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Okay, this is a tough one and certainly an area we’ve probably all failed at one time or another (including me!). My screeching fingernails on the black board, worst break-up was thankfully now many years ago. I was talking – what I thought was quietly in another room upstairs – to my flat-mate about how my skin crawled when my then-boyfriend touched me (I know, I know!) – and I’m ashamed to admit it but he obviously heard me because when I finally went downstairs to talk to him straight up, my now ex-boyfriend had left the front door swinging open from his understandably very speedy exit. We never spoke again and I’m still mortified about behaving so badly.

Please learn from my mistakes and never be unnecessarily indiscreet or cruel to boyfriends – even if they clearly aren’t right for you or you’ve only been dating a short time. It will take as much finesse as you can muster to dump him and not have him (and all of his friends) hate your guts but these tips should help…

Charm School Rule 1: Be honest

It isn’t fun to hurt someone’s feeling, especially if you have just ‘gone off him’ and there’s no solid reason for the break-up. However, if you have done something you shouldn’t have done, tell him before he hears it from someone else. It is the least you can do.

Charm School Rule 2: Pick your time and place

If you’ve been out more than three times or you’ve slept together, then ‘phasing him out’ by not taking or returning calls is poor form. You should meet up with him for a quick drink or at least speak to him on the phone – although don’t let the poor guy think you’re going to have a romantic dinner, while all along you’re planning to break it off, and don’t do it in front of his friends or work colleagues or when he’s drunk. There’s no need to humiliate him.