If you were a fan of the "Sex and the City" TV series, you'll remember Carrie's worst break-up story--that she got dumped via Post-It note. It's not far-fetched that a break-up executed this poorly and impersonally could make Carrie lash out against her ex's friends, go to a dive bar to get drunk, and get arrested for smoking pot on a street corner. Despite the stereotype that women are more emotional, guys can take break-ups just as hard. When things aren't working out with your current boyfriend and it's time for you both to move on, do it right and avoid these cringe-worthy break-up tactics.
The Note: See Carrie Bradshaw reference above. Unless it's a one night stand, you shouldn't be leaving any "It was fun, thanks for the memories" notes on your soon-to-be-ex's pillow (or computer monitor.) It might work if you're as eloquent as a Jane Austen character and are writing 12 pages of beautiful prose in calligraphy, and your boyfriend is a literature major--otherwise, a note isn't going to cut it. A note gives you the last word, and the other person is left feeling unfairly shut out of a life-changing decision.
This is particularly cruel if your boyfriend has no idea of your feelings, and let's face it, even if you think he should know what he did--he probably doesn't. Dumping him with a note is just going to make him crazy, and he's going to pester you and everyone who knows you until he gets to have it out with you. You'll have to face him eventually, and do you really want to have your break-up fight in the middle of a shopping mall or at your best friend's wedding?
An E-mail: This is simply the technological version of a note. You know he'll write back, and you'll have to either ignore it or block him, which is just another way of driving him nuts. This could force him to use his friend's email address, or to create anonymous emails to write you back. Then he'll start calling, and texting, and...you get the idea. Don't forget that emails can be saved, as well, and anything embarrassing or vindictive that you wrote could be forwarded on to everyone you know.
Then there's the panic you'll feel when you don't get a reply back, and you wonder if he actually got the email. Is he going to show up at your mother's house for brunch on Sunday, thinking you still have plans? Did he send a reply and you didn't get it? Who needs this kind of stress?
If you're in a long-distance relationship and a phone call costs $100 a minute, email may be the way you typically communicate. Try doing a real-time video, voice or text chat instead. This will at least more closely resemble an in-person conversation, and it allows him to respond to the news.
A Text: Just imagine, he's in the middle of an important business meeting when he gets a text from you that says he's a boring, useless person and you don't want anything to do with him anymore. Do you think that he's going to be able to do a presentation of sales figures to his bosses after that? If you have even a shred of human feeling left for the guy, avoid the text. Not only is it impersonal, but you have no way of knowing when or where he's going to get that message. What if he's driving? What if he just found out his father went in for surgery? It's all too unpredictable, and it's the wrong way to break up.
The Tweet: This is just the online equivalent of a Post-It. And yes, crazy people have broken up via Twitter. Don't make yourself tabloid-worthy. A 140-character dumping of your boyfriend is cold, cruel and very very public. Protected tweets and direct messages? Are you sure they're private? Just check out this page of Twitter dumpers and dumpees. Back away from the Twitter now.
The Phone Call: While this is the second best way to break-up if you can't do it in person, there's definitely a wrong way to approach it. Consider an analytical geek friend of mine, who called up a girl he'd been dating a year and told her: "This isn't really working out; I've got a box of your stuff, so you can pick it up whenever you want." This is a good way to break up if you're both robots, but being this blunt is not an effective way to deal with someone's feelings. Even if you don't feel anything for them anymore, you still have to be considerate of their emotions.
Countless dramas and sitcoms have explored the terror of the phone call that begins: "We need to talk." The truth is, though, people need these warning cues. You've got to let them know the bad news is coming so they can protect themselves. When he's picked up the phone and is excited to be talking to his girlfriend, you can't just spring it on him that it's all over. Work your way into it, and there's more of a chance you'll come to the point together. Certainly it's not going to be a pleasant conversation, but something that comes closer to a mutual understanding is a heck of a lot better for him than being unceremoniously dumped.
The lesson in all of this? The best way to break up is in person, face-to-face. Especially if you've been together a long time, and he hasn't done anything horribly wrong, you owe it to him to show him the respect he deserves. Using technology to communicate can be tricky even in the best of times, so don't trust it to handle something as serious as a break-up. Let him know that it's over for you, and allow him to respond. In break-up situations where there turns out to have been a colossal misunderstanding, this face-to-face meeting could end up saving your relationship. Even if it's truly over, it's better to end it together--the same way you began it.