I know that I’m supposed to be in the business of teaching men how to meet the right woman, but I get asked how to break up a lot. For me, it’s never been that hard. Like Nike says, just do it. Rip it off like a Band-Aid in one swipe, no matter how much it hurts.

But hey, I get that it’s harder for some guys than others. One of the things that we teach at The Art of Charm is that social skills are something men learn, not something they’re born with. In the spirit of teaching you a new social skill or three, here’s a handy guide to ending a relationship with class.

Some guys think they can just fire off a Facebook message or text and be done with it. You might not much care what you’re soon-to-be ex thinks, but news travels fast, and you don’t want your headline to be “What a d-bag!”

 

Make Sure You Want to Do It
Redating is rarely ideal. You start out in the hole and have to dig your way out. So before you run off half-cocked and drop someone you’re going to miss for the rest of your life, make sure you’re ready. This sounds like common sense, but you know what they say about how common common sense is.

Do It Face to Face
In this world of instant communication, some guys think they can just fire off a Facebook message or text and be done with it. But not only will you cause a reaction similar to the young lady in the photo at the top, but you’ll hurt yourself. You might not much care what someone you’re soon to be ex thinks, but news travels fast, and you don’t want your headline to be “What a d-bag!”

Do It In Public, But Not Too Public
Breaking up in public prevents her from totally flipping out on you, at least in theory. Still, don’t do it around friends, at a party or some place she frequents a lot. Instead, choose some kind of neutral location. Great place to make a break? The park. No kidding.

Be Honest, But Not Too Honest
You want to be straightforward with her about why you’re breaking up with her. You want to tell her the real reason that you decided to end things. But there’s no need to be cruel in the name of “honesty.” Tell her the most critical, irreconcilable reason the two of you aren’t going to be dating in the future. Leave out the unrelated pet peeves.

Be Strong and Steadfast
A lot of guys go back once the waterworks start flowing. Don’t. Remember that women are more emotional creatures than men are, but they’re also quite resilient. Don’t flatter yourself—this isn’t the end of the world for her. She’ll be in shock at first, but she’ll get over it. Don’t let her reaction make you change your mind. And don’t freak out even if she does. You need to maintain composure at all times.

Don’t Say “It’s Not You, It’s Me”
Just don’t.

Briefly Reassure Her
Let her know that she meant something to you and that you value the time that the two of you spent together. This is maybe the one place you can lie, a bit. That’s much better than her feeling like total crap and you getting a jerk reputation.

Just Do It
If you’re thinking about breaking up with your girlfriend enough to be reading this article, chances are good it’s time. Stop waiting around and get to it. The longer you put it off, the more painful it’s going to be. And nine times out of 10, you’ll leave thinking you should have done it sooner.