So, you’ve been dating someone and have realized that it’s not going to become a serious thing. But you don’t know how to tell that person you’re not interested.
It’s that awkward situation that most of us will face at some point – possibly many times over the course of our dating life.
Dumping someone face to face can be hard, so you think about taking the easy route and ending it via text. But doesn’t that make you a bad person?
Breaking up by text has a bad reputation, but done in the right way and at the right time, it can be a good way to let someone down without too much drama.
But when is the right time and what do you say? When shouldn’t you break up with someone over text and is there a wrong way to do it?
Keep reading for 10 tips to help you do the right thing in the right way.
1. Decide if text is best.
Knowing whether or not it’s ok to call things off via text can be tricky. Although you might not think it’s going anywhere, you need to take into account the other person’s view of the situation.
You can never know exactly how someone feels and whether or not you’re doing the right thing, but generally, the more dates you’ve been on and the more intimate you’ve become, the less appropriate it is to end things by text.
If you’ve seen each other more than twice, speak or message regularly, or have become intimate in any way, you probably owe them more than being ghosted or a breakup text out of the blue. A phone call or casual date to let them down gently would be more appropriate.
If your dates have been few and casual and you haven’t yet made a move, a text doesn’t seem so bad. But you should still be careful how you word it. Put yourself in their shoes first to help you decide which method is best.
2. Don’t make it worse than it already is.
Being dumped is never nice. Even if you both feel the same way, rejection stings.
If you’re the one doing the dumping, keep in mind the way you’re making the other person feel and the lasting effect your words could have.
Text messages arrive without any warning and can be read again and again. Think about where the person could be or what they could be doing before you send the message, and how this could be received.
There is no reason to cause more hurt by being blunt or rude about them. Even when you don’t mean to make them feel bad, think about how your words could be interpreted and if you’ve said anything too personal.
Saying you’re just not attracted to them or commenting on their character could affect their self-esteem and have a lasting negative effect on how they perceive themselves.
Try to keep your message impersonal and focus more on how you feel rather than your thoughts about them. The whole ‘it’s me, not you’ line might seem cliché, but sometimes it’s kinder and easier to stick to something like this.
3. Be prepared for a bad reaction.
Even with good intentions, you could still receive a hostile reaction from the other person. Sometimes people just don’t react the way we expect them to, especially when they are emotional.
You might try your hardest to be kind with your words and careful with what you say, but still get an insulting reply.
This doesn’t mean that you should retaliate and use harsh words in response. As the person who has initiated the breakup, you have to remember that they may be lashing out at you from a place of shock and hurt.
By adding to their pain by engaging in an argument, everyone comes out even more upset.
You may have seen the breakup coming, but it doesn’t mean that they felt the same way, and it’s up to you to be the bigger person in this situation.
If they keep trying to contact you, make it clear that you won’t be messaging back after a certain point and try to end communication on a respectful note as best you can.
4. Be clear with your intention.
If you’re going to tell someone you’re not interested by text, then the message has to be loud and clear.
It’s difficult to convey tone in a text message, and although it might be obvious to you that breaking up is what you’re suggesting, unless you’re explicit, your message could be interpreted in a way you didn’t intend.
Without being rude, make it unquestionably clear that you are not interested in seeing them romantically. You might think skirting around the issue is kind, but in reality, you’re just making the breakup process longer and more drawn out than it needs to be.
5. Don’t be insincere.
There’s no need to lie in a breakup text. If you give fake reasons for not wanting to see them again, it will be obvious you’re being insincere.
All you need to do is be honest and tell them you just don’t see the relationship going anywhere.
Not giving any kind of explanation can be almost as bad as ghosting and leave the other person with unanswered questions. Try to keep your reasoning short and impersonal, focusing on how you feel rather than them.
If in doubt, ask a close friend or family member to read your message over before you send it, to make sure you strike the right balance.
6. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Telling someone you’re not interested in them over text might make you feel awkward or guilty. After writing out your message, you might think about adding a friendly gesture like, “but I’d still love to see you as a friend!”
Don’t add promises that you have no intention of keeping. Offering the option of being friends, unless you genuinely mean it, could just confuse the sentiment of your message by telling them you don’t want to date but still want to see them.
If you do really want to keep in touch then it’s fine to say, but appreciate that the other person might need a little time and space from you before this can happen.
7. Choose your words carefully.
In a text or a letter, your words are written down for anyone to see and can be read, screenshotted, and sent round over and over again.
It’s not like having a conversation with someone where the memory of what was said can get hazy. There’s no going back once you’ve sent a text.
In the society we live in now, it’s to be expected that messages will be forwarded and shared, and you have no way of knowing who will see what you’ve written, and if how you handle this situation could come back to haunt you in the future.
Keep this in mind when you write your message and make sure you don’t say anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to read.
8. Be prepared for more questions.
Think about what you may have said recently and take into account whether it could impact how someone reacts to you calling things off with them.
If the last time you saw your date you were enthusiastic about seeing them again and generally positive about where things were heading, think about how they will feel suddenly hearing that you’re not interested in them anymore.
They could have some difficult questions for you, asking why now and what’s changed. If you leave them without answers, they might begin to think it was something they did wrong which may not be the truth at all.
People change their minds and that’s okay, but give your date the chance to fully understand your decision if they need to, rather than just blanking them.
9. Don’t prolong the inevitable.
As much as you may want to put off the moment of actually sending the text, prolonging things will only make the situation worse.
If you’re ignoring your date because you know it’s not going anywhere, you’ll be adding to their confusion and anxiety over the situation and likely cause their reaction to be worse when you finally break things off with them.
Don’t waste their time or yours by putting off the inevitable. There’s no right time to call things off, but the longer you let things go on, the more time there is for feelings to grow on their side, making the breakup harder for everyone.
10. Avoid bailing on plans.
If you don’t think this is going to make it to a relationship but you aren’t quite sure, avoid making concrete plans with your date before you’ve decided what to do.
Having a next date agreed upon will only make the fact you’re breaking up with them over text more complicated.
If you’ve already made plans, then keep in mind that your date might be excited to see you, and by breaking it off with them and cancelling on your plans, you’re letting them down doubly so.
There is a good case for breaking up with someone before a date so you don’t waste each other’s time. But if you have to cancel on plans, don’t leave it to the night before or day of those plans. Text them in plenty of time to let them down gently.
Having someone tell you they aren’t interested in seeing you anymore isn’t pleasant, even if you’re on the same wavelength. It’s still a rejection and puts you back at square one in the dating game which can hit your confidence hard.
The most important thing to remember when ending things with someone is to be respectful. Even if it hasn’t worked out between you or things have gone sour, there’s no need to add to the hurt with a painful breakup.
Before you do anything, put yourself in their shoes. If the situation was reversed, would you feel upset if you found out by text? And what would you want them to say to you?
Dumping someone by text might seem like the easy way out, but it takes a lot of thought and sensitivity to get right. Even if you try your hardest, you may not get the reaction you’re hoping for, but try to be the bigger person and keep your own emotions in check.
If you’re going to do it, be clear, be kind, and get it over and done with so you can both start moving on with your lives.
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- 13 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Being Friends With Your Ex