Breakups are Tough, but Phone Calls are Easy: Americans Still Prove They're Going Steady With the Phone Call

Breakup Guide 101: New Research from LISTEN Reveals How Americans Prepare For Breakups and Cope With Heartache

Feb 05, 2015, 09:00 ET from RealNetworks, Inc.

SEATTLE, Feb. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In relationships, specifically when ending them, phone calls and face-to-face interactions are not obsolete, even in the digital age. To reveal how Americans really approach breakups, LISTEN, the smartphone app from RealNetworks that allows consumers to quickly and easily customize their callers' experiences, examined how individuals prepare for and communicate a breakup, what they do to cope, and who they turn to for emotional support. Conducting the study through YouGov, according to the results, while everyone handles breakups differently, phone calls and face-to-face conversations are universally the preferred method to communicate a breakup with a partner.

According to the survey, Americans differ in how they would plan for a breakup but agree on the best way to communicate the news. Key findings include:

How Americans Prepare for and Communicate Breakups

  • Of those who prepare themselves for breakup calls, 1 in 3 of Americans would script what they're going to say during the call, with women (44%) more likely to script than men (31%).
  • 3 in 4 Americans who would communicate a breakup to their soon-to-be ex would do so face-to-face, with 28% communicating a breakup with a phone call.
  • While we live in a digital world, less than one in five would breakup with someone via text message and only 6% using a Facebook or Twitter message.
  • Specifically, of those who reported having children, more Americans with kids (11%) would start creating a dating profile than those without kids (7%) to prepare for a breakup. Additionally, respondents with children (13%) are more likely to reach out to a former love interest in anticipation of a breakup call than those without (9%). 

"As technology has evolved, the way people communicate has radically changed," said Laura Nolte, Head of Global Mobile Entertainment Marketing, RealNetworks. "While digital communication has become the norm, our research shows that for important conversations people still value talking to each other face-to-face and on the phone."

Role of Social Media

In a world dominated by social media, changing Facebook relationship statuses is not typically part of the breakup ritual:

  • Only 1 in 4 Americans would change their relationship status on Facebook following a breakup, with more women (29%) changing their status than men (24%).
  • Further, only 19% of adults would unfollow their ex on social media (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

The results further show that many American adults would turn to music and work as a breakup aide and, when it comes to emotional support post breakup, women lead men as shoulders to cry on.

How People Seek Emotional Support

  • Music as Medicine: Overall, many American adults would turn to music as a breakup aid, with 1 in 3 Americans reporting they would listen to music to get over a breakup.
  • More women (38%) would listen to music than men (28%) and nearly half of millennials (48%) would turn to tunes, compared to only 22% of adults 55 and over.
  • In the days following a breakup, Millennials (42%) are more likely to throw themselves into work compared to adults aged 35-54 (38%) and adults 55 and over (33%).
  • Further, the left-side of the country may not be as stress-free as people think with 44% of West Coast respondents stating they would throw themselves into work versus the general population (37%).
  • Of those Americans who would call someone right after a breakup, 27% stated they would call a female friend and only 10% would call a male friend.
  • The top 8 people Americans would call after a breakup include:
  1. A female friend (27%)
  2. My mom (17%)
  3. My sibling (10%)
  4. A male friend (10%)
  5. A non-immediate family member (4%)
  6. My dad (2%)
  7. The person I just broke up with (2%)
  8. An ex / old flame (1%)

To learn more about LISTEN by RealNetworks, please visit The app is also available for download for T-Mobile and MetroPCS users on Google Play.

About the "Breaking Up is Hard to Do Study" (Methodology)

LISTEN by RealNetworks commissioned YouGov Plc to poll the views of a representative sample of 1,094 U.S. adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between December 23-29, 2014. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+). The research was carried out online.


From RealNetworks (the pioneering company that originally brought streaming video and audio to the web), LISTEN is the first direct-to-consumer smartphone app that allows consumers to quickly and easily customize their callers' experiences with ringback tones. With LISTEN, users can replace the traditional 'brrng brrng' that plays as calls are waiting to connect by assigning songs for them to hear or leaving status messages explaining why they can't answer the phone. It also incorporates music sharing and productivity tools.

About RealNetworks, Inc.

RealNetworks creates innovative products and services that make it easy for people to connect with and enjoy digital media. RealNetworks invented the streaming media category and continues to connect consumers with their digital media both directly and through partners, aiming to support every network, device, media type and social network. Find RealNetworks corporate information at

RealNetworks and its respective logos are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of RealNetworks. Other products and company names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE RealNetworks, Inc.