Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

If you want to be successful in the world, you want to exit situations with good energy.

Today, learn a key phrase in English you can use when you quit a job or end a relationship.

Listen in and find different situations where you can use this expression to show why you should leave a good last impression.

Lindsay and Michelle also share tips on how to avoid leaving a situation negatively.

How To End Things

Michelle asks Lindsay if she’s careful not to burn bridges.

Lindsay does her best not to end a situation in a negative way.

She doesn’t want to put bad energy out there and not make amends.

She believes it will come back to her at some point. Michelle agrees with Lindsay.

It is important to be careful about your footprint; what you leave behind.

To burn a bridge doesn’t literally mean to burn a bridge.

Burning a bridge is a metaphor. It means to leave a situation and end it badly where there is no point of return.

Lindsay gives an example where you quit your job and you aren’t happy with your boss.

You then voice out your opinion and let him or her know what is on your mind.

You may feel good at the beginning but when you’ve left you’ll realize that you shouldn’t have left your previous employer on such a negative note.

What if you need them as a reference?

That wouldn’t work so well in your favor.

Michelle adds that you’re cancelling the relationship when you’re burning a bridge.

How To Use The Expression “Burn Bridges” in English

When we hear the expression “burn bridges,” most of us think about working and leaving a job.

Here is an example of how to use it, as mentioned by Lindsay and Michelle:

He wanted to find a new job, but was worried about burning bridges with his company, so he stayed there for another five years. It was a waste of time.

There are some people that don’t speak up because they are afraid to burn a bridge with their employer.

If you are unhappy with where you are working now, you can quit and gracefully exit without having to bad mouth your employer.

You have to be careful not to leave a negative last memory.

Don’t let the fear of burning bridges when leaving a company keep you from making decisions for your career.

Not all goodbyes have to end badly.

Fighting with Friends

Another situation where we can use the expression “burn bridges” is when we are fighting with a friend.

Michelle says that it’s not good to make so many enemies.

Burning bridges socially is not as dangerous, but it is not good for your image.

Lindsay agrees and this is something that can sabotage an opportunity for you in the future.

Her example is she may find the love of your life and you’ve accumulated a lot of people who don’t like you.

Your partner may hear all this negativity about you and it won’t turn out well for your relationship.

Here is an example of how to use it in a situation between friends:

She burned bridges with her friends when she spoke negatively about them without knowing they were right behind her.

Should You Worry About Burning Bridges?

Lindsay says it’s important to be kind all the time.

But she doesn’t think that we should be too worried about being kind to the point that we avoid making good decisions for ourselves because of it.

Finding the right balance in ending relationships is an art.

As Lindsay would say, energy goes around and you receive back whatever you put out there.

Here are some ways that you can avoid burning bridges:

  • Be honest. If you are leaving a job or rejecting a job offer, just be honest. Give proper notice and don’t put anyone in a really uncomfortable or sticky situation. You can politely turn down an offer that you aren’t interested in.
  • Be fair. Consider what the other person or entity may go through as a result of your decision. Do not exit a relationship or job because you want to hurt them back. This will automatically burn your bridges with them. Discuss openly what you want to do and when you want to leave that is fair for both of you.
  • Be careful of what you say. Don’t say negative things about people, especially about former or current employers. That could get you in trouble.

However, with all the tips mentioned, don’t let your fear make you stagnant.

Other Expressions Similar to “Burn Bridges”

There are other similar phrases you can use to express ending a connection between people in a social situation.

You can use these to bring variety to your vocabulary. Here are alternate phrases with an example on how to use them:

  • Sever ties “She severed ties with her best friend when she insulted her intelligence and life decisions.”
  • Cut someone off “He was cut off from his group of friends after being completely insensitive about Bob’s recent job loss.”


There is so much negativity in the world and adding more to that helps no one.

It doesn’t hurt anyone to be kind.

Making the effort to take care of your connections, even if it means the end of it, will bring you good karma, as how Lindsay would put it.

But of course, don’t let these precautions stop you from making moves that will improve your career or life.

Lindsay and Michelle shared tips on how to end a relationship, whether it’s your career, romantic partners, or even friends without burning any bridges.

Just be polite, fair, honest and overall conscientious of what you say.

What are your stories of good endings?

We’d love to hear them.

Please share them in the comments down below.

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