I get it, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s the last thing we want to do. So when someone asks you out or you realize your dating relationship isn’t going to end in marriage be honest with the other person. Sometimes the most caring and loving thing to do when a relationship is over—is by telling the other person.

When someone asks you out:

Ladies, if you have no interest in the man that’s asking you out (meaning you are not spiritually, physically, or mentally attracted to him) be honest. Be honest up front. If you don’t want to go out with him just tell him. Honor his time, money, and energy. If you aren’t sure. . .go out with him.  Just because you go on a date with a man doesn’t mean that you have just said yes to marry him. Be a woman of your word: if a guy asks you out and you know you have no interest in this man simply say, “I’m honored that you want to take me out, however I’m not interested in being more than friends with you.” I know it sounds harsh but it’s harsher for you to say yes to his face then call and say that you just don’t want to go out with him.

I’ve been this girl—it can be hard, we hate feeling rejected so the last thing we want to do is reject someone else. . .face to face. I’m thankful for the man that called me out many years ago for not loving him as my brother by lying to him and saying yes then later calling and saying no. Or. . .we want to be wanted. So we say yes with no intention of actually falling through, but instead let feed our lust for comfort, pleasure and the gratification of being wanted.

Breaking up is hard to do:

You’ve realized that you don’t want to marry the person your dating. No matter at what point you’re at in the relationship tell the other person. TELL THEM.

You’ve been on a few dates or you’ve dated for a few months, you don’t want to tell them or hurt them so you just stop talking to them.

This response is passive. A woman or man shouldn’t assume that when they haven’t heard from a guy in a few days that the relationship is over because this is a pattern that she/he has experienced over and over in past relationships.  It’s an easy way out. The men/women you should want to date shouldn’t have this pattern, it’s evidence of immaturity, if they can’t end a relationship how will they respond in conflict in marriage.

This response is avoiding. You just out of the blue stop texting them, calling them, etc. is a much crueler form of rejection than just telling them you’re no longer interested in dating them. So this person that you once thought was worthy of dating, worth your time, money, energy to get to know, is now no better than that kid on the playground you avoided because they had cooties. When you respond to a person in this way yes they can get the message but it’s a very selfish way to end a relationship. Don’t think about how you don’t want to be the “bad guy or girl” or how it will hurt your image or reputation because you break up with people,

This response is unloving. The failure to communicate is actually communicating. It is a hatred towards the other person. Leaving the other person left in confusion and unclear if the relationship is over creates confusion. Be clear with where the relationship is going and be clear if it isn’t going anywhere. This should not be done using social media and/or text. Remember the other person is another person!

There will never be a perfect break-up, someone is likely going to get hurt. The pressure is off to break up perfectly. I could share a couple stories from both sides and none of them went perfectly and that’s okay. I’d be leery to meet anyone who said they have the break up mastered because no one does and no one should.

Responding to a lack of a “break-up.”

It’s normal to want justice when we have been wronged but it’s not always right to pursue it (in this case someone has failed to end a relationship by verbally telling the other person involved). Remember you are not the judge, Jesus is. When we act as if we are the judge, we don’t respond to the “offender” in a God glorifying way. Before you tell everyone how this person has wronged you, ask yourself these questions:

Have I talked to the person about it? 

Is this a pattern in their life?

Approach them, purse peace and love your brother and sister by confronting what has happened.

Be slow to speak.

Whenever a male or female wrongs us we are quick to run and tell our friends. In some instances it may be correct to send out a PSA not to date a person— but before you go that far. Instead of talking to everyone about them, talk to the Lord about this situation, pray for them, pray for their future relationships and yours. When a relationship is over and has ended in bad way—honor the other person by not slandering them or their reputation because of how they ended the relationship. If necessary for their growth and if this it’s a pattern in their life tell someone (an older person in their life or if necessary a leader in your church—it is not your personal duty to personally sanctify them) out of care for them to grow and be like Christ not for your benefit of having justice.

Be above reproach in all these things. Seek to honor and love your brothers and sisters by verbally communicating to them when a relationship is over. They will be far more honored and loved by you than if you were to just not say anything.

Amanda Edmondson is on staff at Sojourn Community Church is Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow her @amandaedmondson.