6 Tips On Breaking Up With Someone Without Being A Jerk


Folks, we are heading into springtime, when the forced coupling of the winter season turns into the relationship equivalent of Reservoir Dogs, and no couples are left standing. If you don’t know anyone who has been broken up with in the past few weeks and you are in your twenties, the laws of sexual sabermetrics will even out soon, and it could be you next.

To help all of us through this delicate time, I share with you a list of rules on how one should not break up with their partner, spouse, sex partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, pharmacist, librarian, or pizza delivery guy. It’s 2012 and possibly our last year on Earth. These six tips will ensure that you stay classy in your final hours.

Don’t use words like: Friend, baby/babe, tiger, son, girl or dawg.

When you’re breaking up with someone, it’s best if they know that you still remember what their name is, and constantly referring to them by other labels is not helpful — especially if that name happens to be the name of the person you’ve been sleeping with on the side. People who are being broken up with need to be affirmed — so they know that being with you wasn’t a complete waste of their time — and the best way to do that is to respect them. You cannot respect someone while referring to them as “dawg,” and using that terminology also shows the person you’re breaking up with that you aren’t taking the act very seriously.

And if you wanted to call someone “baby,” you would continue being in a romantic relationship with them. By ending that relationship, you give up all rights to that word. Drop it.

Don’t break up at a wedding.

Where and when you break up with someone matters, and the other person is going to know that. If you break up with someone at a wedding, funeral, baby shower, bar mitzvah, graduation or during/ before a major holiday, they are completely justified in pulling out a knife and stabbing you. And I’m positive that the law would side with them, especially if the two of you happen to be French.

You know that trick about breaking up with someone in a public place so they can’t make a scene? Everyone knows that trick, and you know what? It never works. Somehow, all the imposed repression of needing to be “cool” because of, like, society and stuff just makes you act even crazier. For instance, if you are at a fancy restaurant, don’t be shocked if the other person cries, screams or flips over the table. Have you ever seen Legally Blonde? Don’t be that person. Everyone hates that person.

Don’t excuse yourself for being a total dick, if that’s what you’re being.

Remember that the breakee does not have to like you, and no amount of politeness or grace will permit them to let you off the hook for being a tool. Don’t insist that they like you while you are treating them like crap. All that indicates to the person who is being broken up with is that you expected them to be okay with you treating them like crap throughout the entirety of the relationship. Remember that the way you break up with someone is going to be the last thing that they remember about your relationship. If you tell them that “you were never really attracted to [them],” “you hate [their] mom,” “being around [them] makes [you] feel like crap about [yourself]” or that “you’ve hated [them] for years,” you will always be that person. Don’t let that be your signifier.

Also, don’t use your closeness with any of their friends or family to absolve yourself for your douchery. Just because their mom liked you, your aunt is friends with their aunt or your grandmother gave them a Christmas present once doesn’t mean that you’ll be singing “Kumbaya” a week later. Having a previously good relationship with their family does not make you “like family;” it makes you a manipulative douchebag.

Don’t tell all your friends (or their friends) that you’re breaking up with them before you do it.

Because they will always find out about it. If there’s one thing that the show Gossip Girl has taught us, it’s that people are terrible at keeping secrets. You know all those text messages you sent to your best friend about how you couldn’t wait to break up with your boyfriend so you could start dating someone else? Somehow, the boyfriend is going to see them. Your boyfriend will pick that day to get super drunk and read your texts for fun — because they wanted to tease you about your bad grammar later. And then your life turns into Revolutionary Road.

You can’t always be friends, so don’t insist upon it.

If the breakup is amicable and/ or both parties mutually consent to continuing a friendship, keeping in contact with one another can be wonderful. You were both good people for most of the relationship and just because you can’t keep putting your mouth on each other doesn’t always mean you have to hate each other. In many cases, you even find that you function much better as friends than as lovers and get to a point where you consider it weird that the two of you ever dated.

However, this is something you have to work up to and it’s not everyone’s path. Breaking up with someone does not grant you insta-friend status, especially if you broke up with them poorly or were a jerk during the relationship. For instance, did you break up with someone via email, phone, Facebook message, Facebook chat, text message or carrier pigeon? If you were not in a foreign country or previously shipped off to the military, these things mean that the other person has no real reason to be friends with you and that most of their real friends might hate them for being friends with you. Respecting the friends that have put in the time and hard work to earn that label is preferable to appeasing someone who thought it was appropriate to text you, “Just not feeling ‘it.’ Friends?”

Don’t like it? Then you should have taken the breakee out for coffee and talked about your feelings like a decent human being. Deal with it, dawg.

And, forgodsakes, don’t Facebook status about it.

Seriously, no one wants to hear about your breakup drama on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, if that’s still a thing. They just want to see pictures of cats wearing hats. If you don’t have something nice to say, say it to your best friend or your therapist.

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image – Husbands and Wives