Happy 2013, everybody!
Dear Captain Awkward:
Here’s the deal. About 4 months ago I moved with Boyfriend about a thousand miles away from my family and friends for a job offer he received. The city we moved to is big and we figured that it would be easy for me to find a job there. That has not been the case, and I am still unemployed. That’s not the problem.
I have decided to end the relationship with him. It has been waning and I am no longer happy in it, so it is time to go. I have the breakup planned and I will be moving back with my parents while I wait on some jobs that I have applied to in other places.
My question is this. How do I let the friends I’ve made know? Boyfriend and I live together, so as soon as we break up I will be leaving and I likely won’t get a chance to see them again. I want to have a chance to say goodbye, but it doesn’t seem right to tell them I’ll be leaving before the breakup happens. I really like a lot of them and I was enjoying getting to know them, so I will miss them and don’t want to just leave without even a word.
Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
Dear Moving Friend,
I started to answer this in a quick email, and then I realized that a lot of people could probably relate to the awkwardness of letting people know about a breakup.
I suggest that you set up a casual farewell event before you leave town. Something where you will hold court for a few hours at a local bar or coffee shop and whoever wants to stop by can stop by (and you can sit there with a book if you like). Don’t invite people yet – you are correct, it is pretty horrible to inform the friend group of a breakup before you do the actual breaking up – but pick a venue and block out the time.
Then break up.
Then, I suggest an email, which you can tailor to each person as necessary.
“Dear friend, I wanted to let you know some sad news. Sadly, (partner) and I have split up, and I’ll be heading back home where my family lives as of (date).
Your friendship has been really important to me since moving to (city), and I definitely didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye. I realize it’s last minute, but if you have a bit of time on (day), please stop by (place) between (time and time) and have a drink with me if you can. If not, I completely understand and hope we can stay connected with Facebook, Twitter, etc. and that you’ll look me up if you are ever in (city).
Thanks so much for your kindness and company these past few months, it’s meant the world to me.
Does that work? It lets people know the facts & conveys your affection, and as a bonus, it saves your boyfriend from having to do potentially humiliating work of notifying mutual friends about what’s up. Hopefully they can reach out and buy him a beer once you’re gone.
Good luck getting through a really sucky time with grace and a minimum of emotional and logistical carnage, and good luck finding work that you like. Breaking up sucks even when it’s the right decision. I’m impressed with your clear head and your desire to be kind & mannerly while also taking care of your own needs on your way out the door.