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How to Break up With Someone in Person

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Sadie loves to help others get through the ups and downs of relationships.


If you are considering breaking up with someone, you might be considering doing it in person. Let’s go over the pros and cons of breaking up with them in person as well as how you should go about it. By the end of this article, you should have a clear plan of how you will break up with them in the cleanest, best way possible.

Is it Better to Break Up With Someone In Person?

An in-person breakup is the best way to break up with someone in most relationship scenarios. It can be more personal and compassionate than breaking up over text or ghosting them.

Ending the relationship in person allows you to have a conversation about it and allows you both to say what you need to say. Closure is important when breaking up and talking things through is a great way to start.

Sometimes in-person breakups aren’t the best way to end things. If the person you’re ending it with is violent or erratic, you might be better off creating some distance and breaking it off over the phone or in writing. If there is any danger in breaking up with someone, we don’t recommend doing it in person.

Also, some relationships just don’t warrant an in-person meetup to end things. If you’ve only been talking or have only been on one or two dates, it’s probably not worth the time to meet up. The first few dates are meant to feel each other out and see if there is anything there. If there isn’t, you can send a polite message and let them know that it was nice getting to meet them, but you’re not interested in taking things further.

However, if you have been seeing this person for a while, breaking up in person is appreciated by most. You’ve formed a relationship and they deserve some humility and care when you’re ending things.

Breaking up in person

Breaking up in person

Ending Your Relationship In Person Without Hurting Them

A lot of people ask us how to break up with someone without hurting them. The hard truth is that you can never guarantee that you won’t hurt them in the process of ending the relationship. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that it will hurt them at least a little bit.

However, you can go about the break up as kindly as possible to make it easier on them. Be nice about what you say to them even if you have frustrations. Obviously there are issues or things that you aren’t happy about otherwise you wouldn’t be ending it.

Say the things you need to say but don’t personally attack them. There is no need at this stage to start pointing out all of their flaws or things you dislike. Being direct and polite is the kindest thing to do in this situation.

Steps to End a Relationship In Person

So you’ve decided that you are going to break up with them in person. This can be an overwhelming situation. We’ve broken the process down into easy steps for you to follow. At the end of these steps, you should have broken up with them in a kind and respectful way.

1. Decide when to break up with them.

Timing is important in a breakup. You can’t wait around forever to end it, but you can be strategic about doing it. Consider what the other person has going on in their lives and try to do when they will have time to process afterward.

For example, don’t break up with them the night before a big exam or meeting at work if possible. You know them best so figure out a time that will be the kindest to them.

2. Figure out what you want to say.

You probably already have the main points in your head of why you are breaking up with them. Decide which things you need to say and which things can be left unsaid.

If you say too little, it may make it hard for you both to have proper closure. If you say too much, it can lead to personal attacks that just aren’t necessary.

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Figure out what is important for you to get off your chest while giving them a reason for the breakup. This might be pretty short if the relationship is new and it just isn’t a good fit. While longer relationships will take a bit more explanation.

3. Pick a Place to Break Up With Them

The location of the break up is important. You don’t want to go somewhere too public as you want them to be comfortable in case they get emotional. They probably don’t want to shed tears in front of a group of people in a busy restaurant.

Consider how much privacy you’ll have when picking a location. You need to be able to talk without being overheard because most of what you’ll say is really private.

Here are a few suggestions of good places to break up with someone:

  • At a park
  • Go to one of your homes
  • At an outside table at a coffee shop
  • Go for a walk

It doesn’t really matter where you do it. As long as you both are comfortable in the area you choose.

Picking a place to break up with them

Picking a place to break up with them

4. Schedule a Time to Meet With Them

This is the time that you say “we need to talk”. You’ll need to set up a time to meet with them. There is a bit of an art to how you go about this. If you say too much up front, they will know what’s coming and you’re basically breaking up with them over the phone at this point.

You can say something like “Hey. Are you available to meet up at my place tomorrow?”. Or, if you already have plans to see them, you can do it then as long as you aren’t meeting somewhere public or where they will be left alone at an event without notice. Meaning, don’t meet up with them at a concert they got you tickets to and tell them you’re breaking up with them there.

5. Have the Talk.

When the day and time comes for you to meet up, it’s time to let them down. Be clear that you are ending the relationship and why. It’s best to be as kind as possible in this situation. You can let them know about things that have bothered you or that you haven’t been happy about. However, this isn’t the time to drag someone through the mud.

Things You Can Say When Breaking Up With Them

When you let them know that you’re ending the relationship, it’s best to keep it short and to the point. Say what you need to say but leaving it open-ended leaves room for them to talk you out of it or get defensive.

Be polite, let them know that it’s over, why, and that you wish them the best. The conversation can start out with something like this:

“Thank you for meeting up with me. I wanted to tell you in person that I am breaking up with you. It has been really great spending time with you, but I don’t think that we are a good match long-term.”

“Thanks for meeting up. I wanted to talk to you about ending our relationship. The things you have done make me really unhappy and even though I love you, it just isn’t going to work.”

Breaking Up With Someone In Person

If you are breaking up with someone in person, you should be proud of yourself. It is kind to them and something that is really hard for a lot of people. Most of us don’t like conflict and will avoid any kind of conversation that can cause tension.

Just remember that this is best for the both of you. Even though it will hurt you both a bit, you both deserve to find the right people. We date people to find “the one” so it’s no surprise that a lot of relationships are going to end in breakups. It’s probably not their first or last. Just be sure to be kind like you would want them to be to you.

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