Are you a break-up artist? When the time comes to end a once-promising relationship, are you the one who knows just how to broach the subject? It’s hard being the heavy at the end of a romantic partnership, but someone’s got to do it–or else you’ll look up six to eight months or even a year later and still find yourself unhappy, ready to move on, and too worried about hurting feelings to say anything.

If you’re a veteran break-upper, what’s your go-to approach? Do you think there’s a “best time” to raise the issue? Is there a worst time? Are there rules?

Because I’m notorious for assuming responsibility for other people’s emotions, my default break-up tactic is the “It’s Not You, It’s Me.” Even when I know we’re equally to blame for the relationship’s demise, I’ll always pile the blame onto myself. Since I’m the one ending things, I’m careful not to be accusatory or angry. I just evenly explain, “I’m just not satisfied” or “This isn’t working for me.” Keep it succinct and keep it moving. While I wouldn’t necessarily advise this if the reasons behind the break-up require lengthy discussion about fidelity, trust, money, or communication, “It’s not you it’s me,” certainly works in a get-out-quick pinch.

Here are a few other popular and time-tested approaches. Which of the following, if any, have you used?

1. “I need space.”
Ah, space. That vague all-purpose term that could mean anything but almost always means: back up off me, man (preferably permanently).

2. “Let’s see other people.”
Even if you don’t have any intention of starting the dating process immediately, this statement cues the other party that you’re just not that into him anymore.

3. “I hate you, Jody!” 
The loud yelling match, whether manufactured or genuine, is a surefire way to voice your true feelings (at maximum volume) and get everything off your chest. Hopefully you’ll fair better than Yvette in Baby Boy and steer clear of a relationship relapse.

4. “I left last week.”
As recent tabloids have demonstrated, the Katie Holmes approach works. Leave first, notify later.

5. “Listen to this song right quick.” (Cue up Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”)
This one’s self-explanatory.

6. “Let’s just be friends.”
Simple, straight to the point, this is a nice (but often empty) gesture. It’s the rare man who wants to be “friends” after you’ve dumped him.

What’s your go-to break-up approach?

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