People think of breaking up in terms of relationships, but we still have to ‘break’ when we have been dating someone and don’t think that it’s working out anymore. You’ve gone on a date or few with someone; you’ve been ‘seeing’ each other for a few weeks; dating ‘online’;exchanging regular phonecalls and all the other things that happen with that first flush of romance but for one reason or another you don’t think it’s going to work and you want to get out.

The problem that people always struggle with at this point is knowing how to break up with the person. We fear that whatever we do will make it appear as if we thought that there was something so much bigger going on. Maybe we’re not sure about how much they really liked us anyway, or maybe we think that they like us far more than they do and end up treating them as if this is a whopper of a blow to their lives and treat it like a big break up.

The key is to be polite and courteous. Think Karma. Treat someone as you would want to be treated.

Whatever you think, you should do something. Don’t just hope they’ll get the message when you stop communicating.

Choose your communication. Whether it’s email, phone, a letter (bit dramatic I think), or face to face, choose the most appropriate means. The phone should be used to make a phonecall, not to text. Texting is a handy form of communication to tell people you’re gonna be late, ask how they are, convey details of a meeting place etc. It is not a break up tool! The telephone and email are the most likely choices.

If you telephone – Of course you should say hello and do the pleasantries, but cut to the chase and tell them. It’s uncomfortable but rarely as bad as you think it will be. They may even expect it. Don’t turn it into a big saga; just tell them that for whatever reason, things aren’t working out, thanks for a nice time or whatever and goodbye. Ideally you shouldn’t say that you want to be friends – it’s crass and often insincere and they know it too. Try to steer clear of giving them a blow by blow analysis of your time with them, but if they’ve done something that is particularly bad and was a red flag, tell them politely. You may be helping the next person as they may deal with the issue.

If it’s email – This is likely to be used if you’ve met online, or you really can’t face the thought of phoning. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t turn it into an essay and certainly don’t do finger pointing and again, a blow by blow analysis. Thank them for the date or time, tell them that you don’t want things to progress or so don’t see things progressing, wish them well and sign off. Polite, to the point. If they email you back asking for specific reasons, give a reason and hope that that draws a line under this. If they keep emailing you, block them.

If they haven’t done anything in particular other than just not light your fire, don’t go making up some horrid reason as this could wreck their self esteem over a non existent ‘flaw’. It is OK not to be compatible or  not attracted to someone. That’s why we date! To find out if these things exist!

As a point of reference, if you do decide to ‘end things’ face to face, it will open up a massive discussion which is not in proportion with the size of the relationship. This tends to be the route favoured by drama queens. It also opens you up to the possibility of giving things another chance. I recommend the face to face route, only if the possibility of things continuing is something you want to entertain.

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