How to Break Up with Everyone

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Dump 'Em: How to Break Up With Anyone From
Your Best Friend To Your Hairdresser
By Jodyne L. Speyer
284 Pages; Collins

The Gist:

Breaking up is hard to do — even if it's just with your housekeeper. In this guide to confrontation for doormats everywhere, author and self-proclaimed avoidant Jodyne Speyer provides a step-by-step manual on the etiquette of ending things with just about anyone. Bypassing romantic relationships entirely, Speyer focuses on handling the less-addressed, yet (almost) equally difficult dilemmas surrounding separating oneself from everyday acquaintances. Tired of getting the same cut from the faithful barber who's been trimming your hair since third grade? Sick of wearing a coat to bed because your landlord hasn't fixed the heat? Rather than slinking away or grinning and bearing it, Speyer advocates a grab-the-bull-by-the-horns approach to breaking free from the toxic relationships that can develop where you least expect them.

Highlight Reel:

1. On how to break up with your therapist:
"What you say: 'I'm sorry, but I was hoping for a stronger connection to this type of therapy. Since I didn't find it, I'm going to keep looking. Thank you for your time.'
Be prepared for him to say: 'Perhaps we need to look at why you feel that way. Its natural to want to run. Let's explore your need to leave over the next few months.'
Final word: 'Im sorry this just isn't a fit for me. I need to trust my instincts.'"

2. On how to break up with a roommate: "For those of you really in a pinch, tell your roommate that you've come down with a really bad case of mononucleosis and your doctor said that rest and relaxation is the only way to get better- so you'll be camping out at home for the next couple of months. Cough whenever he walks in a room, neglecting to cover your mouth. Try to keep the windows sealed shut so that the place stays nice and stuffy. If your roommate opens a window, shout "Brrrr!" and shake a little. Apologize, mentioning that you'd totally understand if he wanted to move out (cough, cough)! If he suggests that maybe you'd be more comfortable going home to recover, remind him that this is your home."

3. On how to break up with your lawyer: "Lawyers deal with rejection on a daily basis, from losing cases to losing clients. Remember, time is money, so the longer you wait, the more legal fees you will be responsible for. When firing your lawyer, back it up in writing. If you do it on the phone, as soon as you hang up the phone, send her a certified letter confirming that the conversation took place. Clearly state that you will no longer be needing her services, and include the date on which you wish to terminate the relationship."

The Lowdown: Speyer's advice, gathered from personal testimonials and "experts" such as Kato Kaelin (on how to get rid of a houseguest), runs the gamut from the obvious to the absurd. Most people wouldn't think twice about the appropriate way to sever ties with a carpooler who perpetually reeks of alcohol (answer: leap out of the car, even if its still moving). Conversely, most wouldn't resort to scaring a houseguest away with warnings of a ghost-infestation. Still, the guide is a helpful tool for those who lack basic confrontational skills or need legitimate legal advice on the best way to break a lease or fire an employee. Speyer's natural comic ease, a trait that she shares with sister Sarah Silverman, makes this a breezily informative read.

Verdict: Skim

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