In college, I was pretty superficial. I was in my early 20s, with no regard for anyone else but my own selfish and self serving desires. It’s no wonder why it was hard for me to develop any lasting relationships, especially with the ladies.
I was dating a pretty awesome girl but, for whatever the reason, I allowed other voices or interests to cloud the good thing that I had. So out of nowhere, I broke up with her. The break up was not really the lame part of the story. It’s how I broke up with her.
I wrote a note and had my friend deliver it. I know, pretty lame huh?
I knew that what I was doing had no real explanation. I was too embarrassed to look at her heartbroken face and have to admit that the reason I was breaking up with her was completely immature and unfounded. Frankly, I was a little boy without the guts to man up to my decisions.
Sadly, there are even many adults who struggle with conflict.
We end relationships with text messages. We quit jobs with emails. We turn our backs on those we say we love or care about without offering any explanation. Then, we disappear from their lives, leaving them hurt and confused.
Not only have I dished it out, I’ve also been on the receiving end of such careless behavior. So from my experience as both the offender and the offended, let me share with you three ways to positively end something.
Gather your thoughts. Most of the time we are willing to end a relationship or situation in an impersonal way because we don’t know what we will say when we’re asked for a reason. Some of the time, we know our reasons are not good enough, so we hide behind the impersonal to save us the embarrassment of looking immature or petty. Gather your thoughts, and make sure you are making the right, calculated decision.
Have a face to face meeting. Or, if you are physically unable due to location and distance, pick up the phone and make the call. There is nothing that screams immaturity more than sending a text message or an email or a message through someone else. I know, I’ve done it. If the situation is too uncomfortable, request a third party to be present as a mediator or witness.
Let it go. Once the situation has ended, let it go. If you truly want to bring a positive end to something, stop talking about it. Continuing to bring it up to others makes you look divisive and untrustworthy. You also never know who is sharing what you are saying with others.
Whether it's a job, a relationship, or an organization you’re a part of, endings will come. When they do, gather your thoughts, have the conversation, and let it go. If you do this, you will be surprised to see the positive fruit that may result in what would otherwise be considered a negative situation.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” - Philippians 2:3-4 ESV