Breaking up is, without a doubt, one of the worst things ever. Whether you’re the one doing the breaking up or the one being broken up with, it’s all horrible. And if you’re doing the one breaking up, finding the right thing to say is hard. Sometimes, breakups consist of a huge fight, and never want to speak to that person again.

But other times, you want the breakup to be cordial. It could genuinely be an “it’s not you, it’s me” moment, and the last thing you want to do is hurt that person. Breaking up is painful, but the way you go about it can really soften the blow. No one wants a breakup that will end in tears, and here’s how you can break up with someone without hurting them.

Understand why you want to break up with them
The worst thing you could do is break up with someone in the heat of the moment and then a few days later regret it and try to get back together with them. That’s only going to worsen the problem and cause more heartbreak. It was already tricky going through it once, don’t make them go through it a second time. Before you break up with someone, make sure you truly understand WHY you want to end things and be sure of that decision.

Practice what you’re going to say
Before you actually do the breaking up, rehearse exactly what you’re going to tell them. Chances are, they’re going to have a lot of questions for you, so it’s best to be prepared with answers. Ensure you know what you want to say so that you don’t get to the moment and completely blank. Just have a few of your thoughts prepared.

Keep it short
You’re breaking up with someone, you don’t need to make it into a whole monologue. The best way to break up with someone is by keeping it short and simple. Don’t drag it out and don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. This will make it less complicated and painful for the other person, too.

Remember to be kind
Even if the breakup is coming from a place of annoyance or anger at that person, remember to be kind. Being broken up with sucks, and imagine if you were in their shoes. If they ask why you’re breaking up with them, explain kindly. You don’t want to make the situation any harder for them than it already is.

Say it in person
Do NOT be that person to break up with someone over text or even over the phone. That is only going to make the situation that much worse, and it’s probably going to make that person resent you. You have to face the truth of the problem and break up with them in person. That’s the least you can do when you’re breaking someone’s heart.

Don’t leave it open-ended
To soften the blow of a breakup, it’s easy to think that you should end things by saying something like, “let’s see how we feel in a few weeks.”Don’t make false promises, and don’t leave things open-ended. You’re breaking up with them, leave it at that. Although you might think that leaving them with a glimmer of hope will make things better for them, it will only worsen the situation when weeks pass. You still want to be broken up. It’s just for the best to end things right then and there.