How to End Something with Class

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

There is verse from the Bible that states, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). At some point and time, everything comes to an end because the things this world has to offer are not meant to last forever. You don’t have to look far to see that things change and eventually end; just observe the changing seasons, the passage of a day into night, and the life span of animals and people. Perhaps you are experiencing an end in a relationship, in a partnership, in an occupation, in a church, or in an organization. But whatever the reason for the ending, you have the choice, actually the power, to end with class or without it.

Ending something with class requires thought and intention on your part as this is contrary to human nature. When something ends, some tend to blame others for the problem, some make excuses for their behavior, some gossip about the people involved, some withdrawal and pretend it does not matter, or some pick apart every detail as if searching for a buried treasure. Worse yet is the justification that these patterns are even necessary in order to prevent future endings. These patterns do not encourage positive exchanges in the future; they merely extend the frustration and resentment of the moment.

Admit to the ending. Once you come to the realization that something must end, take the initiative and be honest about needing to end it. This is not a time to wait until someone else makes the first move, be the one who has the courage to be honest about the circumstances. Ending with class means that you are up front and open about what is happening, willing to absorb the frustration and confusion this may cause for others. Make a plan; be intentional and kind especially if the other party does not know what is going to happen.

Acknowledge your part. To end anything with class requires self-reflection as to the part you played in the ending. Perhaps you did not give your best to the relationship, your occupation, or the organization. Perhaps you avoided necessary conflict or perhaps you stirred up too much conflict. Whatever your contribution, acknowledge your mistake and make amends with the people involved even if you believe you will never see them again. It only takes a moment to apologize and heal but it can take a lifetime to get over being wronged by someone else.

Amicably say good-bye. Once confronted with an ending, two natural instincts kick in: flight or fight. Some run away as soon as the ending is announced not allowing for a positive resolution while others fight back with accusatory remarks. Neither is beneficial. Rather take the time to discuss your feelings and thoughts about the matter, neither being dismissive of other points of view nor compromising on the final decision of ending something. Focus on the positive of the relationship, organization, or occupation openly admitting to the benefits you have received over time instead of the problems.

If you are the one making the decision to end something, spend time thinking the process through before you pull the trigger, this will save unnecessary anger, resentment, or confusion. If, on the other hand, you are the recipient of a decision, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification either in the moment or later. In either case, you still have the power to end it with class or without it.

Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding Schizotypal Personality Disorder

The Ultimate Networkers Checklist