1. Plan time to have the break-up talk.
If possible, do it over a period of time to allow both of you to process your feelings, ask all the questions you may have and say your goodbyes.
2. Be open and honest.
Be honest about why you are breaking up with him or her, what you feel you didn’t get in the relationship and the kind of relationship you’d want moving forward. Leaving things vague and unclear creates distrust and resentment. Make sure there is no unfinished business.
3. Take full responsibility for your role in the break-up.
Remember, it takes two to tango. As much as possible avoid blaming your ex for the break-up; it doesn’t accomplish anything other than very briefly make you feel good about yourself. That feeling doesn’t last.
Similarly, avoid taking responsibility for what you are not responsible for. You may think it makes you more of the “adult”, but in reality it makes you come across as either “pathetic” or “condescending ” — both are not very attractive qualities.
4. Talk about what kind of relationship — or no relationship — you’d want going forward.
If you think after a little time apart you might want to give the relationship another chance, let the other person know in very clear sentences. If you want “no contact” because you want to move on, and have nothing to do with him or her, be very clear and emphatic about it.
Bottom line, do not create hope where there is no hope. You may think you are sparing the other person more pain, but you are in fact creating more pain for him or her stringing him or her along.
5. If you do decide to remain friends, make it a gradual transition.
Sudden changes like cutting off all contact although it sounds “reasonable”, isn’t always best for the relationship. What’s best for the relationship is slowly and gradually cutting down on how much you contact each other and the subjects you talk about to reflect your new reality. When you do this, at some point, you’ll find that you have arrived at what is “comfortable” interaction for both of you. This is your new “just friends” relationship.