned.

Veronika Klebanova | News Cult