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Most of us will have to cut ties with someone at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a friend, family member, colleague, or even an ex-partner, knowing how to end the relationship appropriately is important. Whether someone is letting go of a friend or family member who has become toxic or terminating an employee, a person will want to do it as smoothly and harmoniously as possible. Here are some tips on how to cut ties gracefully:

Be honest.

Explain why the relationship is ending and what one hopes will happen as a result. Give the person time to process the decision made. It’s important for them to feel heard and understood — even if they don’t agree with the decision.
One can set up an in-person meeting (if possible) and address the issue head-on as soon as possible. Make sure the approach is direct. Let people know exactly what’s going on to learn from the experience and make changes moving forward. The goal here isn’t to burn bridges; it’s to have a conversation that will help both of you grow.

Do some explaining.

Be clear about why the relationship has run its course. It can be hard to have difficult conversations, but the more specific and honest a person is with someone, the better off they’ll be. If a friendship is no longer working due to how often a friend flakes out on plans, tell them so.

Leave in good standing.

If leaving a job, make sure to tie up loose ends and leave on good terms with one’s boss and coworkers. Even if one has decided to leave because of problems at work, try not to burn any bridges — word travels fast in the business world. If breaking up with someone, try to do it as kindly as possible — remember that this person was once very important once and that they may be important again sometime down the road.

Give fair notice.

Most people have to give at least two weeks’ notice when they quit a job. Two weeks is also the standard amount of time one has to move out once one decided to leave school. While there isn’t always a standard amount of time for ending personal relationships, it’s important to give enough notice that both parties know what’s coming and have time to adjust.