When you find yourself ignoring calls or feeling a sense of dread when they text, you know it’s probably time to pull the plug on that relationship. While ghosting may be the easiest way out, your soon-to-be-ex deserves better, and we’re not talking about a breakup text. No one likes to be rejected, but there are some ways of doing it that are nicer than others.
So how do you reject someone with kindness? Dr. Thema Bryant, the president of the American Psychological Association and professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, shares three ways to do it.
- The sooner the better - As soon as you realize you don’t want to be with them anymore and the sooner that you communicate that, the better, Bryant says. Is it awkward and uncomfortable? Sure, especially if you’re a people pleaser, but it’s the most respectful thing to do. Sending mixed messages or avoiding them could end up hurting them worse.
- Stick to your decision - In an ideal world, you can be friends with your ex and everyone is happy about it. But that may take some time and you don’t want to lead them on, so Bryant recommends that when you decide to end it, you make an effort not to contact them anymore.
- Don’t list all their flaws - If you’re not trying to fix the relationship, you probably don’t want to list your complaints about the person you’re dumping, but you can let them know why you’re ending things just to give them some clarity. Bryant notes that you can also communicate what you enjoyed and appreciated about the relationship, but then you need to explain why you don’t see a future with them. If you can share the reasons why you don’t want to continue the relationship, it keeps them from wondering what went wrong.