Like the song says, breaking up is hard to do. With some time and distance though, we're (hopefully) able to get some perspective on the whole situation, why it ended, what we learned, and what we'll do differently next time. Sometimes though, our progress can get interrupted by the dreaded ex-sighting. Just when you've started to feel like you're moving on with your life, you see them, and a flood of emotion and memories come back taking you completely off-guard. And with all this emotion swirling around, it's certainly not easy to think clearly about how this could be the perfect test/opportunity to see just how far you've come. So like any test in life, it's good to prepare a little bit beforehand...
Tips for Running Into Your Ex
1. Take a deep breath.
This is not the end of the world, so try not to overreact. It can be jarring however, so if you need to duck into the washroom and take a second to compose yourself, do so.
2. Don't feel you have to talk to them.
Especially in the case of a bad break-up where talking to them again will be emotionally detrimental to you, just walk away. This will be all that much easier if they don't see you.
3. If you can't avoid talking to them, be pleasant.
Try to be the bigger person here, you'll be so proud of yourself after the fact that you handled the situation with grace and composure. Your relationship is over, so there's no need to try to make them feel bad, even if you still have residue anger or resentment.
4. Keep it short and impersonal.
The run-in is no time to delve into your past history, especially if you're not over them yet. It's best at this point to step away and sort through your feelings without getting too affected by being around your ex again. You also don't want to risk kidding yourself into thinking you should get back together, something you'll surely regret later. The longer amount of time you spend with them, the more confused you'll be become.
5. Don't overcompensate.
Don't feel the need to brag or lie about your life, the people you're dating etc. - you'll come off as desperate. They don't need to know much about your life, except that you're doing great, you're surprised to see them, and you're emotionally stable (even if you feel like screaming inside). The less information you share the better - they are not a part of your life anymore.
6. Try to honour the good times, but don't forget why you broke up.
It's up to us as individuals to figure out what lessons we can take from a relationship, what our personal responsibility was in its ending and what we can do better next time. Remember it's never a failure if self-improvement comes out of it!