We’ve all heard that first impressions are important– both at work and in our personal lives.  Most of us strive to show up on time, well-dressed and attempt to put our best foot forward when meeting someone for the first time.  Not much is said, however, about how we should end things, except in business they always recommend that you try not to burn any bridges when you leave.  Well, it is my sincere hope that more people will embrace this in their personal lives as well, but sadly emotions get out of control sometime, and some are just incapable of exiting with civility and grace.

Try to keep these things in mind as you part ways:
1) It is a small world, and you never know when you might run into someone that knows an ex.
2) When you look back at your actions later, you’ll feel better about yourself if there are no regrets.
3) Taking the high road is not letting someone off the hook, it’s a gift to yourself that allows you to maintain your dignity.
4) If someone else is lashing out at you, it is really because they are hurt– like a wounded animal.
5) Sometimes the best reaction is simply to not respond.  Silence is indeed golden at times.

The opposite of love is not hate, but apathy.  When you can get to the point that someone’s actions no longer stir any feelings in you, that is when you know you are done.  If someone continues to try and harass or punish you for leaving, the best positive spin I can put on that situation is this: it certainly leaves no doubt that the best decision you made was to walk away.

Most of my friends believe in karma, and I definitely have seen it in action many, many times.  For every action, there is a reaction– especially in my legal world where everyone is under scrutiny.  But even without Big Brother watching, we should all do our best as decent human beings to try and refrain from intentional infliction of any harm.  As Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye and we’d all be blind.”

We all lose sight at times of the big picture, especially when we are absorbed in the grieving process, but try to remember that the last impression we leave is what people will remember most.  Our final acts will speak volumes about our character– much more so than in the beginning when we are on our best behavior.  We can all be good when we want something, but the question really is how will someone act when there is nothing to be gained?

Parting ways is never easy, and in the end it is you alone that have to live with yourself, so try to avoid saying or doing things in the heat of the moment that you will later regret.   The last impressions you make do matter, so try your best to tie up the loose ends with a pretty bow– keeping your dignity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.


By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.