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This Is How to Break Up With People in Your Life That You're *Not* Dating

Get tips on handling non-romantic breakups with anyone from therapists to hairdressers.

Breaking up with people in your life can be equal parts awkward and equal parts confusing. While you’ve curated a crew of people to do things for you from your taxes to your hair, deciding to part ways with one of them can be a stressful task to take on. But, honestly, there will come a time when you need to take a non-romantic time-out or fire someone from your life.

Here’s exactly how to do it. 

Therapist

Even though you’ve been sharing your deepest and darkest secrets with a therapist for a while doesn’t mean you can’t call it quits. While it might feel hard to do that because this person knows a lot about you (and, in a weird way, has become part of your life), the best way to do it is in person. 

“Speak to your therapist at your appointment, in person, and be direct but gracious,” says Julie Gurner, a doctor of clinical psychology. “Be sure to have an appointment with another therapist lined up within the next week before you have this conversation. Tell them honestly the reasons you have for leaving, that you are going elsewhere, and have a scheduled appointment to do so that you are not without care. Be specific in your reasons but professional, wish them well, and remember that it is not a debate, but rather a notification on your end.” 

Personal Trainer

If the person you’ve been paying to help you work out isn’t working out anymore and you want to start hitting the gym solo, find a new personal trainer, or just spend more quality time on your couch, the best way to do it is toward the end of a session. 

“If you feel it's too costly or you're not seeing any results, during your last session with your trainer, you can say, 'This is going to be my last session. I am going to try and work on the things you taught me on my own. If I feel like I am struggling I know I can work out with you again,'” explains Celeste Viciere, a licensed mental health clinician and cognitive behavioral therapist. "I suggest having this conversation in person because if you are going to be going to the same gym they are attending, it can get awkward because you still have to see them.” 

Accountant

Before it’s time to fill your taxes for 2019, ask yourself how happy you are with your current accountant, and if you’re not that happy with them or how much they charge, it might be time to find someone else. 

“In this situation, you always have to remember that your accountant might know something about you in terms of your finances that they could use against you; so, use a viable excuse to end the relationship,” Dr. Damian Jacob M. Sendler, an attending forensic sexologist, chief of sexology, and director of the division of clinical research programs at Felnett Health Research Foundation, says. For exampk, “'X, I’ve truly enjoyed your service, but since I may not be able to afford your services in foreseeable future, I decided to take over my accounting personally.'” 

Hairdresser

One or two bad haircuts is probably enough for you to decide to find someone else to work on your 'do in the future. And the best way to break up with your hairstylist? Be honest. 

“It is important to make it clear that we are not getting the service we want, or that the look we are being offered does not fit our personality or new life’s agenda anymore,” Dr. Sendler says. “'X, I’ve had a lot of fun getting my hair done here, but you know, I think I need some change, something to make myself refreshed, and hope you’ll understand that in order for me to transform, I need to change the very person that takes care of my hairdo to experiment and become refreshed.'”

Best Friend

The hardest person in your life to break up with might just be a best friend. If you’re finding that your best friend is bringing you down too much, it could be time to go your separate ways. 

“Breaking up with best friend is emotionally draining and might affect relationships with a lot more people, if we have common friends; so, it’s important to be tactful and honest,” Dr. Sendler says. “'X, we’ve known each other for a while, but I just think that there’s something about our friendship that’s no longer supportive, and I think it’s best for us to part ways to avoid being toxic to each other.'” 

In the end, breaking up with someone in your life should be done in a respectful and quick way. Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, recommends doing it tactfully. 

“Respectful honesty” is the best policy when breaking off relationships,” Dr. Manly says. “It’s important to be direct and clear without oversharing information — particularly if details would be disrespectful and hurtful in nature.”

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