Neil Sedaka was right: breaking up is hard to do.
The act of breaking up is an art, indeed. It's something that involves the ever fragile human ego. If you shipped a breakup from California to New York, the box would certainly contain a warning to handle with care. This is why "how to break up with someone" is a phrase frequently typed into the search boxes of Google and Yahoo. People want to know how to do it "nicely".
However, the "how to break up with someone" doesn't exactly have a clear cut answer. You may be as nice as humanly possible, but you are still rejecting someone. Everything we know about human nature tells us that feelings will still be hurt. Still, hurt feelings aren't the only thing you need to be concerned with when wondering how to break up with someone. Anger, a thirst for revenge, and other emotional extremes can also arise. This is why handling things with care is so vital; If you shake the box too vigorously, things are sure to break.
So, the next time you are in this awkward position, consider the ways of how to break up with someone by knowing "how not to break up" with them.
1. Don't Do It On Oprah
Years back, there was a rumor that Matt Damon broke up with Minnie Driver on Oprah. When the host asked him if he had a girlfriend, he said no. Allegedly, this was the first Minnie had heard of his new found freedom.
You might not have any plans to go on Oprah (her loss, obviously), but the point is you should never break up with someone on a public medium. Yep, this includes Facebook. You should also not tell others you are broken up until you actually tell your partner first.
2. Don't Be Vague
The next tip in How to Break Up With Someone: 101 involves a bit of a fine line: you shouldn't be vague, but you shouldn't be overly specific either. Being too vague leaves people at a loss for why the breakup even occurred — they literally have no idea why you left. This ultimately prevents them from getting closure, leaving them hung up on you for longer than is necessary.
Being overly specific, however, is also dangerous. You should never go to a breakup with a list of reasons your partner annoyed you (Number 1: you chew with your mouth open, Number 2: I liked your hair longer, Number 196: your cooking tastes like feet). Being too specific is hurtful and not at all conducive to any conversation.
3. Don't Give Off Mixed Signals
Of all the How to Break Up With Someone tips, not sending mixed signals may be the most important; unfortunately, it's also one of the most common mistakes. A few examples of mixed signals include calling them the day after the breakup to make sure they're okay, telling them that you only want to do a trial separation when your true intentions are to leave forever, and breaking up with someone but continuing to sleep with them.
Mixed signals are inherently unfair to the person you are breaking up with and —when you're doing the breaking up—you must be considerate of how the other person feels (instead of being consumed with how you feel). Mixed signals prevent your ex from getting over you, meeting someone new, and moving on with their lives. This is why they must be avoided.
If you legitimately believe you and your ex can still be friends — it's rare that it works, but it does happen — be sure you make it clear that your interest is in Platonic City. Don't be physical, don't flirt, and don't refrain from dating other people. Treat your ex as you treat all your friends. As long as you don't routinely French kiss your buddies, you probably won't have a problem.
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