Bumping into your ex might end up being your Pandora’s box. Just when you think that you are finally moving on, along comes a ghost from your past to haunt you all over again. Mind you, these situations always have bad timing. You might have thought about the things you would tell them when you confront them, but when it actually happens, you look for the exit.
There may be anger, there may even be some not-so-kind words exchanged, but one thing is for sure: running into an ex years later is going to be awkward. When you’re flabbergasted by the sight of your ex, your mind suddenly stops working.
What follows is a scurry of awkwardly put-together sentences to initiate small talk. Hopefully, by the time you’re through with this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what to do when you run into your ex in public. God knows we all need it.
12 Things To Keep In Mind When Running Into An Ex
The hardest thing to do when running into your ex in public is to try not to make it look awkward. But then, accept that it is going to be awkward for both of you. Avoiding your ex isn’t an option because another situation like that could arise in the future. The best thing is to prepare yourself beforehand for this eventuality so that you have the edge.
So if you do happen to find yourself reading this article before you’ve been met with such an unfortunate fate, know that it’s probably going to happen one day. And if you’re expecting to be running into an ex, there’s a lot more you can do. Let’s get right into how you need to prepare yourself for such a day, so you’re not left silently staring at your feet.
1. Prepare yourself if you expect it
Prepare and be prepared. Running into your ex can be a total disaster and it is up to you to ensure that there is minimal damage. Go through what you are going to say and stick to it. Calculate the length of your conversation and ensure it doesn’t go beyond that. A casual “hello” is a good starter, if you do wish to talk to them at all.
However, if you’re expecting to be running into an ex you still love, perhaps you should spend a bit more time figuring out what you should say. Don’t jump the gun and start talking about your feelings too soon. Test the waters and see if it’s even worth it.
2. Act normal
The biggest mistake that people make when they see their ex is thinking of ways to avoid them or run away. Do not do that. It will just make your ex feel that he/she still has control over you. Acting like your ex is just another friend you ran into will keep you in control.
If you’ve ended up running into an ex who hurt you, you know what they say about the best form of revenge. No, it’s not that cold dish, it’s living well.
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3. Be confident and flash some attitude
You have to be the boss here. Own that conversation. Show your ex how well you are doing without them. Show them how much you are enjoying your life without them. Be careful not to go overboard with the lying or bragging, as your ex will soon figure it out.
Just throw some attitude and walk off. You don’t even need to be having full-length conversations with them if you don’t want to. If you must, let them know about the things that are going on in your life with confidence and be on your way.
4. Don’t make it obvious
When you run into your ex, it is awkward for both of you. Try to not make it obvious how awkward the whole thing has made you. Making it obvious will just confirm that your ex’s presence affects you and you haven’t moved on just yet. Make sure your ex gets the message that you are over him/her, and happy.
We know, we know, it’s difficult to act normally and not make it obvious when an ex literally crosses paths with you. At that moment, however, try to remember all the advice your best friend implored you to follow; don’t let the memories of this person hold you captive. Forget about your ex.
5. Stay calm and composed even if you wish to scream
Even if everything inside you is falling apart, you have to keep it together. This is where the natural actor in you comes in handy (you’re already the star of your own movie, you’re halfway to being a star). Don’t think of your ex as a monster coming to get you; instead, think of it as an annoying bug that you want to get rid of.
6. Kill them with kindness
Be as kind as possible, especially when you end up running into an ex who hurt you. Don’t show them that you still blame them for what went wrong in your relationship. Treating them politely will give them the message that you have moved on and do not hold any grudges against them anymore.
There will be no point in crying and wailing in front of this person about how bad you’re doing. You won’t win your ex back right there on the curb, so it’s better to maintain your dignity and not be anything but kind.
7. Avoid being clingy and needy
Showing that you still want your ex in your life will just drive them away even further. Even though in your head, you are longing to blurt out your feelings and longing for them, do not say a word. If your ex doesn’t feel the same, it will just make you look like a fool in front of them.
8. Be formal
Make the conversation formal, but don’t treat it like a business meeting. Behave the way you would if you unexpectedly run into an old acquaintance. Express your happiness to see your ex, but do not show that you are too happy. Try phrases like “Wow. Longtime” or “It’s good to see you”. Do not give a hug unless your ex initiates it.
There’s no need to break the boundaries of formality when you’ve ended up running into an ex years later. Some would even argue that being overly friendly and hugging them might even end up sending the wrong signals to your ex.
9. When you run into your ex in public, make it brief and short
Ensure that you have a brief conversation. You may also indulge in a bit of small talk with regard to your mutual friends, but ensure that it doesn’t lead to something else. Do not agree to sit down and have a conversation over a cup of coffee. It will just open the gates for all those past emotions.
Related Reading: My Boyfriend Still Talks To His Ex, What Should I Do?
10. Do not freeze
Do not act like you have seen a ghost. Freezing on seeing your ex is the worst possible scenario and you would beat yourself up for months about this. Short-term freezing can still be covered up with “Oh sorry, I was just thinking about this meeting tomorrow” or “That was unexpected. Sorry to make it awkward”. But the best thing would be not to freeze.
11. Avoid bringing up the past
The idea here is to show that you have moved on. Talking about the past isn’t sending that message. If your ex brings up the past, try to avoid it by talking about the present or your future without them being in the picture. You may want closure, but accidentally running into your ex is not the right situation to be seeking it.
12. No riddles
Avoid sending mixed signals to your ex. Talking in riddles or with reference to something that happened between you two will only give them the impression that you want to be back with them. Seeing your ex may make you think that you want to get back with them, but it might be momentary. Go home and think it through before sending the wrong message.
Running into an ex who dumped you and hurt you can be an opportunity to remind them of what they’ve lost. Show your ex that dumping you was the biggest mistake they could’ve made. Be the best version of yourself. Show them how they did you a favor by ending it and let them know how you’ve found happiness after the breakup.
Running into an ex-years later
It has been a long time but might not be long enough. You both have gone different ways, but seeing each other has brought you back to the same place. Do not talk about the past. Get an update on each other’s life. Be friendly and talk about catching up some time.
It’s most probably just going to be awkward, given there’s a high chance you’ve both moved on and despise the people you were back when you were dating each other. Unless you really want to be friends with this person (again, we’d suggest otherwise), you shouldn’t be talking about the past.
Running into an ex you still love
If you are still in love with your ex while they have moved on, it’s time for you to move on too. Avoid getting emotional and telling them you want them back. It will only drive them away. You might’ve cooked up a scene straight out of a movie in your mind, where you run into an ex you still love and declare your love to them in the middle of a busy street and end up hugging them with orchestral music playing in the background.
Sorry to break it to you, that’s not going to happen. Here’s a more realistic outlook on what will happen: you’ll confess your feelings, they’ll get weirded out and say something like “Oh, wow…it’s just been so long, I think I need to go.” Oh, and, you’ll probably be beating yourself up about it for a couple of months.
Related Reading: 15 Tips To Forget Your Ex-Girlfriend Completely
Bumping into your ex with your new boyfriend/girlfriend
A situation like this can be awkward but you could use it to your advantage. Introducing your ex to your new boyfriend/girlfriend can show both your ex and your partner that you have moved on. This way, you’ll also be letting your new boyfriend/girlfriend know where they stand.
When all is said and done, running into an ex is probably one of the most awkward things you can go through. Though it may seem like all forms of rational thinking have left your mind, try to be in the moment and not freak out. It’ll be over before you know it, and overthinking about it won’t do you much good.
It means you probably need to change the route you go on. Jokes aside, it’s a pure coincidence, or if you’d like to believe, it might be so because your ex is planning it. Unless your former paramour accompanies it with a bunch of attempts at conversation, don’t think too much into it.
Yes, it’s entirely possible that an ex falls back in love with you. However, there’s not much you can do about it unless they decide to communicate their feelings. When they do, you can either tell them to move on or lose yourself in the daydreams that will flood your mind.