How to break up with someone you’re seeing casually

By Dawn Papandrea

When you’ve been out with someone a few times and had a reasonably decent time, breaking things off can make you feel guilty or awkward or worse — even mean. But sometimes you’re just not feeling it, and you can’t see yourself investing any more time in a relationship that you know isn’t going to progress. When you decide it’s time to break up, here’s how to do it with some finesse…

You have to actually do it. Don’t just disappear, stop answering texts, and ignore voicemails. It’s a cowardly way out, and eventually, karma will put the two of you together in the same venue and you’ll have to deal with an awkward confrontation. Treat your former mate with some respect by being up front.

Avoid classic break up clichés. Hopefully you haven’t been on the giving or receiving end of “It’s not you it’s me,” or “let’s just be friends,” but if you have, you know it’s a whole lot of BS. Instead, offer some kind of explanation during your break up talk as to why it’s not working out. It could be vague such as you’re not ready to be serious or specific, such as you’re going to be traveling a lot for work and it’s not going to work.  When all else fails, you can always say you’re interested in someone else.

Don’t play the blame game (unless it’s warranted).  Avoid a big scene by not saying things like “you’re too stalkerish” or “you don’t pay enough attention to me.” It’s OK to point out wrongdoing if the person is overtly rude (like if he or she stood you up) or nasty (just not cool) or untrustworthy (if he or she is lying now, get out).

Choose a semi-public place and have an exit plan. Have “the talk” while walking outside, or over a cup of coffee, but make sure you arrive separately and have a means to get home on your own. It’s probably not a good idea to break up at either of your apartments since it can linger on longer that you’d like it to.

Be careful of timing. It’s just cruel to break up with someone on his or her birthday, right before Valentine’s Day or the same day someone close to them goes into the hospital. But the truth is, there is no perfect time, so if you’re ready to do the deed, getting it done sooner rather than later is better than leading the other person on.

Don’t type out a break up. Ideally, you owe the person you were seeing a face-to-face goodbye, but at the very least, having a phone conversation is a good backup plan. Don’t ever text, FB, email, or tweet a breakup, though.

Being a good breaker upper is an art form, one that might even leave you with some lasting non-romantic friendships once perfected.



Filed under Date Etiquette, Graceful Exits

2 responses to “How to break up with someone you’re seeing casually

  1. Hi l looking for friends

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