By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
What to do when you run into your ex and hiding isn't an option
Here are 10 things you can do to handle an awkward encounters like a boss. - photo by Melinda Fox
Oh crap.

You made eye contact. There's no avoiding it now. He's walking towards you, and you have nowhere to run. Why didn't you sign up for that apparating class when you were at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Disappearing would definitely be the best option at this point.

But don't fear. Here are 10 things you can do to smoothly survive an encounter with the dreaded ex.

Have a plan

Unless you moved to Ecuador and never returned (but even then), the chances of running into your ex are too high for you to not have an emergency plan in your back pocket. Imagine how you want this encounter to go. What will make you feel good about yourself after the encounter? Know what you're going to say and do so that in the moment you can play it out with no regrets.

Schedule a meeting

If you know you're going to run into each other eventually (i.e. you have the same friends, work in the same building, etc.), schedule a meeting so that seeing them doesn't catch you off guard.

Avoid physical contact

It can be hard to know how to handle physical contact with someone you used to be intimate with. Avoid the awkward hugging or strange handshaking by choosing not to touch them at all.

Remember the bad

No relationship is all sunshine and rainbows with frolicking bunny rabbits. There were reasons you broke up. Remember those so that you don't get caught romanticizing the good parts of your relationship.

Admit that it's awkward

If it's awkward, you can say it. It will feel good to break the ice. Just make sure you maintain a level of confidence when you do it.

Don't brag

Going off about your amazing new boyfriend is, or how fantastic you're doing at work conveys insecurity instead of confidence. You have nothing to prove to them.

Keep it impersonal

There was a time when this person knew the depths of your soul, but that time is not now. Keep your conversation surface level so that you don't appear too invested in this encounter or dredge up unwanted feelings.

Don't lie

Avoiding dishonesty is simple life advice but it needs to be mentioned here nonetheless. When you get with an ex, it can be so tempting to exaggerate, and let's be real, they'll see through it.

Take the high road

Be the better person. It can be challenging because sometimes they can bring out the worst in you, or just make you want to get back at them. But really, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing you took the high road.

Keep it short

By no means should you let the ex persuade you to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on life. Where is that going to go? Nowhere good. Keep this encounter quick and snappy. Even a vague excuse is better than continuing to chat it up for longer than necessary.


Even if you're totally over your ex, even if you've moved on to another relationship, you still may have some emotional baggage as a result of your encounter with the ex. Give yourself a little "me time" if you need. Call a friend, eat a chocolate eclair. You do you, my friend.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters