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How to break up with someone you’re not really dating (without being a dick)

My friend had been seeing this girl for a few weeks. They’d gone on quite a few dates, they’d snogged a few times in the park and they texted so much that at one point I wondered if it was possible for a phone to literally fused itself to someone’s palm. They were fast approaching the ‘meet the friends’ stage of their relationship – and then, suddenly, they weren’t.

Not a word, nada. She just disappeared, without so much as a “Thanks for the good times, talk to you never, BYYYYEEEE.”

The technical definition (and by technical, I mean the Urban Dictionary definition) of this move is ‘ghosting’. Ghosting is dickish because it means the other person ends staring at the five unanswered messages in their WhatsApp thread for four hours on a Friday night, eating ice cream straight from the tub and wondering what the hell they did wrong.

I’ll admit though, ghosting is appealing when you’re seeing someone, but you’re not really dating. You have a yellow heart on Snapchat and you regularly tag each other in memes, but you haven’t had the official ‘are we dating?’ convo yet. But there are loads of other ways to let someone down nicely, without being a dick about it. Here are a few of them.

“It’s not you, it’s me”

It's not you, it's me meme - How to Break Up with Someone Without Being a Dick

Under no circumstances should you actually say these words, because it’s the cheesiest cliché in the book. But the sentiment of ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ actually works. eg. “I have been thinking about it and I’m just not sure I’m ready for a relationship right now.” Or “because of GSCEs, I’m not sure I have the time to get into a relationship.” Or even, “I just want to concentrate on my rhythmic gymnastics at the moment.” Totally valid. You live those Olympic ribbon-twirling dreams!

The caveat to this, of course, is that you can’t turn around and start seeing someone new the next week without looking like an arsehole. So only use this one if it’s actually true.

Blame your ex

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Exes are useful for a few things; helping you empathise with pretty much all of Taylor Swift’s back catalogue (I did know he was trouble when he walked in!), amassing a comfy drawer of comfy clothes that you stole from their wardrobe, and getting you out of future relationships.

Excuses such as, “I’m just not ready for another relationship,” “they made it hard for me to trust someone again,” or “It would unfair to you because I still have feelings for my ex” are guaranteed winners – and you’re not the villain here, they are. So pop on Blank Space and get this thing over with.

‘No spark’


Look, whether or not you agree that He’s Just Not That Into You was a terrible film (Team Ginnifer Goodwin, no need to shout), let’s all agree that no one should ever again utter the words ‘I’m just not that into you.’ Not when there’s a different, nicer, just all around better option: blame the spark. Or, more accurately, the lack of spark between the two of you. This is a great tack because no one can be mad – this isn’t anyone’s fault. This is the spark’s fault. STUPID SPARK.


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Lie. Not just a little lie. A big, fat, juicy lie. Say that you’ve been scouted to be star alongside Liam Hemsworth in the latest adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and you’ve got to fly to Albania, which is lame, but you’re heard the cinematography is going to be AH-mazing.

Say that your parents have decided that they want to re-train as lion tamers and now you’re going to have to be homeschooled from the circus with the only other kid there, who’s 10 and has a beard longer than Gandalf.

Say that you found out that you’re actually second cousins. Wait, no, don’t do that one. That’s too far. This is the least advisable option, but even an insane lie is better than ghosting. Honest.


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