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How to Handle Running into an Ex

It's bound to happen sooner or later, so you might as well be prepared.


  • Step 1: Don't hide Don't hide or try to slip away unnoticed. It's not worth how silly you'll look if you're caught.
  • Step 2: Make the first move Be the first one to say hello. It will make you look strong and confident if you were dumped, and blameless if you behaved badly. Either way, you'll send the message that you have nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Step 3: Keep it light Keep the conversation light. An unplanned, public encounter is not the time for recriminations.
  • TIP: If your ex asks how you are, quietly answer "gooooooooooooood" as you stare into space with a dreamy, faraway look in your eyes. Their imagination will take care of the rest.
  • Step 4: Acknowledge their date If they're with someone new, be friendly to them. Make a point of complimenting your successor to show that you're not a bit jealous -- even if you are.
  • Step 5: Acknowledge your date If you're the one who's with someone new, make the introductions. Only clarify their relationship to you -- wife, new boyfriend, etc. -- if not doing so will get you in trouble when you get home. Otherwise, first names are all that's required.
  • Step 6: Don't beat yourself up Don't beat yourself up. You may feel bad afterward for any number of reasons -- they looked good, you didn't; they've moved on, you haven't; they did the dumping; you wish you hadn't dumped them. But the relationship did end, and the best thing for you now is to move on.
  • FACT: In a poll of singles, 33 percent of men say they'd date a friend's ex, compared with 20 percent of women.

You Will Need

  • Bravery
  • Poise
  • Politeness
  • Perspective
  • Bravado (optional)

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