How to Handle Running Into your Ex

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There is nothing like running into an ex to relive the painful feelings associated with a breakup. Even if you have managed to put past behind you, a chance encounter with an ex holds the possibility of bring a deluge of negative emotions ranging from stinging tears to acute embarrassment. Rather than shutting yourself indoors for fear of running into your ex, be prepared with these tips in case you have a chance encounter.

Make the first move

The longer you keep ignoring your ex at a chance meeting, the more painful and awkward the situation will get. Instead if you happen to run into your ex at a mutual friend’s party or an office get-together, pluck up the courage to go up and say a simple hello. Avoid using the meeting as an opportunity to yell at them for all the bad things they did. Just be polite and ask how they've been doing. If your ex is trying to avoid you too, you will look like the mature, confident one in the process.

TIP: Read the guide to prevent a break up or get back with your ex.

Avoid bringing up the past

As you make a little small talk, keep the focus on the present – as what terrible weather you’ve been having over Thanksgiving weekend or how great it is that a common friend got married – and don’t revert back to your past. A chance meeting on the office lift or at a friend’s poolside party is hardly the place to solve things you couldn't solve while you were together. Don't be under the illusion that you can just "patch things up."  Rehashing the past usually awakens bitter feelings. Talk and act like simple acquaintances but be careful to avoid sensitive topics. Remember that the wounds caused by your breakup are yet to heal and dragging up your past will cause only more pain to you both. So don’t go reminiscing about what a great time you had at Hawaii and particularly stay away from any mention of the breakup.

Don’t start flirting

Granted that you and your ex have agreed to move on, but this does not mean that you start flirting with the new intern at the office party just as soon as you see your ex walk in. This will only go to show that you are actually yet to get over your breakup since you are still looking for ways to make him or her jealous. Moreover it may lower you in the esteem of the rest of your colleagues who will see you as just another sex maniac whose mind is never on the job.

Avoid talking about your new squeeze

The less you reveal about your new date, the more your ex will obsess over how fantastic the new man/woman in your life is – perhaps the guy or girl is hot, has a great job and is perfect. Even if you're single, your ex will imagine you're meeting lots of members of the opposite sex, and he/she will wonder if you're living a glamorous and active single life, full of partying, dancing and great sex.  If you bark about your great new boyfriend or girlfriend, then the ex might assume you're trying to make him/her jealous. And if you're trying to do that, it means you still care and your ex wins.



Don’t involve others

If you run into your ex at a party in your office building or at a mutual friend’s place, you may be tempted to share your pain with the others to vent your feelings. And if it has been a particularly messy breakup, you may even be inclined to reveal your side of the story. But it would be foolish to share the details with your friends and colleagues as it will lead to gossip-mongering with the whole episode being picked over, again and again. Some of the people at the venue may feel pressured to take sides with you or your ex and others may feel embarrassed about your situation and begin to avoid you.

Make an effort

If you are going to be some time at the venue where your ex is also present, make an effort to show you are OK, even if you are not feeling so great inside. Psychologists point out that often even faking the outward physical motions of happiness – like a big smile and a bright look – can help you feel a little better inside. Accentuating the great things that make you who you are like your sense of humor, intelligence, or creativity will not only remind your ex of what he/she's missing but create an atmosphere of positivity and energy around you which in turn will draw other people to you.
If you know that an ex is going to be present at an event, one of the best ways to prepare yourself is to program your mind for positive thinking. Once you start building up confidence from within, it is bound to evident on the outside. Start by giving yourself a pep-talk as you leave for the party. Look  in the mirror and tell yourself, “I look great today” or “I feel good about myself”. Of course it will help hugely if you are actually well turned out. Once your subconscious self absorbs these positive feelings, they are bound to be manifest in your outward behavior. And once you genuinely feel good about yourself, you are sure to appear confident to others too, including your ex.

Be brief

Once you have said hello and make small talk with your ex, end the encounter. Drawing out the meeting will not only get increasingly awkward for you but give your ex the opportunity to walk out first – perhaps like when you broke up. So after you mention something great happening in your life, end the conversation by saying something like "Well, it was nice seeing you. I have to get back to my …” and fill in the blank that has to do with doing something super-exciting or cool. Then, smile, walk away and don't look back.

Finally take whatever your ex says with a large pinch of salt. If you are reading this to prep yourself for an encounter with your ex, chances are he/she is doing the same. So, don't take anything that he/she says too personally during the conversation at a chance meeting. Act like you don't care no matter how much what he's saying bothers you and by all means, keep your cool.