The act of splitting up with someone must be direct, decisive
and, above all, kind. Feelings should be protected and never give
the wounded party false hope.
If it's very early days, then ending it by email or telephone is fine, but texting is one notch too heartless. Keep things simple and don't give too many reasons or you risk looking arrogant.
Longer relationships deserve face-to-face attention and a decent explanation. If it's genuinely nothing to do with them, let them know. Avoid bitterness or blame and, unless in the midst of 'irreconcilable differences', try to keep it amicable.
Don't spin out the conversation too long - the humiliation of a break-up is in its seemingly endless and protracted trotting-out of meaningless clichés; all the while, the spurned party is focussing every atom on not breaking down.
Do not break up with someone if they have just received bad news or is in a stressful situation. Equally, do not break up with someone just before Christmas, their birthday or Valentine's day.
If you are dumped, accept the fact that they're just not that into you. Keep your dignity and never plead or beg. Rejection can often have a physical effect: not just those treacherous tears but a shivery unsteadiness.
If prone to drunken dialling, delete their number from your phone or, better still, avoid alcoholic excesses during the aftermath.
Remember to appropriately update your status on Facebook - don't keep it falsely lingering as in a relationship, but equally don't change it to single unless you're sure it's history.
Don't rush into friend status (of any kind) with your ex; a separation period helps the healing process.
Personal possessions (CDs, books etc.) should be returned, but never give back any gifts.
Re-engage with old friends and new prospects (rebounds can feel surprisingly comforting). Write a list of your ex's shortcomings. As the list gets shorter, so your memory of the pain of the break-up gets shorter. You know you have finally moved on when you find your own misery boring…