We've all felt the pain of romantic breakups. And while it's wrenching to be the breaker-upper, we do what we gotta do. Instead of feeling obliged to maintain a relationship when the connection has long soured, read on to learn how to gracefully make a break for a sweeter and maybe even saner life.

Here are suggestions of how to break off relationships with just about anyone:

Old Friend

"If the friend in question is toxic -- the friendship's become one-sided and draining -- you have to make a break," says Gina Barreca, relationship expert and author of It's Not That I'm Bitter. Be honest: "This friendship is just too hard for me right now. I wish you the best of luck with your problems, but I can't see you or talk to you so often anymore."


Assuming it's something benign, such as the fact that she was great with your baby but you'd prefer someone more active with your toddler, you'll have to be honest. Or honest-ish: "We're going to try something new with Johnny, such as daycare." And be sure to give her proper notice so she can find another job, says relationship and social media expert Julie Spira.

Book Club

Is your current group all about trashy romances and the drinks-and-snacks portion of the experience, whereas you'd prefer a book club with a more literary bent? In the case of a mismatch, politely extricate yourself with something like, "I can't manage the meetings the way I used to, and am taking a break from book clubs for now." That's better than an abrupt end.

Nosy Neighbor

Short of moving, "it's better to distance yourself by sharing fewer details with your neighbor," says Irene Levine, Ph.D., author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, and making it clear through body language, like hightailing it into the house with bags of groceries, that you don't have time to chat.


You loved the woman who's been scrubbing your toilets and getting the gunk off your stove for some time, but lately the house just isn't that ... sparkly any more. If it's just a not-working-out thing, "fall back on the bad economy to let her go," suggests Spira, and


Doctors understand that things change (like insurance coverage), and, though they may have taken good care of you and your family, at the end of the day they are professionals who are aware that people join and leave practices all the time. Chances are you don't have to say anything formal, says Spira.


Try first to mend the problem. If a weird cut or bad color was a one-time thing, let her know you're unhappy and give her another shot to fix it. But if you've been suffering in silence through too many bad 'dos, it's time to tell her something short and sweet, like, "I'm going to give another salon a try for a little while."

Charity Group

Don't quit abruptly; you don't want to alienate the people you worked with (who could be good for networking down the line) or become their newest subject of discussion -- or gossip, says Spira. "Say, 'I've enjoyed participating, but my interests (or available time) have shifted, and I need/want to focus on [fill in the blank].'"

Play Group

There may come a time when your current playgroup, once vital to your new-mom life, just doesn't fit your (or your kid's) needs any longer. "Do the slow fade," says Spira. "Show up less and less often as you gradually move into a new set of friends."