How to Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity

Five Parts:Picking the Right Time & PlaceDoing the Right ThingAvoiding InsensitivityKeeping Things CivilAdditional Help

We all know breaking up is hard to do. But unless you're in one of the few teen romances turned happily-ever-after, breaking up is an unavoidable part of life. And while it's up to you to decide what your individual break up style is, if you want to avoid future bad relationship karma, you'll adopt a few breakup basics.

Part 1
Picking the Right Time & Place

  1. Image titled Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity Step 1
    Choose the right time. Avoid holidays and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries at all costs. Do you really want your ex remembering your insensitivity every time that day rolls around? No you don't.
    • Statistics show that most students break up during summer break. For everyone else, Monday seems to be the most popular day of the week for breaking up.
  2. Image titled Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity Step 2
    Pick an appropriate place. The less public, the better. Don't do it in a place where the person on the receiving end isn't going to feel especially vulnerable. Avoid these break up locations at all costs:
    • The office.
    • At a wedding.
    • In a car.
    • At school.
    • In a restaurant or nightclub.

Part 2
Doing the Right Thing

  1. Image titled Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity Step 3
    Do it in person. If the relationship is relatively new, maybe you can get away with breaking up over the phone. Maybe. But come on, if you've been out on more than a handful of dates, isn't that kind of harsh? Do the right thing and end the relationship in person.
    • Having one final talk together is a good way to bring closure to the relationship.
    • As painful as it may be, a relationship-ending conversation might enable you to learn something about yourself and set the stage for something better in the future.
  2. 2
    Don't lie. You may try to be sparing their feelings, but it will blow up in your face when you're caught. You will be considered untrustworthy, and your reputation will falter. Your friends might back you up, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world will.

Part 3
Avoiding Insensitivity

  1. Image titled Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity Step 4
    Be honest but sensitive. No one likes to get dumped. But we at least appreciate the truth when it's over. Unless, of course, the truth is you've stopped finding him/her attractive, you've met someone better, or that you're just plain bored with the relationship.
    • There's no point being negative. Try to exit with as much decorum as possible. Even if there's bad blood, always take the high road. You'll be glad you did.

Part 4
Keeping Things Civil

  1. Image titled Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity Step 5
    Keep your emotions in check. Don't seem too happy about the break up: you'll come off as mean-spirited. Just be kind, caring, and considerate.
  2. Image titled Break Up with Someone Using Style and Sensitivity Step 6
    Don't react. Some people don't handle rejection well. Some people yell, scream, or cry. But it doesn't mean you should react to their meltdown. Remember, rejection is tough. You've already got the status of being the dumper. If their tantrum escalates, get out of there! Don't wait around for the messy aftermath. Only try to ignore when the conversation is yelling and screaming, try to be and remain civil in all other situations. Be honest and sensitive and try to listen to their emotions and act upon them.

Additional Help

Breakup Opening Lines

Coping with Negative Reactions to a Breakup

Sample Ways to Get Over a Breakup


  • Don't tell other people about it until after. You wouldn't want the rumor to spread.
  • Lastly, ask yourself this question. Would you be happier if you aren't together anymore?
  • Never say "I'm dumping you" or "It's over." Let it down more lightly by saying "I think it would be best if we weren't together anymore."
  • The longer the relationship lasts, the harder the breakup is, so don't put it off for long or don't put it off at all.
  • Consider what things will be like two weeks, or a month from now. It may seem hard to break up today, but if you will be happier in the future then ending it is the best scenario. The same goes for the reverse; breaking up with someone in a fit of rage could be something you regret two weeks or a month down the road.
  • Never break up with them and simply walk away without letting them speak. Give them the chance to talk, if they have anything to say, but if they don't, that would be your cue to leave. Never run away though!
  • If she/he doesn't talk to you for a while, it means that they want time and need some space after the breakup. It doesn't necessarily mean he/she hates you, so don't be hard on yourself.
  • Make sure that you are making the right decision. Because one day, they might not want to get back together depending on their personality.
  • Take his and your feelings into consideration. If you feel breaking up is best for you do it. But do it nicely.
  • Although it says above pick a private place, this can sometimes lead to emotional conversations that end in sex and another miserable month of "trying to make it work." If it's really over (see warning one), meet in a quiet public place local to the other person for a drink or a coffee. Tell them straight away and succinctly that the reason you're here is to say its over and why - be honest, give the true reason e.g. nothing you do will make up for the fact that you slept with someone else/the fact that you weren't there to pick me up from the hospital after my operation was the last straw, I need someone more dependable etc. Then leave money on the table to cover both drinks and leave. Do not cry until you're far away. Do not call them at all for two weeks - this helps to get some distance.
  • If you have seen them do something horrible in front of you, don't listen to their lies.
  • If you handle yourself well during the break up, chances are you'll avoid any hard feelings with your ex. And while that may not seem so important at the time, it's vital to your future relationship karma!
  • The term "break up" implies a hard stop. But, often, a break up is really a change in the nature of a relationship, where friendship remains, but a closer physical connection, and a desire to build a life together, is taken away. Try to look at breaking up in a more positive way, and see how it can transform your relationship.
  • Be sure to stay focused on the task at hand when you break up with him/her. Don't check your phone, continue to look at your watch talk to others. It is seen as rude and that you don't care as much. Show them respect as they will already be hurt by the news.
  • Think about why you want to break up with them (e.g., you may suspect/hear rumors that they are cheating on you).
  • Tell the person something that you will miss about them or some other positive so they don't walk away feeling that you are completely without memories of why you were attracted in the first place.
  • Think about how maybe if you want out, they might, too. Ask them where they think it's going. If something is making being together painful, tell them that being together is hurting you (e.g., long-distance relationships).
  • If you love someone, tell them, but if the relationship is not working out, ask them if they still want to be friends.
  • In some cases, phone break-ups can be helpful for the person being dumped because it allows them more separation from the situation from talking in person, and also allows them to cry immediately after getting off the phone instead of waiting for you to leave, trying to get home, trying not to embarrass themselves in public, etc. If you do a phone break up, just make sure you are doing it to be considerate, not just for your own convenience.
  • Never break up with someone over text or social media. It is the worst way to hear it. If possible do it face to face.
  • If you suspect that your partner is cheating on you, ask them first. Everybody hates when you break up with them for a reason that isn't even true (but trust your intuition).
  • Some would prefer not break up with them over the phone because it can make them sadder than it would in person.
  • Be gentle and don't hold back. In the sense, if you're unhappy, tell them why and explain.
  • It's good to think of the possibility that the other person doesn't want to be a couple either, so don't be hurt if they don't react.


  • Weigh in carefully on your decision to break up, without analyzing it to death. Is this really what your heart wants? You may not be able to reverse your decision once it's made, and you may burn bridges in the process.
  • Never lie about the breakup reasons.
  • Avoid cliches. If the person has heard it before, it may come off as insensitive.
  • Keep yourself safe. If you are afraid of the person you are breaking up with, tell someone you trust, such as your parents, coworkers or friends. Don't put yourself in a dangerous position.
  • Never tell a third party who is not extremely trustworthy or who is friendly with both partners that you are planning to break up with your relationship partner. If you want to break up with style, it is important that your partner hears it from you first.

Article Info

Categories: Breaking Up