Ending a relationship can be a difficult and emotional experience, so it can be helpful to think about what you’re going to say before breaking up with someone.
If you’re at a loss for words or can’t quite come up with the right way to express your feelings, INSIDER spoke to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini for help. to figure out some of the best and worst ways to go about breaking up with someone.
Here are seven things you shouldn’t say during a breakup and what you might want to say instead.
Masini said it is best not to point fingers and play the “blame game” during a breakup, especially if it’s an emotional experience.
“Blaming your partner for the breakup is just going to create negative engagement in fighting, not closure. It will leave you both feeling that you wanted to get in the last word and didn’t. This can cause a good-riddance sort of feeling about the breakup,” she told INSIDER. “Don’t forget, you’re half of the relationship. This isn’t just one person’s fault.”
She said instead of saying “This breakup is entirely your fault,” consider something that attributes less blame such as, “I wish things had been different.”
The idea of taking a break shouldn’t be thrown out lightly, especially if you’re not sure it’s actually what you’d like to do.
“Don’t say it’s a break if it’s a full-on breakup,” said Masini. “Yes, your partner will be hurt, but they will have been given the respect they deserve and the ability to move on with your truth.”
It can be healthy to be truthful about a breakup, but sometimes too much honesty can be unnecessary. Masini said you probably want to avoid confessing your feelings about one of your former partners during a breakup.
“If the reason you’re dumping them is to get back with your ex, they’ll figure that out soon enough,” said Masini. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m still in love with my ex’ as part of the breakup, tell your partner, ‘We had some really wonderful times together.’ This leaves them feeling that you had some value from the relationship and that it’s over, but you appreciate them.”
Masini said you should avoid making empty promises like “We’ll be in touch soon” and instead be more direct.
“Don’t say you’ll talk soon if you’re breaking up,” she told INSIDER. “By doing this, you dilute the breakup, fool yourself into thinking there’s going to be more or that you’ll be friends, and create confusion and anxiety for the person you’re dumping.”
In some cases, you may not be ready to speak to an ex-partner after a breakup anytime soon or at all. So instead of promising to keep in touch, Masini said she recommends simply saying “Goodbye.”
Masini said this line is typically used by someone who’s treated their partner poorly but doesn’t want to get into the details. She said it can be “disturbing to hear if you’ve been on the receiving end of bad behavior” and are now being broken up with.
Instead of using this line, Masini said she recommends keeping it simple by saying something like “You were amazing and I will never forget that.”
Although you may feel like you’re softening the blow with this line, saying this can actually be more hurtful than the actual breakup. This is especially true if you have no intentions of actually staying friends because these words could create a sense of false hope, said Masini.
“The problem is that the other person counts on this promise, and if and when it doesn’t occur, they’re hurt a second time — first when you dump them, second when you’re not the friend you said you’d be,” she told INSIDER.
She said saying “something along the lines of, ‘I respect you too much to try and be friends now'” is usually the healthiest and most mature thing you can do for yourself and the person you’re breaking up with.
Masini said you should avoid a definitive statement like this when ending a relationship unless there are serious or dangerous circumstances surrounding the breakup.
“The reality is that you may want contact [your soon-to-be ex] at some point down the line. People make mistakes and many couples break up and get back together again,” said Masini. “Make the breakup clean — but don’t nail the door shut at the breakup.”
Originally published on Business Insider.
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