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On Sunday evening, news of President Rodrigo Duterte texting Vice President Leni Robredo to ‘desist from attending Cabinet meetings’ swept social media.

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Actually, the more accurate statement would be: The president, through his Executive Secretary yes man Bong Go, asked Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco Jr. to tell VP Robredo to stop attending Cabinet meetings starting today, Monday, Dec 5 at 2pm.

Evasco, like a faithful little soldier, did so. Through text.

Face palm.

We don’t know about these middle-aged men, but one of the things life has taught us early on, is that we never ever break up through text. Break up texts are the lowest. We mean come on: How cowardly is that?

Granted a break-up scenario may be a weak metaphor for what just happened (a boss firing an employee may be a nearer comparison and even then, dismissal through text is still the worst).

But such acts by the president could set a precedent, an example to all the young impressionable ones on how to do things, i.e. breakup with someone. You know, the way it did when he catcalled female reporters and incidence of catcalling on the streets increased.

And so a little public service on our part. Remember boys and girls, breakups will always be a messy, ugly affair. But there are things you can do to minimize the mess, such as the five basic rules below.

1. Do it in person. Nothing is more cowardly than breaking up through text. That goes with viber, Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Line and all the other messenger apps out there. We mean: You’re about to break somebody’s heart. Have the decency to do it face to face. Don’t hide behind the screen, please.

2. Do it yourself. This is almost unnecessary to enlist here but just to be crystal clear: Don’t have your friend do the breaking up for you, please. How low can you go? The offended party deserves your respect and courtesy. Also, to hide behind your friend is dumb and honestly, wrong—worse than breaking up through text, TBH.

3. Do it in his/her territory. This ensures his/her safety. In the breakee’s territory, at least the person is in his/her safe space. No tearful long drives that could end in accidents, no external forces that could put worrying ideas in the offended party’s mind. Besides, the person is already on the losing end—at least give him/her the home court advantage.

4. Be honest and merciful. Tell him/her that you don’t love him/her anymore. Tell him/her that you want to breakup. It’s important to tell him/her why. But please, really, there is no need to go into detail on why it’s not working out and tear that person apart. There is a way to be honest and gentle. Find it.

5. Be patient. If the other person begins to bawl, asks too many (annoying) questions, or tries to make a case for the relationship to continue, let him/her. Listen. Let him/her cry, even. S/he lost someone important (read: you), so don’t tell him/her to get over it and pull it together. S/he deserves space to grieve. Be patient.

Illustration: Madel Crudo

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