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How To Dump Someone (Like An Actual Adult)

Let's put an end to text message breakups.

1. Don't stall.

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"You don't need permission or a 'good enough' reason to break up with someone," Harris O'Malley, who writes Paging Dr. NerdLove, tells BuzzFeed Life. "There will always be a reason it's a 'bad time' to break up. There's always a birthday or a holiday coming up. Once you've reached this point, it's best to get it over with so you can both move on."

2. Talk to the other person's best self.

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"Plan to talk to the best self that you know is in there, even if their worst self is all you can see at the moment," Dana Caspersen, conflict specialist and author of Changing the Conversation: The 17 Principles of Conflict Resolution, tells BuzzFeed Life. "People tend to step up or step down to the level on which we engage them."

3. Do it privately, and in person if possible.

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"If you're in a long-term relationship, your partner deserves the respect of being broken up with face to face," O'Malley says. But if you struggle to stand up to your partner or organize your thoughts, he says, you may want to do it via phone or email.

Also, do it in private, at a time when you won't be interrupted. If you do it in public, "you're not just hurting them, you're humiliating them," O'Malley says.

4. Actually use the words "break up."

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"The dawning realization that you're being dumped really hurts," O'Malley says. "It almost feels like an insult in a way." So say, "I think we should break up" or "I'm breaking up with you" at the beginning of the conversation.

5. Don't blame them.

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"Blame is about punishment, not about information and forward motion," Caspersen says. "Don't talk about what you think the other person did wrong in the relationship or negatively evaluate their personality. This wrongly puts the responsibility for your decision to break up onto the other person."

6. Listen without making suggestions.

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"Listening is about their point of view; suggestions are about your point of view," Caspersen says. "Give the person the respect of focusing on their point of view, and then you can move on."

And O'Malley recommends using "I" statements like "this isn't working for me." If you make it about their behavior, they may start offering ways they can change.

7. Accept that they may say hurtful things to you.

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"People in breakups often react badly, expressing their anger and sorrow in an attack-style form of communication," Caspersen says. "Be prepared for this and focus your attention on what the other person is really trying to say, even if they are saying it very badly. Let them know that you heard them, even when you disagree."

O'Malley agrees. "Let them have their reaction," he says. "Be willing to sit there and take it. They will call you names. Don't call them irrational or tell them to calm down. Take it quietly."

The one exception? If he or she becomes violent. Then, O'Malley says, "get the hell out."

8. Be honest if you're leaving them for someone else.

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"I think it's worth mentioning it because when they do see you with someone else, the shock is that much worse," O'Malley says. "Be honest but politic about it."

9. Be short, swift, and direct.

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"Avoid a preamble," O'Malley says. "Rip off the Band-Aid."

10. Don't detail the breakup on social media.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

"Venting should be done privately to your friends in person," O'Malley says, adding that even if you think your ex won't see your Facebook post, they probably will. "A Facebook status change is inevitable, but when people ask, say, 'It wasn't working and we had to break up.'" He stresses that the kindest thing you can do is leave your ex their dignity.