Being dumped is the worst. Rejection of any kind is terrible, even when it’s from a job you don’t like, or by someone you weren’t that into in the first place. (What?! You’re dumping ME? You wear pajama pants in public and you’re dumping me?!)
I’m gonna put myself out there by saying that over the best 15 years, I have been dumped a lot. While I’ve always been the one to end my more serious relationships (cough, commitmentphobe), I’m almost always the one who gets booted when it’s casual. Not sure what that’s all about.
Sometimes it’s really hard to come out and say “Thanks but no thanks, I just don’t like you.” It’s uncomfortable, and if you’re on the receiving end, it really effing stings. But what stings more is receiving an absurd, wimpy excuse with a subtext that clearly reads “Thanks but no thanks, I just don’t like you, and I’m a great big wimp who is afraid to verbalize my real feelings.”
While the word “never” is a bit extreme, and I avoid using it because I’m fickle in a way using definitive adverbs doesn’t permit, I’m breaking my own rules to dub the following ways you should NEVER break up with someone.
1. Never blame it on the Internet.
The first guy I have tried to have sex with (note: tried. We were 13 and had some technical issues) broke up with me because I was really “interfering with his World of Warcraft schedule.” He had a team, you see, and they depended on him to show up online every day and play with them. The fact that I kept inviting him over after school before my mom got home from work was really inconveniencing him, and he was letting down all of his Internet friends. While I’m glad he was working on his prioritizing skills, it’s safe to say you should never blame your Internet friends or your Internet social life for why you need to end a relationship.
2. Never do it on a birthday.
There is no good day to break up with someone, but on their birthday—or any holiday–is really, really not a good time. You will obviously mess up their day, and possibly jade them for years to come. When I was 15, my boyfriend broke up with me during 1st period. What’s worse, it was during English class, my favorite class. I then cut the rest of class to go outside to chain smoke and subsequently got suspended. Over a decade later, and I still remember that freakin’ birthday.
3. Never do the slow fade.
Oh, the dreaded slow fade, the number one tactic for wimping out of a breakup. You know how it goes: You stop making plans, you stop texting, and then you stop returning texts in a super slow fashion so at first the dumpee is thinking maybe you’re just busy, yeah, super busy with work this week; then they’re wondering if they’re just over-analyzing things and surely you will make plans with them for the weekend; then they’re staring at their phone wondering why you’re Instagramming your lunch but not responding to any of their texts; until finally they realize they’ve been slow-faded and there is nothing they can really do.
Never ever be that douchenugget. Own up to your feelings to avoid making the person you were seeing feel like a paranoid, unlikeable reject.
I’ve been slow-faded several times over the years, and I have had lengthy conversations with friends who are trying to slow-fade someone. I always attempt to talk them out of it. Their reasons are usually one of two:
- “I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” That is such bullshit. What you really mean is “I don’t want to have to have an uncomfortable conversation.” I promise you, friends, that slow-fading will sting much greater than a frank yet uncomfortable conversation. Slow-fading also takes longer and leaves more loose ends. Stop that!
- “I don’t think I need to justify anything.” Okay, this could possibly be a legitimate excuse. If you’ve just been on a date or two, then you probably don’t have to announce you’re not interested. However, if you created any kind of routine where your lack of presence will be noticed, slow-fading is not appropriate. If you’re having regular sex, not appropriate. If you’ve met parents, share friends, furniture or pets, or have dropped the L word, definitely not appropriate, you asshat.
4. Never blame it on your mom.
I once had a manfriend break up with me because his mom didn’t like me. I really hope it was a bullshit excuse, because if not, it is mildly embarrassing to know just how much he cares about what his freakin’ mom thinks.
5. Never do it in public.
Why are people always trying to break up with each other in public? I think it’s because they hope it will negate a scene, but it usually creates an even bigger scene, and everyone ends up embarrassed.
You just ordered appetizers and then all of a sudden it dawns on you: your date is fidgeting not because they’re hungry, but because you’re getting dumped, and are you supposed to eat your jalapeno poppers when they arrive even though you’re now talking about whether or not they indeed did sleep with that co-worker on their work trip to Cincinnati? You can’t eat them, because you’re upset, and you’re already planning on changing your HBO GO password just to spite them. Then, after the mess is over, who pays for the uneaten poppers at the end of it?
What I am saying is, if you want to break up with someone, just be frank and honest and don’t blame it on anyone but yourself. “I’m sorry but I’m just not into you” stings, but not as much as “I’m sorry, I dislike you so much I can’t even muster the strength to give you my honest opinion on the situation.”