Breaking up is rarely easy, and it can hit your guy particularly hard if he doesn’t expect it at all. Figuring out how to tell him it’s over is important before you actually do it, in order to minimize the impact of the break-up on both of you.

Whether you plan on staying friends with your future ex or not, it’s important to break up in a kind way. Respect the good moments you shared by breaking up with a little care.

Make Sure It’s What You Want

If you’re completely convinced that you want the break-up, it’s important to show it. That means paying attention to your words and your actions. Don’t use “maybe” and don’t make him think there’s a chance of wining you back. Once you’ve made your decision, don’t sugarcoat it. Staying friends rarely happens right after a break-up, so if you want to end it, give him some space before reaching out again.

Avoid One of the Worst Possible Moments

There’s never a good time for getting dumped, but when you’re wondering how to tell him it’s over, make sure that you avoid a truly bad one. Don’t break the news to him on a holiday or when you’re surrounded by family. If he’s having health issues, it’s up to you to decide how long you stick around, but don’t allow him to emotionally blackmail you to stay together just because he’s having some trouble at the moment.

Don’t Spread the News Before Telling Him

If you need to talk to a friend or family member before the break-up, that’s understandable. But telling multiple people the relationship is over before he finds out is not a good thing to do. Avoid humiliating him in that way, and don’t discuss the break-up on social media or change your relationship status for a day after telling him.

See also: The Absolute Worst Ways to Break Up with Someone

Do It Face to Face

You should only text or email if you’ve only had a couple of dates. Once you actually enter a relationship, one of the answers to the question of how to tell him it’s over is… in person. Allow him the opportunity to respond and have a conversation about it. Without that, the healing process can take longer.

Avoid Breaking Up in Public

Unless you have legitimate reasons to fear verbal or physical abuse, breaking up in public is a pretty cowardly thing to do. If you’re afraid of what he’ll do, you can do it in a public space, but for most relationships, it’s important to break the news to him when it’s just the two of you. It’s the decent thing to do.

Be Honest, Not Brutal

Deciding to tell him it’s over without offering a couple of reasons is unfair. It’s important to be honest about the real reasons that made you want to end it, without being brutal. This isn’t the time to take out the list of everything he’s ever done that bothered you. Stick to the point and try to be constructive. By telling the truth, you’re allowing him the opportunity to avoid making the same mistakes in future relationships.

Keep It Short

Dragging it out isn’t good for you and it’s not good for him. You can prepare by taking a few notes about what you need to say, and once you start, say them and get it over with. It’s important to make sure that he understand this is not a negotiation and that he can’t make promises that will make you reconsider.

More: Can You Take a Break Without Breaking Up?

Allow Him to Respond

No matter what you decide about how to tell him it’s over, it’s important to let him react to the situation, not just dump him and disappear. He might be angry or hurt, but he’ll resent you more in the long run for not allowing him to properly grieve the end of the relationship.

Show a Little Empathy

It’s OK to let him know that this wasn’t the end you planned for the relationship. At the same time, be wary of false hopes. Getting dumped isn’t pleasant, and you can make it easier on him with a kind word or two, but don’t let him think that he can get you back.

Meet with a Friend Afterwards

It doesn’t matter if you’re the dumper or dumpee, you shouldn’t be alone after a break-up. Make plans to see someone close to you after you’ve figured out how to tell him it’s over. You don’t have to talk about it, but spending time with a friend or family member can make things easier for you.