Avoiding confrontation is quite often a good thing. It can mean that you’re generally peaceful and like to work things out and not sweat small stuff whenever possible. There is nothing wrong with that. But standing up for yourself is obviously so important, and being naturally not great at confrontation makes it a lot harder to do. And in romantic relationships, it can be super hard to handle. Your fear of rocking the boat usually ensures that everyone’s pretty content in the relationship, until you just can’t bear it anymore and need to end it. But how do you break up with someone when you hate of confrontation?
Breakups are all about confrontation. You usually have to speak your mind, tell someone that they’re doing something that you don’t like anymore, and possibly have to endure a few tears. Ugh, even the easiest breakups are hard and messy.
Which is one reason some people who hate confrontation will try to find other ways to do it, like sending an email or a text message. You already know this, but do not do this! You may hate confrontation, but the person you’ve been in a relationship with deserves (maybe they do — if they don’t, just scram) to be told face to face that this whole couple thing is over.
Here are some ways to make it work for you.
1Change the way you look at it.
It doesn’t have to be a confrontation at all. Remember: You liked this person once. You’ve smooched. You shared each other’s fries. This doesn’t have to be a war. Obviously, you don’t have to be nice if they’ve been a sh*t head to you, but try to think of the breakup as a conversation. Really, you’re standing up for yourself and taking control of your relationship — this is an exciting, strong thing you’re doing. If you go in expecting a fight, you’re setting yourself up for anxiety and possibly failure.
2Prepare your remarks.
When you’re scared of confrontation, people can throw you off of your game pretty easily, so you should try to go into the conversation knowing what you’re going to say. Hell, write it down if you have to. Try a few different versions and don’t feel embarrassed if you want to type it into your phone or bring a piece of paper. Then tell your person to let you finish and not interrupt so you can get through everything you want to say. Having a blueprint to follow will help ease your jitters and keep you on message.
3Be really clear about what you want.
This is hard to do for everyone, especially during a breakup. No one wants to be rejected, and it’s not much better to reject someone, so we often tweak what we really want to say until it resembles something that sounds “nicer.” You should totally be as nice and respectful as possible, but you also want to try to be as specific as possible so there’s not a lot to discuss afterwards. That’s the part that can lead to confrontation, you know?
4Practice a little.
This might sound really cheesy, but you should practice in front of the mirror or something before you head out to breakup with someone. Really! It will help you find the weak points of your breakup argument (like, what is a “break” anyway?) and make them more clear and specific. It will also make it feel more natural when you deliver the breakup in person since you’ve run through it before.
5Tell them that this isn’t up for discussion.
The fact is, people usually see breakups coming. And if they know you, this person probably already knows you’re not into conflict, although you should feel free to remind them. Once you’ve sat them down, run through the breakup, and listened to any of their responses, you have every right to end the whole conversation. Tell the person that this isn’t a fight or some game to be won. It’s over. Then get up, go, and meet your friends for lunch because you deserve it. That was rough.