I’m just not that into you. You try to let them down easily, but many brands are in denial. You stop returning their calls, they continue to email. Somehow you feel differently about the brand that once you couldn’t wait to tell your friends and family about.

Many brands as desperate for attention and want to maintain a relationship at any cost. But what are you getting out of it? There should be something in the relationship for both sides. Use these top tips to get rid of the brands that will only waste your time:

Don’t get into the relationship in the first place: Did they rush up, asking you to take a survey the minute you entered their website? Were they keen to know about your experience of their business, before you’d even had it? Be elusive, hard to get. Before typing in details of your household income and buying habits in return for the chance to win a prize, consider how high a price you put on your privacy. Is it £25 in gift vouchers?

Consider your own needs: We’re being interrupted thousands of times every day by brands suggesting, demanding, requesting, telling us to do stuff. Give me a good reason to upload footage to your website and share my experience at the end of the ad break. Otherwise get out of my way and let me put the kettle on before the programme starts again. Brands need to produce content that is useful as well as engaging. Do you find their Facebook, Twitter, videos, articles entertaining or interesting? Do they deserve your trust? If yes then carry on.

Only go as fast as you feel comfortable: A brand that gets too heavy too early doesn’t bode well. Think of the times a search for insurance quotes online results in an unwanted call from a salesperson. Content needs to match each stage of the customer journey. Are they pushing you away, or moving you towards a purchase? Content marketing isn’t just about producing content; it’s about brands having conversations with customers in the most appropriate media. Generally that means spending more time together as the relationship develops, moving from the initial website visit lasting a few seconds to watching a video or longer read of a case study.

Fortunately if you decide to break up you won’t need to have the difficult conversation. Brands that don’t understand content marketing will spare you any awkwardness because they won’t be listening, they’ll be too busy hitting on the next consumer. But what do you think?