A couple of weeks ago I was strolling along, minding my own business and fumbling around for something in my bag. I look up, and lock eyes with this guy I went out with a couple of years ago (if you haven’t read the post about this particularly awful date, do so now). Not having enough time to duck behind a rubbish bin or a parked car, I was forced into a very awkward, very smiley conversation with him.
There is no strict protocol about what to do or how to behave when you run into someone you once went out with. The harder the break-up, the harder the accidental run-in (here’s to hoping you aren’t stalking them and haven’t orchestrated the whole thing).
I personally become over-smiley and laugh way too much; but to be fair, this is how I choose to deal with most awkward situations.
You’ve pictured this very moment in your head (about a million times); you’re always wearing a sexy red dress (and are possibly sporting an awesome new pair of boots/hot guy). You smile casually, say hello (noting happily that he’s put on weight and his new girlfriend is in no way prettier than you).
But in reality, you are probably going to run into him at that precise moment that you’re late for work, just got into a huge fight with your mother, and haven’t washed your hair in three days.
Rules For Bumping Into An Ex:
1. Things you should NOT, under any circumstances, do:
A. Veer of course and “casually” dive behind a dumpster; your’e not fooling anyone! Don’t hide or ignore them; you are better than that!
B. NEVER ask: “so… are you seeing anyone?”
First of all, you don’t really want to know if he is. Secondly, it’s the worst kind of small talk imaginable. Also, and most importantly, he may misunderstand and think you are interested! Which can either lead to him turning you down, or even more awkward, him calling you.
C. Don’t flirt!
D. Don’t talk about the amazing new guy you’re dating! It’s disrespectful and not very nice (yes, I know he was the one who dumped you! But he’s now fifty kilos heavier, and unemployed to boot. So no need to rub it in).
E. Don’t be mean or spiteful.
F. You had a nice chat, you smiled just the right amount, you are almost out of the danger zone. And then, as if out of nowhere, you blurt: “We should really get together sometime”. You don’t want to hang out, you don’t really ever want to see him again; it just seemed like the polite way to say goodbye.
JUST SAY GOODBYE AND GET OUT OF THERE!
2. Keep the conversation short, simple and friendly.
Just say hello, be polite, inquire about his health, and then you can get the hell out of there.
If you really can’t face him, for whatever reason, just smile when you walk past (acknowledge him) and keep on walking.