How to tackle the awkwardness of bumping into an ex?
March 24, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Help me deal with the awkwardness of seeing my ex probably tomorrow.

We dated last year for about a month, it ended with her ignoring me (a kind of slow-fade break up) but a couple of months after that we started to chat from time to time like "friends", until we had a conversation about what happened where I expressed that I would like to get back with her but it ended in a awkward way resulting in no contact between us whatsover.

Until today, where I saw her at the library I always go to (we don't live in the same city that's why we've never met this year). There was no bump-into but I'm pretty sure she saw me.
I should also mention that I deleted her from Facebook during the later period when we stopped talking in order to forget anything that has to do with her, and that she deactivated her Facebook account before that so I'm not sure she knows that I deleted her.

What should I do if I bump into her tomorow? (very likely).
posted by Attozes to Human Relations (16 answers total)
Be polite, exchange pleasantries, and don't linger.
posted by joelhunt at 1:05 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Hi. Hope you're well. Good to see you. Have a great day."

The end.

It'll be awkward because this is awkward. But you'll get through it.
posted by inturnaround at 1:09 PM on March 24, 2014 [8 favorites]

You only dated for a month? You've overthinking this.
posted by Melismata at 1:10 PM on March 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

You only dated for a month? You've overthinking this.

That's unfair. How you feel about somebody isn't about how much time you've logged.

Having said that, I agree that the best thing to do is to wish them well, excuse yourself graciously, and find somewhere to be unobtrusive.
posted by mhoye at 1:13 PM on March 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

For a month a year ago, and then she went no contact when you said you wanted to get back together? Smile, wave. Don't chat. For your mental health as much as the awkward-avoidance.
posted by supercres at 1:14 PM on March 24, 2014 [15 favorites]

If you wind up in a conversation, make sure you're civil to them. Say you're glad they're doing well, but don't say you're glad to see them. And try to be the one who ends the conversation.
posted by alphanerd at 1:18 PM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by xbonesgt at 1:21 PM on March 24, 2014

Don't try to chat. Move along and nod or smile if it's clear that you can't avoid acknowledging her without being rude. If you must say something, make it, "Hi, I hope you're well. Bye!" No questions, no chatting, keep it moving.
posted by quince at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you see her (and she sees you) from a distance, a smile, a head nod and a little wave is sufficient, especially in a library. You do not have to approach her and make conversation.

If you see her at close range, "Hi." or "Hello there." If she continues the conversation, you may continue it politely, if you wish. If you want to end the conversation, "Well, take care. Nice to see you." is a good clue to drop. You could also find something else that you have to do if you want to extricate yourself. "Well, I've got to go (do X thing), but it was nice to see you."
posted by Rock Steady at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Be with a friend or a date. For real. Best way to do it.

Or just say, "Hi, how are things? Gotta go!"

I think ignoring an ex just makes things weirder. Treat her like a regular acquaintance.
posted by quincunx at 1:34 PM on March 24, 2014

If she's the one who decided to go no contact, I'd allow her to talk or wave first. Don't avoid her, but don't make her feel that she has to respond.
posted by Solomon at 1:35 PM on March 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Hey, Stephanie! I didn't know you were in town."

"Yeah, I'm up for the week from Portland for this thing. How's it going?"

"Oh, you know, keeping busy. Picking up some library books. Like you do. On a Tuesday. So, see you around I guess. Good luck with your thing!"

And scene.
posted by Sara C. at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2014

In awkward situations like that, I just give the ole chin check and smile and keep moving. Sometimes I'll say, "Hey," and smile, just to acknowledge the person's presence and to let them know there are no hard feelings, but the most important part is to keep moving. Keep walking like you've got somewhere to go and that allows you to avoid any awkward conversations.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 1:39 PM on March 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Chin jut, "s'up", keep on truckin'.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2014

Be courteous, as you would with someone you took a class with at some point. "Hello," brief smile, continue with whatever you're doing. One great thing about smartphones, you can always pull it out to see a non-existent new message, check your calendar, etc.

How do you deal with feeling that 'band-aid being ripped off' feeling all over again? Remind yourself you deserve someone who will communicate with you, who values you, because it's true.
posted by theora55 at 2:15 PM on March 24, 2014

Be ready -- rehearse out loud, in front of a mirror. You don't know if she'll be across the room, or if she'll walk right up to you, or she'll end up face-to face with you by accident. Be ready for any of these. Keep it brief, and be polite. You don't have to be cool or prove to her that you're fine without her. Visualize different scenarios beforehand.

I completely understand why you might find it awkward and uncomfortable. That's normal. In the moment you might momentarily freeze or fumble if she takes you by surprise. I know that preparing ahead of time may seem excessive, but if it helps you relax, it's worth it.
posted by wryly at 2:23 PM on March 24, 2014

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