Why You Should Never Say 'I’m Done' Until You Actually Mean It

False hope prevents us from being truly 'done.'

mad woman looking at phone Getty

By Brittany Christopoulos

“I’m done” is a common phrase said by people almost every single day.

They could be referring to completing a task that took a long time to work on, finishing a long day of work, or when the person you like is causing you pain.

Most of the time when we say those two words, it’s only proven to be true when it’s an accomplishment to be proud or excited about, or after something that was moving by painfully slow and being referred to as a celebration of finally finishing.


But other times? We don’t always mean it.

When saying “I’m done” while referring to a relationship of any kind, we say it while we are stuck in an emotional rut we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of. 

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There’s no way in hell we can say “I’m done” when our emotions are all twisted up inside of us. We might say those words, but deep down we really hope to hear from them again or have a second chance with them.

False hope prevents us from being truly “done.”

We only want to be done because we think if we are, we will feel better. The reality is that it doesn’t always help.


Think back to when we were kids and our parents would force us to eat a meal we didn’t want to eat.

We would feel so angry, upset, and frustrated that we would do a poor job at finishing our meal. We would proudly declare “I’m done,” thinking that if we left a little bit on the plate, the pain and suffering would be over.

Then, we would get the disappointing news that we weren’t and our quick moment of happiness and joy is soon back into sadness.

Think of our emotions as if they were the food on the plate. You only push them aside for a little while to feel like you can move on with your life. The reality is that you can’t just push them aside; you need to take some time to process everything and then you have the ability to say “I’m done” and genuinely mean it.


We’ve all been there where our significant other does something to cause your body to go numb from head to toe, and ultimately break your heart whether your relationship ends or not. We’ve all been on the phone with a friend or crying in the shower where we say “I’m done.” 

There’s nothing wrong with expressing yourself in that way, especially if you’re hurt. But don’t expect for yourself to truly be done.

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You know the second you get an apology or you see their name pop up on your phone screen that a smile will creep its way back on your face and you’ll be crawling back to him.

Why? Because you didn’t have time to process it and think things through the way you should.


Don’t throw that term out unless you are done for good.

In my opinion, by saying “I’m done” and going back to that person means you’re feeling weak and shows that you’re not fully respecting yourself.

If you go crawling back after every single fight where you say, “I’m done” or “we’re done,” what message is that sending him? That he can continue to get away with that behavior because whenever you say those two words, you don’t mean it. 

You’re always going to give in. Saying it won’t necessarily make him change, acting upon it will.

The moment you walk away to do your own thing will be the deciding factor if he’s worth keeping around or not.


If he comes back to you after you leave like you said you would, clearly he likes you enough to make things work. And if he doesn’t, continue to be done with him because he’s not worth keeping around.

Maybe I’ve been raised to not be a quitter unless something really isn’t working out for the better, but I never give up on something unless I know it’s my time to walk away.

More people need to learn how to wash that plate clean of their memory and put back in the cupboard to look back on and learn from.


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Brittany Christopoulos is a writer, journalist and fill-in TV co-host. She's a Senior Writer and Head of Trending News for Unwritten. Follow her on Twitter.