The do's and don'ts of being friends with your ex
The aftermath of a breakup may make it seem that friendship between you and your ex is impossible. There may be too much anger and hurt feelings between you two, or you may fear that starting up a friendship will rekindle your romance. But being friends with an ex *is* possible and can be a great thing.
Sure, you two may have had your difficulties and differences, but you also knew each other better than anyone else and created many special memories together. It’s natural and normal to want to continue being friends with your ex, especially if you see them frequently—hello awkward hall run-ins! Here’s how to *actually* be friends with your ex, no strings attached.
DO think about why you want to be friends
Question your motives! Do it! You need to ask yourself why this friendship is so important to you. If, after taking time alone to grow and move on, you genuinely want to be friends (and just friends), go for it. But if you have ulterior motives, then perhaps being friends isn’t the best idea. Do you want to get back together? Are you hoping that being friends will lead to them falling for you again? It may be best to steer clear of a friendship for the time being. If you both feel that you're ready to be friends, start slow. Go see a movie in a group setting. Meet at Starbucks after school. It's okay to proceed cautiously at first and give you both time to adjust to the shift in your relationship.
DON’T bash their new boo
After your breakup, your ex may have found himself a new bae. And you may hate her and think of her as “your replacement.” You may feel that they’re all sorts of wrong for each other. But c’mon, chica. Ditch the drama and keep your lips sealed. If you’re a true friend, you will be able to be happy for your ex’s happiness. Don’t comment, don’t judge and don’t offer unsolicited advice about their relationship. Similarly, don’t compare yourself to her. You are unique, fabulous and gorgeous. If you’re not ready to be supportive of your ex’s new girl, then perhaps you’re not ready to be friends.
DO remember why you broke up
Spending time with your ex may bring up fond memories and feelings. But don’t fall into the trap of getting back together. There were reasons why you didn’t work out. There were things you didn’t like about your ex. Having trouble remembering those issues? Ask your BFF to jog your memory.
DON’T discuss your relationship
Even though you should keep in mind why the relationship didn’t work out, don’t talk about it with your ex. There’s no reason to bring up bad blood because what’s done is done. There are a million what-ifs or if-onlys that could have led to you two staying together. But you’re here right now in the present situation. Building a solid friendship should be your goal, not bringing up past unpleasant feelings.
DO have independent lives
It may be nice to have your ex back in your life as a friend. You can share inside jokes and hang out with your old squad without any hard feelings or weirdness. But it’s important that you also have your own life separate from your ex, no matter how close you are. Meet new people, try new hobbies, explore new places. Enjoy being single and focus on the things that you love to do. Be proud of being your own person because you are completely and utterly flawless.
DON’T lead them on
This is an especially important “don’t” to remember if you’re the one who called it quits. Don’t say things like, “I love you,” or “I miss you.” Refrain from using nicknames or pet names from when you dated. A friendly hug is okay, but hand-holding, cuddling and kissing are definitely off-limits. Reminiscing should be done in private, not in front of your ex. While it’s nice to feel wanted and needed, don’t lead your ex on just so you can feel good about yourself. They may think you’re having second thoughts or trying to get back together. So don’t flirt. Don’t play with your ex’s emotions if you’re not sure of your own. Keep it casual, keep it civil and keep it chill.
DO be an actual friend
If you’re trying too hard not to blur the lines between friendship and romance, you’re not focusing on being a good friend. Be natural and be yourself. That’s why you two dated and why you became close in the first place. Treat your ex how you treat your other friends—after all, he is your friend. If he’s going through a tough time, offer support and some kind words. Ask about what’s going on in his life and how his classes, extracurriculars, friends and family are. Send him links to funny YouTube videos or songs you enjoy listening to. Being friends with your ex can be super rewarding if, like with all other friendships, you put time and effort into it.
Are you and your ex still friends? Share how you made it work in the comments below.