Odds are you have already decided whether or not you and your ex should be together again, and if your answer was a definitive no, pretend you have somewhere else to be.
As much as we would all like to pretend that our exes cease to exist after we have broken up with them, the harsh reality is that they are still very much living their day-to-day lives, even after they have stopped being a part of ours.
This is why figuring out what to do when you run into an ex is not easy. Cutting off communication after a breakup is necessary to the healing process for both parties involved, but unfortunately you can’t always control whether or not or when you see each other face to face again.
There are some things you can do to make yourself look calm, cool, and collected when you run into a former partner even if you are seething underneath it all. You are probably not alone in feeling this way. Your ex is probably nervous as hell to see you, too.
Have a plan
After a breakup, it’s easy to catch yourself imagining how it’s going to go the first time you run into each other. What will you say? Will they tell you how amazing you look and how much they regret breaking up? Decide beforehand how to survive your run-in with the ex, and stick to that plan to avoid being totally overwhelmed and caught off-guard.
Keep it short
Even if there’s a lot left you want to say to an ex, a casual run-in is not the time or place. Say hello, drop a line about how awesome you are doing, and try to end the conversation on a good note. Odds are you have already decided whether or not you and your ex should be together again, and if your answer was a definitive no, pretend you have somewhere else to be.
Consider scheduling a meeting
If your breakup was more or less mutual, and you know that you are bound to run into your ex socially for example, if you are in the same group of friends or frequent the same spots. It’s up to you to decide if you and your ex are ready to be just friends, but it’s important to take control here. This gives you the opportunity to plan ahead and diffuse some of the stress associated with the situation. This is especially important when you are involved professionally as well as personally, as you want to maintain appropriate boundaries after a breakup.
READ ALSO: Boundaries you shouldn’t cross as a cheat
Call for backup
Spending time with friends is key to getting over an ex. It is important they are there in case of a meeting. Let them know ahead of time how you want to handle things, and make sure they know that you don’t want them to be outwardly rude to your ex no matter how much, and however rightfully, they may hate him. Give them a time limit after which you want them to bail you out of the conversation.
It’s tempting to try to make your ex jealous or to publicly flirt with someone else, but you need to keep in mind that breakups are hard on everyone involved, and your ex is probably having their own emotional response to seeing you. Making out with in front of your ex is rude, and out of respect for the relationship you guys once shared, at least take the time to think about how you may be hurting your ex.
Delete their number
Seeing your ex, especially for the first time after a breakup, is bound to bring up old feelings. Going from laughing/crying/cuddling with someone on a regular basis to an awkward “Hey, how have you been?” conversation can be absolutely brutal, and you will inevitably want to text them afterward. Do not do it. Delete their number immediately if you haven’t done that after the break up.
Imagine the worst case scenario
Unexpected encounters can really catch you unawares and give you less time to map out how you will handle things. Being taken by surprise can leave you looking insecure, simply because the meeting was unanticipated. To account for this, imagine the absolute worst case scenario, and plan what can you say and do to appear unaffected and composed. Envisioning this will allow you to be less caught off guard if an unplanned run in does occur.
Take the high road
Any sort of negative reaction to your ex, whether it is rudeness, anger, defensiveness, or coldness, makes you look like he or she still has some sort of emotional hold on you. Instead, grace, warmth, and poise are always in style.
READ ALSO: Between boldness and rudeness