Although being broken up with can be the worst, sometimes being the breaker upper is just as bad. Making the decision to end a relationship with someone you respect and care about can be incredibly emotionally taxing—plus, you’ve got to figure out the best way to do it while minimizing the hurt you cause.
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New research from Brigham Young University in Utah looked into the actual, scientifically best way to dump someone. Linguistic professor Alan Manning and Nicole Amare from the University of South Alabama found that when people receive bad news, they basically just want it straight up with no beating around the bush.
Science Daily reports Manning said, “An immediate ‘I’m breaking up with you’ might be too direct. But all you need is a ‘we need to talk’ buffer—just a couple of seconds for the other person to process that bad news is coming.”
So the best way to break up with someone is to just get on with it.
“If you’re on the giving end, yeah, absolutely, it’s probably more comfortable psychologically to pad it out, which explains why traditional advice is the way it is,” Manning added. “But this survey is framed in terms of you imagining you’re getting bad news and which version you find least objectionable. People on the receiving end would much rather get it this way.”