You’ve just spent a year or more rapturously in love with a person you really thought was “the one.” But then it didn’t work out. You took some time off trying to find yourself, gained some confidence, maybe you’ve even been working on trust issues, but then the single most awkward thing that can ever happen, happens – you run into an ex when you least expect it!
So what are the rules when that nerve wracking moment happens? You could just walk away at lightning speed and pretend you didn’t see them (or let them pretend they didn’t see you)… but instead, use it as a character building exercise..
Keep your cool
Odds are there are very strong emotions running through you when the one that got away suddenly shows up. If it was a painful breakup – no closure, it came out of nowhere, infidelity etc. – try not to act on your sudden inclination to either throw or stab. Regardless of how you were treated, how you act and how you let them make you feel is in your control. If the breakup was particularly heinous, your best bet is to ignore the situation or simply walk away and let go of the pent up rage – your pillow won’t mind if you hit it. After all, they’re no longer a part of your life, what is being upset about it really going to do for you? As they head your way and go to whirl their arms around you, just take a deep breath and remember that some people overcompensate when they’re hurting too. If you’ve had enough of the minimal small chat which seems ridiculous given the intimacy you once shared, politely excuse yourself with a classy exit like “Excuse me, I have to go, meeting a friend.”
A simple hello, or acknowledgement with your eyes is really all that’s necessary if you feel too uncomfortable to get into a full on conversation. Despite the situation, what happened did happen, no sense in being all 5th grade about it. The age old adage, “Living well is the best revenge,” really is true. So it can’t hurt your confidence to pleasantly engage in conversation and talk about how well you’re doing. You might surprise yourself, oftentimes someone who seemed so worthy of your love may not stir up the same feelings when you see them again.
Be the bigger person
Awkwardness is a two way street – it’s only awkward if you make it awkward. If they’re the one being weird, this is your chance to practice the age-old Buddhist trait of “non-attachment” – pretend you are speaking to a stranger – because really, how they treated you in the end, weren’t they really someone you didn’t know? At one point in time, you did share something and though revenge may seem sweet, it’s best to keep your karma clean. If they’re doing great and you’re down in the dumps…it may hurt but they don’t have to know that. Congratulate them and wish them well. Being bitter will only hurt you in the long run, and only feed their ego. If you maintain a sanguine attitude, you’ll walk away tapping yourself on the shoulder for not dislocating theirs.
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