Other than the obvious part of a breakup being really shitty (your heart breaking, lots of crying, missing the other person, etc., etc. Are you triggered yet?), telling people about it can be equally as sucky. You have to go through the entire series of unfortunate events, recounting your misery to no benefit. If you have a lot of people you keep up to date on your life — think: friends, family, coworkers, your barista — it makes the process a billion times more gut-wrenching. 

Before we go any further, let’s get something straight: You don’t owe anyone an explanation. It’s easy to want to share your life (including your breakups) with the world. In this Instagram era of shouting your truth from the rooftops, how could you not? But whether you have 50 or 50,000 followers, you choose where your limits lie.

“The best thing you can do is find one close friend you can talk to in person or go to a therapist,” says Julie Spira, digital dating expert and CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert. “Acquaintances don’t need to get involved, because who wants to be the subject of gossip? If it’s over, it’s over and you want to minimize the drama in your life.”

She makes a good point, and like my Grandma Roz, a gorgeous genius, always used to say, “once it leaves your mouth, it doesn’t belong to you anymore.” Basically, once you tell people, it’s kind of all out there and that negativity swirls around you. But, I get that keeping it close to the chest isn’t the most natural thing, either. So if you decide to tell people but don’t want to get into too (much) detail, you’re going to need a script. Spira suggests the following: 

If you’re bringing it up to friends…

“Hey, [insert name] and I decided to go separate ways. Just a heads up that I’m going to need some time alone to process this so I can heal.”

If friends ask you how your S.O. is…

“They’re doing OK, I think, but we decided to go separate ways. I’d prefer not to talk about it right now, because it just makes me feel worse.”

If your close co-worker Slacks you…

“We split, but I don’t want anybody in the office to hear about it because I don’t want that to be the topic of conversation. Could you please keep this to yourself?”

If a not-so-close coworker asks…

“We’re not together anymore, but I’m actually just super-busy on this project right now.” 

If your dad calls…

Thanks for being so supportive of my relationship with [insert name]. I love that you welcomed them with open arms, but it looks like I’ll be flying solo at brunch this weekend, since we’re not together anymore.”

If your great-aunt twice removed asks…

“Yeah, I’m actually officially single again, thanks for checking in.”

If your doorman asks…

“They say that seasons change, and I guess so did I. I’m back on the dating scene, so feel free to put in a good word for me if you see someone hot.”

Your little cousin DMs you on Instagram…

Relationships are a lot of work, and they’re really worth it when you meet the right person. This one, unfortunately, turned out to be too much work and didn’t feel right. I’m optimistic about the future and will get through this.”