The good news is that there is a way to reject someone without being overly harsh or hurtful. The 3-step method I’m about to teach you enables you to tell your partner in a polite, respectful way that the relationship is not working for you.
Step 1: Start off on a positive note
Although this might sound counter-intuitive, start out by telling your partner one or two positive things that you like about him and/or your relationship. This will help soften the upcoming blow. For example, you could say something like: “John, I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve spent together so far.”
Step 2: Tactfully explain why you no longer want to keep dating him.
Immediately after making your positive remarks, explain why you no longer wish to keep dating him. Avoid using general, non-informative clichés like: “It’s not you, it’s me.” These types of phrases are extremely frustrating for your partner to hear since they don’t reveal any specific information as to why you want to break up with him. When you say things like that, your partner will be left hanging which is very unfair to him. Instead, be as honest and up front as possible without being rude or insulting.
Step 3: End on a positive note
Just as you began your rejection spiel on a positive note, you should end it on a positive note by saying something like: “Even though it did not work out between us, I still think you’re an awesome guy and I wish you the best.”
By following these 3 steps, you’ll be able to sever the ties with your partner in a tactful, respectful manner without attacking his character or destroying his dignity. Moreover, by starting and ending the conversation on a positive note, you’ll help soften the impact of the breakup.
Here’s a real-life example of how I applied this 3-step rejection process in my own love life with a guy I had been seeing for a month (names changed for privacy reasons):
I started out positive by saying: “Dave, it’s been really great dating you so far. We’ve certainly had a lot of fun together during these last few weeks!”
Next came the rejection: “But as much as I enjoy being with you, I’m afraid we just don’t have the connection I’m looking for. Even though I really like you, I think our values and lifestyles are just too different for our relationship to work in the long run. I’m afraid that our differences will cause a lot of problems and headaches down the road if our relationship continues. Even though it hurts me to say this, I think it would be best for us to just part company at this point and go our own separate ways. That way, we can both find partners who are better suited to what each of us is looking for.”
And then I ended on a positive note: “I think you’re a wonderful guy with so much to offer, and I just want what’s best for both of us in the long haul. I know you’ll make the right woman very happy in life, and I’m confident you’ll find her.”
Even though Dave came away from this conversation feeling distraught that things did not work out between us, he sought comfort in the fact that I was appreciative of all the great qualities that he had brought to our relationship. Our breakup was amicable and there were no hard feelings afterwards.
I know breaking up is difficult no matter what the circumstances are. But if you follow the 3-step process that I just described, you’ll be able to end your relationship without dealing any major blows to your partner’s ego and self-worth. He’ll be much less likely to harbor any bitterness or hard feelings towards you after the relationship ends.
Please feel free to leave a comment below. And if you happen to know someone who's having a hard time making the break from a relationship that's not working, please feel free to forward this blog post onto her.