Breaking Up is Hard to Do


Your hairdresser, your daycare, your doctor, your house cleaners, your lawn service, your kids’ school… Have you ever stayed with one of these because you didn’t want to upset them, even though you really needed someone else? 

Why is this so hard?  Because we build relationships with these people.  We trust them with important things like our children, our home, and our hairstyle!  We do not take this lightly.  But sometimes our needs change and these trusted providers no longer meet our needs. 

We either stay and stay bitter, or we leave and never share why we left.  Neither of these are good options, so why do we feel like we have to choose between the two evils?  Because we don’t know how to leave well.   

I’ve lived in Waco most of my life and have had to make several changes over the years based on changing needs.   One hairstylist was so popular I couldn’t get an appointment anymore, so that was a problem.  One school was exactly where my son needed to be for a time, and then there came a point that the approach no longer worked for him.  One of my doctors retired so we had a long conversation about who I would see next.  In all these situations, I wanted to leave well.  

Here’s what I have found that works for me:

  1. Logically examine your needs.  What has changed?  What isn’t working anymore? Is it something someone else can provide?  Or are you asking for too much?
  2. Talk to your provider.  Ask if they can adjust.  Share your struggles in a way that explains your needs have changed and that they haven’t done anything wrong.
  3. Ask them for recommendations.  If you involve them in the process, it demonstrates your respect for their opinion and honors your relationship is more than just the service they provide.
  4. Write a thank you note.  Let your provider know when you find a new one and that you appreciate their service over the years.  
  5. Follow-up.  Send Christmas cards or stop in to say “hi” when you’re in the area.  Connect on Facebook or Instagram. 

Think about how you leave.  Do you quickly duck down the next aisle at HEB when you see them?  Or do you avoid leaving altogether and just stay in your bitterness and frustration?  Or do you leave well?  Do you maintain relationships while changing the nature of them?