How to Break Up with Someone and Remain Their Friend

Two Methods:Be Careful During the Break UpThe Transition From Lovers to Friends

Anyone can break up with their significant other, but it takes a lot of effort to stay friends. In fact, most people feel that it is impossible. The more intense the relationship, the more difficult it can be to move forward. Despite the obstacles, however, a life-long friendship can blossom after a romantic relationship ends.

Method 1
Be Careful During the Break Up

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    Make sure that your break up doesn't come out of the blue. You don't want to be lovey-dovey one day and breaking up the next day. Perhaps become increasingly distant (but not hostile) over a period of a month or two. If there is a particular event that can be connected with it, all the better (such as family problems, or dissatisfaction with your job, or generalized depression, etc). Don't drag this out longer than necessary. Once your partner starts to get the message, it becomes cruel to carry on.
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    Do the right thing and break up face to face. And make sure you have enough time for a long conversation. Don't be afraid to show emotion yourself, but remain resolute - wavering will make the situation worse.
    • Allow your ex to determine when the conversation is over. Keep in mind that this may take a long time.
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    If you have to blame someone, blame yourself. Don't point your finger elsewhere. If you're breaking up with your partner because they were cheating on you, don't say "I'm breaking up with you because you're a cheating jerk." Say something like "I feel insecure all the time, and need some time alone to regain my confidence."
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    The step above should be used with caution. If issues in the relationship were unaddressed, and your ex keeps on asking why you have broken up with them, be honest. If you get caught trying to lie about the breakup reasons, for the sole purpose of keeping your ex as a friend, that is a sign of cowardice and they will possibly see that they can't trust you any longer, especially if certain issues that could have been fixed were never discussed. Honesty is always the best policy, especially if you really do want your ex as a friend, as there is no worse feeling at that time than learning that the dumper has now violated your trust for them, and expects an unfair demand.
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    Express yourself honestly. Presumably you're breaking up with them for non-hurtful reasons. Let them know why and explain it thoroughly. You get huge bonus points if they say things like "I understand" or "maybe this is the best thing to do." If your reasons are hurtful (like saying "I never loved you"), make sure they're general and nonspecific. For example, say something like this: "I feel really apart with the world and the people around me, and want to reconnect with it."
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    Be understanding of their feelings and let them tell you all the reasons you're wrong. In the end, however, remain firm and keep telling them that it's "something you need to do for yourself."
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    Allow them to be angry. Very angry. And hurt. Don't try to tell them that they are wrong for feeling so. They will get over it eventually.
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    Be humble. Not proud. Take no joy in what you're doing, and try to be compassionate.

Method 2
The Transition From Lovers to Friends

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    Be prepared to be hated for a while. You have to expect that they will be angry. Respond to all aggression with understanding. Become practiced in the art of saying things nicely.
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    Prepare yourself for a long and arduous process. Making the transition from lovers to friends can take months to years, depending on how intense your relationship was.
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    Keep the lines of communication open at all times. Let them call you if they need to talk. And don't be shy about calling them yourself. Keep in contact!
    • Using the phone may be awkward during the first few months after a break up. If so, consider other methods of communication, like social networking sites (Twitter and Facebook), or simply send them text messages.
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    Avoid dating anyone for a long time. Sorry, this step sucks, but it's necessary for the future of your friendship. Otherwise, they will assume the worst, such as you and your new date potentially been going on dates behind your ex's back, and the ex might also fear this has been happening during the relationship. If you absolutely must start dating again, try to make sure it's with someone that your ex doesn't know. However, don't let your new date contact your ex for nothing, such as telling your ex to leave you alone when they did nothing wrong to you. That'll stir up paranoia in your ex, and this can lead to your friendship with your ex to be terminated.
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    Avoid going to places where your ex will likely be. Try to stay away from parties and friendly gatherings with mutual friends. It will make things awkward and possibly set them back in their healing process.
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    And finally, stop referring to them as your ex-boyfriend but as your friend instead. It helps get your mind in the right frame of thought about the person.


  • If something big happens in their life after your break-up, such as getting into a school, winning an award, a sick family member, etc. Call to congratulate or to send condolences.
  • Try not to let things get awkward. You can still talk to them and smile, wave, etc but try to take little steps at first. You don't want to rush into friendship after heart break.
  • Let your reasons for breaking up to be honest. NEVER lie about it, as your ex will most likely flip out in rage if they detect signs of a cheater/liar. If this happens, the odds of friendship are going to be very low.
  • Make sure you want to break up. You don't want to end your affair on a whim.
  • The above list is how to facilitate the process of transitioning from relationship to friendship. All it really takes is time and space. Remember that and don't get frustrated. Time and space.
  • Give him or her time to get use to being just friends.
  • They may act irrationally. They may go out, drink all night, call you 10 times before 4 in the morning, etc. Don't react with anger. React with understanding, and talk if you can. If you can't, then turn off your phone before you fight back.
  • Do not let any of this overwhelm you, or take over any part of your life waiting for them to become friends. Get on with your life! There's plenty of room to grow!
  • Whatever you do, don't try to take revenge on them. It will only ruin your friendship.
  • No matter what happens, sometimes you just need to go with the flow, and your ex might end up saying they don't want to be your friend. This should be expected, especially if you know you've hurt them a lot.
  • In total honesty, they probably won't get over your break-up until they seriously start dating someone else. That may take time (even years).
  • They may try any manner of things to make you jealous, get you back, try to hurt you. This includes sleeping with other people, telling other people secrets that you shared, etc. This is a natural (if perhaps immature) response to intense anger and heartbreak. It'll be hard, but try to ride it out for the sake of your friendship.
  • In all things, be subtle and kind, not overt. Let them tear you down a hundred times and keep getting back up.
  • If you are going to email or text them, write it but then pause before sending. Have a coffee then re-read your email or text. Often we say things in a hurry that we regret it afterwards.
  • Write down what you want to say first so you aren't fumbling for words and so you aren't tempted to lie to him/her.
  • If it turns out to be impossible to be friends with your ex, just remember that you tried. Most people don't even take the first step to try to be somebody's friend.


  • Things might be awkward at first. That is to be expected. You were with them for a long time. Don't assume things are not and just call the person and rub life in their face.
  • Even though it may be hard, do not get overly attached to your ex. Don't assume that things will all work out for the better and you will get back together. Things happen for a reason, so don't worry about it. So don't go crazy, and feel sorry for yourself. Just try to understand that you have to think about yourself from time to time.
  • It is always a possibility that your friendship offer will be turned down, for a few reasons:
  1. They may be unsatisfied with the thought of being only friends.
  2. They may feel betrayed/cheated/that you're untrustworthy, etc.
  3. The way you behaved towards them during the relationship was horrible.
  4. Everyone's pressuring your ex into being your friend. (This will only push the ex away from friendship, and probably force them to act somewhat hostile if the pressure doesn't come off.).

The rejection of your friendship offer may range from one to multiple of these reasons. In some cases, all 4 reasons may be a contributor to the demise of the friendship. If trust has been tampered with, expect to be disappointed/hurt.

  • There are people in the world who simply may not be capable of being friends with their ex. If you are dating one of those people, try to recognize it early, so you don't have to go through the torture.
  • If your ex doesn't want to be your friend, do not refer to them as your "good friend" to others. This may creep out your ex, and they might get a little verbal with you, if you talk to them, again.

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Categories: Breaking Up