When it's over, it's over. You know it, but your partner...well, they may not know it. Break-ups are hard. You're dissolving something that once made the two of you very happy and content and you're admitting that it's definitely not that anymore. As crappy as the last few weeks, months, or even years have been with this person, keep in mind that they are a person who has feelings, and if the shoe were on the other foot and they were the one dropping the hammer on you, you'd at least want them to drop it as gentle as humanly possible.
1. Wo/man up, and avoid the text
Have more respect for someone you've been with a while or worse, lived together, than to text them or leave a note that you're breaking up. That's really low. Even if all you ever say to them to their face at minimum is that, "it's over," say it in person.
2. There is actually a right time
That time is not when they're in the middle of finals, not on their birthday or your anniversary, not the same day they got fired, or their dog died, or they are sick in bed with the flu. You may be desperate to break up, but a few more days won't kill you. You're trying to break up with this person, not BREAK THEM!
3. Don't make a scene, this isn't Real Housewives of wherever
Bashing his car up, setting her clothes on fire, throwing water at him in the restaurant, yelling at her extra loud in front of others is childish and shows a real complete lack of maturity on your part. Yeah it may suck, whatever they did, but so will police charges, hospital bills, jail time, and your public or professional image. If you think about breaking up and your blood begins to boil, you aren't ready to say what needs to be said yet. Don't let someone else turn you into a bad person or land you in jail.
4. Your soon to be ex should be the first to know
Yes, do explain why all your friends, your co-workers, his/her family members, your hairdresser, the janitor, etc. all know you're breaking up with him/her before they do. That means not only have you been spreading your personal business to anyone within earshot, you didn't have the respect to at least break up with the person first before you told the world. Tell him/her FIRST.
5. Give a reason
We do learn a lot about ourselves in break-ups. We learn about the things we've done wrong and how we ended up in that position or we learn that we deserve better. Giving a reason both helps you and them, even if either of you only ever see the big picture long after the relationship is over.
6. Be firm, but not cruel
Saying to someone, "you're an absolute worthless loser" is harsh and is probably going to lead to lots of tears or lots of yelling. Frankly, at this point, you should be trying to lay down what you say and get out of there, not extend the break-up into some long dramatic soap opera. Be firm in that the break-up is happening, and this is it, but keep the name calling and fighting words out of it. You've already been there, done that. None of that should even matter now or is important anymore because you're leaving, remember.
7. Don't try to control their feelings
You're breaking up with them. Don't then try to tell them not to be mad or upset about it. In your mind, you may have walked away a long time ago, but this may be a shock for them or they may not have known how bad things were, so trying to then smother their reaction so you don't have to feel guilty or to try to control things, is really unfair. If they are losing it when you tell them and they can no longer be spoken to, then just walk away. It is what it is at that point, and that's over.
8. You're not their friend...for now
Hello!!! You just broke up with someone and threw stones at their heart, and now you want to go back to hanging out like old times...the very next day?!? Give the friendship thing a rest...for now. Let your ex take five minutes where he or she doesn't have to see you, talk to you, remember the good times you shared. Give them space. If or when they are ready to pick up a friendship again, let them lead the charge. You don't get that right anymore to decide if or when you can be friends again since you're doing the breaking up and for God sakes, don't start your friendship back up if you really are of the impression that you actually want to be more than that again.