Relationships are full of wonderful things, from the first time you make eye contact to the first time she let’s you clumsily unclasp her bra. Sadly (or happily, depending on how you look at it) most relationships have one painful truth; they end.
Breaking up is usually the worst part of any relationship, unless it’s that bad of a relationship, then it can be reason to celebrate. We’ve all been in a relationship that drags on just a little too long, and for one reason or another we didn’t, or due to her violent temper/large father/alcoholic brother, couldn’t. With all of these outside circumstances breaking up can be tricky.
Here’s a beginner’s guide (after lots of practice) on what to do — and what not to do.
A nice benefit of my job is that I am afforded the luxury of firing people. It might sound dark and cynical to say that I enjoy firing people, I don’t. What I do enjoy is helping people realize their shortcomings and things they need to improve on. I look at breaking up with someone in very much the same way. While it may seem harsh to point out someone’s every flaw, I think it’s completely necessary in helping them move on with their life in a positive way. My only hope is that this advice doesn’t end up getting someone stabbed or attacked.
1. You don’t cry when you are the one doing the break up.
To me, this seems like pretty straightforward advice. It also seems like one of the most overlooked and often abused rules of the breakup. When you’re breaking up with someone, it doesn’t soften the blow to start softly sobbing and it’s definitely not helping when you bawl like a newborn. Even if you’re sad, which is allowed, suck it up and keep a straight face. A cold stare and serious voice are the way to go to end a business relationship, and the same is true for a personal relationship.
2. Don’t keep her on the hook.
We all know an ex that we’ve broken up with but wanted to keep our “options” (read: opportunities for sex) open with them. All you’re doing is prolonging the inevitable and ensuring drama for yourself further down the road. If you’re to the point that you want to break it off with her, don’t pussyfoot around it.
Don’t let her work part-time when she couldn’t handle a full-time workload.
3. Breaking up in stages doesn’t work.
When I have to fire someone, I don’t tell them over two or three meetings that I’m probably going to let them go. I sit down with them once and drop the hammer. Be a man, suck it up, and get it over with.
4. Give them a chance to improve their performance.
In all likelihood the person you’re breaking up with has some redeeming qualities that you don’t absolutely hate. At the very least, there was a point in time where you could tolerate them. Try to pinpoint what went wrong and talk to your significant other (soon to be insignificant person) about why you’re unhappy and what needs to change.
Usually employees respond well to this for a while, then fall back into the same assanine behavior that got them into trouble in the first place. The same is often true with girls (and, to be fair, guys).
At least give them a fighting chance before you crush their spirit and any hope of them loving again.
5. Tell them why you’re doing it.
You can’t let someone go without telling them why you’re doing it. The “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse is completely played and nobody with a hint of self-esteem will buy it. That excuse is also not a legitimate reason to fire someone in most states, so grow a pair and tell them what the problem is.
It’s them, you know it’s them, they know it’s them, so tell them why. Is it because she gained 40 pounds and won’t stop complaining about it? Tell her. Is it because she blacks out and starts whoring it up with her friends? That one seems obvious. It might seem like you’re adding insult to injury, but in all reality you’re just helping them to become a better person, hopefully so they don't do it again to the next guy.
It might seem brutal at first to follow these guidelines, but in the end it will only make things easier. Giving someone a hope of having their job back is unfair. It’s not possible to fire someone but at the end say, “keep in touch, maybe in 6 months after I’m done employing any random person I can find I’ll have a job for you again,” so it should be equally implausible for you to tell your ex-girlfriend something similar.