How NOT to Break Up with Someone
Junior high and elementary school had their moments where a girl and boy “went steady” with each other for an entire lunch period and then broke up through their friends. Today with the influx of technology, people need to have a little more tact when it comes to ending relationships. It’s so easy to change your online status to “single” and have everyone and their mother, father, aunt, and cousin Steve inquire about what happened, how it happened and so forth.
When you’re the “dumper”, choosing a break up method can be quite stressful and a difficult situation to endure despite the fact that you are about to break someone’s heart. If you’re on the brink of ending your love affair and too scared to get it over with, here are several examples of how NOT to break up with someone!
This is the oldest trick in the book. You are so indecisive in choosing how to break the news so you waste time and just don’t do anything. By the end of the month, you’ve got fifty-two missed calls, ten voice mails and all of your friends are asking you what’s going on.
My advice to you is to “man-up” or “woman-up”. Either call this person to tell them the truth or break the news face-to-face. No one likes to be left hanging and the sooner you tell them, the sooner you can stop feeling like you’re in a rut. Even though the news is bad, the person will feel better knowing the truth rather than racking their brains trying to figure out if you were abducted by aliens.
This has got to be one of those worst ways to get dumped and to dump someone. Not only is it a pure cop-out, it’s extremely impersonal. If you have any urge to pick up your phone, whip out your thumbs and start typing “Sorry I’ve been so M.I.A. FYI – we should break up:(. TTYN.”—seriously think about it before you hit send. For those who aren’t text message savvy, TTYN stands for “Talk to you never.”
Another issue with text messaging is if the person is devastated and doesn’t understand why you’re breaking up with them, they might try to argue with you. Arguing through texts is ridiculous because of the amount of time it takes to type back and forth. You might as well pick up the phone and have that last conversation. If you deem yourself nice and considerate then make sure to exhibit these qualities until the very end.
The Social Network: Facebook, My Space, Twitter
Sometimes I think back to high school and feel fortunate that social networking wasn’t around at that time. Being a teenager is hard as it is, but having gossip “put on blast” about you online makes it ten times worse.
If you are considering using one of these networks to break up with someone, please seriously think it over before you go through with it. Because of the online community, you will hurt them by making it public for everyone to see. According to a census at www.istrategylabs.com, Facebook has 103 million US-based users and had a 145% growth in one year. Think long and hard before putting your break up on “blast mode” for possibly half of the country to see.
I understand how people use Twitter and Facebook for validation purposes. We’ve all seen a status update asking a question like “Should I feel guilty for spending $3000 on a Coach purse?” And then, ten people respond by saying things like, “Uh-uh girl, you have to treat yourself every once in awhile,” or “Don’t feel guilty, I just bought three pairs of Manola Blahniks” and so on. Now the person doesn’t feel as guilty because the social network has validated the purchase.
The same can be said about relationships. If you proceed to break up with someone via Twitter, everyone will comment about it and put their two cents in. You might feel like the blow has dampened for you but for the person you broke up with, it’s become a nightmare. He or she may quit social networking altogether. That may not seem like a big deal but if you’re someone who uses it for career networking purposes, it can be detrimental.
Gossip, aka Word of Mouth
This is one of the sliest ways to end a relationship. Instead of facing the person, you tell one of your friends who you know has a big mouth and he or she tells one of their friends and eventually the news gets around. If you take this route, you risk the story metamorphosing into a crazy tale about how, while you were cheating with your ex at a house party in the Jacuzzi, a wild bear showed up to ravage the entire scene. The point is stories transform from person to person and take on new plots that you didn’t initiate.
Again, imagine yourself in that person’s shoes: shopping at the grocery store and an acquaintance comes up to you to offer a shoulder to cry on. You have no idea what is going on and find out that you’ve been dumped through someone you hardly know. Your heart sinks but the embarrassment adds a whole new dimension to your pain. There’s nothing worse than being the last person to find out information about you that everyone else knows already.
These three ways are lumped together because there are situations where they could be good or bad ways to break up with someone. With email, some people feel like this is a cop-out because a person hides behind a computer and doesn’t have to deal with the emotions that a face-to-face break up unleashes.
On the other hand, email is a way to get out what you need to say without being interrupted or argued with. If there is a complicated reason why you’re breaking up with someone, email might be the way for you to have their undivided attention.
A voice mail is just as bad as a text message but if the person is hard to get in touch with, a message saying, “Please call me. I think we need to talk about our relationship”, implies that something is obviously wrong and leaves it up to the other person to call you to find out. If you just leave a voice mail saying, “It’s over. Don’t call me, don’t text, don’t email. Lose my number.”— that might be a bit too harsh.
Finally, ending a relationship over the phone. While some people believe this is cowardly, if you are in a long distance relationship, this might be the only way you can end it. Personally, I advocate for the phone or in person because both provide a chance for some discussion and closure.
Depending on the length of your relationship, discussing why it didn’t work out can help people become aware of things they can work on. It can also be a way for you to understand more about yourself and the things you do or don’t want in a relationship. Just don’t let it drag out for too long; you don’t want to spend three hours explaining why strip clubs are not the perfect date night spots. Aim for closure.
Do Unto Others
The Golden Rule is a great blueprint for deciding how to break up with someone. When considering the possibilities: simply ignoring them, a text message, a status update saying “All you people out there, I’m single now, let’s party!”, gossip, email or voice mail—remember to put yourself in that person’s shoes and think of how you would feel if it were done to you.
Having the guts to face the person will not only help him or her feel slightly better about the situation, but you’ll be able to sleep at night knowing you did the right thing!