Telling someone you no longer want to see them is never easy, whether you are one date, a few weeks or a few years into your relationship. (If you have a soul, anyway.) In the age of dating and messaging apps it’s a lot easier to avoid confronting people with your feelings. This is how ghosting and all its counterparts came to be a social phenomenon, causing many tears and much debate.

I’m not proud to admit it, but I have ghosted someone. Technically I ran out of airtime and wasn’t in a Wifi zone for a couple of days and by the time I got home I felt like I should probably just leave it there. It wouldn’t have been good news for the guy anyway. Not long after that, I was ghosted. Well played, karma!

Even though it’s easy to disappear into the ether, this type of behaviour is not good. We’re grown ups, after all. Here’s how to tell someone you never want to see them again, but nicely.

Give Some Signals

No one likes to be caught off guard when it comes to break ups. Make things a bit easier by giving off some signs before you meet, in person, to talk about where the relationship is not going. Saying something along the lines of ‘we need to talk’ should do the trick. Nothing positive ever came after those four words.

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How Deep is Your Love

Have you been joined at the hip for a few years or have you just gone on a couple of dates? Not every break up warrants the same kind of goodbye and it depends on where you are on the dating spectrum. A polite conversation over the phone might work with someone you have only met a few times, but not with a long-term partner.

Be Open

When you are doing the dumping deed, explain to the other person why you don’t think that you are a good match. Do this not by telling them what a sh*t person they are but rather by pointing out ways in which you are incompatible. Avoid harsh criticism and hurtful remarks and, most of all, don’t leave them with a sense of false hope.

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Time it Right

I once dumped an ex at his birthday party. It wasn’t planned and it still haunts me to this day. Don’t be like me. There is never a good time to dump someone, but if they are in the middle of life-determining exams or have just lost a family member, it’s better to wait it out until things are back to relative calm.

Accept Their Reaction

People deal with rejection in different ways. On being told ‘the news’ some people might lash out and others might become a sobbing mess, but that’s okay. They might even hate you afterwards and that’s okay too. They need time and space to process their feelings. All that you can do is be respectful of that and show compassion.

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It won’t be easy, it never is. But by being kind, honest and upfront will go a long way to making sure the ordeal is slightly less awful. Good luck!