How Can I Avoid An Awkward Run-In With An Ex?

Today’s post is a special one, because it’s actually a request from a friend. My friend wondered what they should do to avoid an awkward run-in with an ex. There is a good chance they might run into each other for the first time in a long time, so they want to avoid an awkward interaction. Well, dear friend (and everyone else), I’ve got some suggestions:

1. Bend the truth to start a conversation

I’m all about being as honest as possible, but here’s where I actually encourage some subterfuge. Send this message to avoid an awkward run in:

Hey, I was at {where you’d likely run into them} and I think I saw you the other day, was that you?

Chances are that they’ll ask why you thought you saw them (did you just move back? change your routine?) in which case you get the opportunity to warn them that you’re likely to run into them. Whether it’s because you’ve changed jobs, moved, or any other reason, it’s a good way to give them a heads up without making it sound like you’re trying to see if their available.

2. Alternatively, just be straight up

I’ve lived in my current neighborhood since 2008 after moving in with my ex. After we split I moved close-by, and then eventually back to the neighborhood, I made sure to send my ex a heads up message like this:

 “Hey! I just moved close to you, are you still in the same place?”

I’ve had two women who I briefly dated also move to my neighborhood. I’ve never run into them randomly, but they both gave me a heads up that they moved into my neighborhood so at the minimum it wouldn’t be weird if I ran into them at my neighborhood convenience store.

3.Not interested in reconnecting? Make it clear

Unless you want to see them, don’t say that you want to see them just to be polite. Make sure that they know that you’re not trying to reconnect…unless you actually are trying to reconnect. If you hate to end conversations awkwardly, say “See you around” instead of “We should hang out“.

4. If you’re attached, casually bring it up

If you’re currently attached and want to avoid the “This is my signficant other” awkwardness, casually bring up your attachment. When you mention that you might have run into them at whatever place you came up with, mention that you were there with your partner. If you’re being honest, you can bring up your significant other by mentioning them, just be sure to not make it a conversation about how wonderful they are. If you’re unattached, don’t bring  that up, or bring up their relationship status.

5. If you run into them, be cordial

If or when you eventually do run into them, make sure you’re cordial. Avoid overly praising them, simply say that it was nice running into them, catch up if you must, and keep the conversation light and short.

Of course, all this advice only works if seeing your ex isn’t the scum of the earth. If they are, I hope that seeing them is INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE FOR THEM. Flaunt how awesome your life is and treat them with a cold distance, if you acknowledge them at all (which you are under NO obligation to do).

Good Luck Out There.

photo credit: Alex Naanou (f_lynx)

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