What to Do When You Unexpectedly Run Into Your Ex

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. No, I’m not talking about herpes, I’m talking about your ex. Just because you guys broke up doesn’t mean that person will disappear. In fact it almost ensures the exact opposite. He is going to pop up in your dorm, at the student center, and at that restaurant that you kept trying to get him to go to but he could never find the time.

Exes are everywhere, my friend, and unless you plan on skipping town or hiding under your pillow until they graduate, you are going to have to find a way to deal with it. While I’m not exactly sure what to do when you run into these awful creatures, I am well aware of the things you shouldn’t do. Because I’ve done them. Multiple times. Learn from my stupidity, friends, learn.

DON’T: Act like you don’t see him. You know you see him. He knows you see him. The world knows you see him. Ignoring your ex once they know you see them is probably the worse thing you could do. It screams “You still have an effect on me, please do what you will with that power!” Although the thought of speaking to them might make you want to stab yourself with a fork, once you do it you’ll realize it’s not half as painful as it seems.

DON’T: Belittle your accomplishments. This man needs to see what he is missing out on. You are an amazing person (hopefully) doing amazing things. Don’t be afraid to be great. When your ex asks what you’ve been up to, don’t mumble “nothing.” You have a cool new internship? Say it. You’re starting a new project? Tell him. Going on a trip abroad to taste wine and get class credit? Throw that in there.

DON’T: Pretend your life is perfect. While you shouldn’t belittle what you’ve done, you don’t have to go overboard. Remember, your ex knows you. He knows all your ins and outs. Don’t pretend like you’ve suddenly become this new, picturesque person who eats and breathes success. He’ll see through you and you’ll look even more pathetic than if you had ignored him.

DON’T: Look like you haven’t showered since the breakup. Now, I understand sometimes this is unavoidable. Maybe you run into your ex during finals or on your way to the gyno. If so, you are just going to have to grin and bear it. But, if you are going somewhere you know your ex is going to be like a party or a club you are both in, for God’s sake comb your hair. Take an extra fifteen and slap on some mascara and remember a little blush never hurt anyone. You don’t want him walking away from the encounter thanking God he got out while he could.

DON’T: Make promises you don’t intend to keep. I don’t know what it is about seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long time that makes people want to make promises they have no intention of keeping. Don’t promise to hang out more. Don’t promise to call more. Don’t promise to text him the next time you are at that place you both love. It’s over.  Your promises aren’t helping anyone. You don’t want to risk leading him or yourself on.

DON’T: Try to make the conversation last longer than it needs to. You’re on a mission to leave the encounter as unscathed as possible. Get in and get out.

DON’T: Let it affect your day. Sometimes we still have residual feelings for exes. Seeing them might bring those dormant feelings to the surface. Don’t let someone who doesn’t want to be a part of your life have such an effect on you. Don’t spend the night crying into a bottle of Everclear (if you value your life) or eating your weight in cotton candy Blue Bell ice-cream, no matter how delicious and beautiful to look at it may be. You were doing fine before you saw him and you can keep doing fine after.

DON’T: Be a complete weirdo. Relax, you know him. You know that he picks his nose when no one is looking and wet the bed until he was 12. Remember that.

And if by some stroke of misfortune you end up doing all of these things, at least your not alone in the loser’s circle. But at least there’s ice-cream here.

[Lead image via NBedov/Shutterstock]

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