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Ask Ann Cannon: Is it OK to break up with someone by text?

Published April 11, 2017 3:35 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Ann Cannon • My story is a long one, but instead of boring you with it, I'll cut to the chase. Is it OK to break up with someone via text message?

— Bottom Line

Dear Bottom Line • At first I was going to cut to the chase myself and say "no!" The old-fashioned part of me believes that where relationships are concerned, it's cowardly not to go face-to-face.

However, upon deeper thought (It's true! Sometimes I have deeper thoughts!), I decided there are times when it's not only OK, but actually preferable, to dump a person via your phone. If you fear for your physical safety, for example, a text (or no text at all) makes sense.

I will say this: If you break up with someone — no matter HOW you do it — stop texting that person. Don't try to make yourself feel better by "just being friends" with your ex. Even if your friendly texts are well-meant, you're making it harder for him or her to move on.

Dear Ann Cannon• I need to break up with my hairdresser. The trouble is, she's been cutting my hair for almost 20 years. She does a great job, but when I'm with her these days she texts her kids, talks to other clients and takes personal phone calls. I feel completely ignored, which is weird when someone is holding your wet hair in her hands. When she does pay attention to me, she only wants to talk about my ex-husband, even though I've moved on. Help! What should I do?

— Feeling Awkward About Bailing

Dear Feeling• Friends and I were discussing this very issue over breakfast the other day! Was that you listening to our conversation in the next booth over? Anyway. Here's what we decided: Breaking up with a hairdresser can be harder than breaking up with a significant other. Why? Because the relationship between a woman and her hairdresser is oddly intimate. A lot of talk therapy happens in salons. Also! Touching! It feels AWESOME to have someone else wash your hair.

But as in any other relationship, things can change. So my advice is twofold: If you still want this woman to do your hair, consider speaking frankly with her. Employ that communication technique where you start with something positive, then express your concern, and end with another positive. "I love my new bangs! Maybe you should pay a little more attention to me when my wet hair is in your hands! I love my new bangs!"

If, however, you're truly done, don't go back. Make an appointment with someone else. Unless your hairdresser contacts YOU, no explanation is necessary. IMHO, sometimes it's better to just pull off the Band-Aid quickly.

Dear Ann Cannon• I was asked to join a book club a few months ago. The group has been together for over 10 years but needed some new blood. I don't know any of the women well, but they are intelligent and fun and choose interesting books for us to read. The problem is that they are all on the same page politically, which I'm not. Our meetings invariably turn into political discussions, and because I'm the new kid, I don't feel comfortable asking them to dial down the rhetoric. Also, I wouldn't want them to change the dynamic for me. But I come home frustrated and even angry. What do you think of bowing out quietly?

— Should I Stay or Should I Go

Dear Should• If you want to bow out, bow out. While I think it's important to have friends who fall everywhere on the political spectrum, this probably isn't the best way for you to do it. As adults we all have plenty of stuff we HAVE to do, whether we want to or not. Being a member of an unsatisfying book club isn't one of them.

Do you have a question for Ann? Send it to askann@sltrib.com or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.






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