Friday 5: What Not to Say During a Break Up
So you think you want to break up with your significant other. I’m sure there were reasons that led you to this. Maybe their breath smelled. Maybe they always said YOLO. Whatever the reason may be, your mind is made up. But. You have to consider how you tell them. If you say these things, you may get slapped or have an overly dramatic and embarrassing situation weeks later.*
Never say “we just can’t be together… right now.”
Inspired by the amazing How I Met Your Mother episode, the term “…right now” (emphasis added to the “…”) leaves the break up on a more open-ended note. If they weren’t ready to break up too, they might take this for a promise of a relationship in the future. Well. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want my ex drooling over me and watching my every move like a stalker because they think in the near future we’re getting back together. Make it a clean break-up. That isn’t saying you have to tell them everything they did wrong, just make it clear you had some good times, but it’s over now
Never say “we can still be friends.”
As over-used as it is insincere. I get it, you’re trying to be nice, but it does more harm than good. If you two can truly be friends after a relationship then go for it. But if you know that that can never happen, don’t even suggest it. Many times, someone is upset when they just got dumped. It’s never easy, but somehow you find a way to get through it. But it will never happen if you pretend to be friends, and talk and see each other all the time. It’ll only keep the pain fresh.
Never say “it’s not you it’s me.”
A total break-up cliché. If you say this, it could leave the impression that there was nothing wrong with the relationship and you just can’t handle it at that moment. They could get the feeling that sometime in the future, you’ll be together again. And the entire reason you’re breaking up is because you DON’T want to be with them. Be honest. Obviously something went wrong that caused you to end it, they should be aware of that so they aren’t left with a warped, idealistic picture of your relationship.
Never say “it’s not me it’s you.”
Or of that same type of line. Remember, you don’t want to be mean. Be honest in your reasons, but don’t blame them for everything. They’re already getting dumped, they don’t need to feel bad about themselves also. If you can’t end the relationship on a happy note, then end it on a neutral one so you can both move on with your lives.
Never say “I need some space.”
Another break-up go-to. This implies you don’t want a relationship. Maybe you don’t, but if your ex sees you flirting with someone else, they’re going to open a whole can of drama because they thought that you needed space from EVERYBODY, not just them. And I don’t think you want that.
Break ups should be clean, like pulling off a band aid. You have to just rip it off and get it over with instead of slowly pulling it off. It hurts the same amount, but over an extended period of time. Be honest, but considerate. You liked/loved this person for a reason, don’t choose this painful moment to forget all of that.
* We totally do NOT condone slapping, hitting, punching, or doing ANYTHING violent—during a break up or otherwise.
Ariana is 15 and from Tuscon, Arizona. She is a member of The National Campaign’s Youth Leadership Team. She can touch her head with her foot while completing a game of Solitaire in less than one minute. Have a question for Ariana? Send us an email!