After a guy breaks your heart, you remind yourself that you’re a strong, independent woman and that you don’t need that loser anyway. Still, seeing him stroll into your usual brunch spot can be one of the most demoralizing things ever. Here’s how to react when you bump into the guy who screwed you over.
Gauge your reaction based on the last time you two spoke. All breakups suck, especially if you’re the one being dumped/ghosted, but that doesn’t mean that all breakups are equal. Some end more amicably while others encourage you to move across the country to ensure you never have to see him again. Your reaction is going to depend on just how your relationship ended.
Do your best to keep your cool. Say he slept with your sister, said it was your fault, and the last thing you said to him was a string of expletives. No one would blame you if after seeing him again after months or years of trying to emotionally recuperate, your head is about to spin around. But consider where you are. In this restaurant with you could be captains of your industry or your current co-workers and superiors — do you really want to make yourself look unprofessional just to tell him to GTFO one more time? Say it slowly: he’s not worth it.
When you know you’re about to have a full-on freakout, try pretending like he doesn’t even exist. He doesn’t even breathe the same air as you, girl. Focus on your meal, focus on the conversation with your lunch guests, focus on how fabulous you look. Concentrate on anything but him. If he happens to notice you sitting there, loving life and completely unconcerned, it will feel like such a victory.
If being aloof isn’t helping keep a breakdown at bay, get yourself out of there. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re not comfortable in this environment. In fact, it’s a very mature way to handle the situation. Calmly tell the people you’re with that something came up (don’t be afraid to even “get an emergency text”), give some money for the check, and leave gracefully. If they’re friends, be honest with them and they’ll totally understand why you need to get out ASAP.
Should he have the nerve to actually approach you, be cold but polite. There’s no getting over a sleeping-with-your-sister-level breakup, so don’t feel like you need to hug him and be overly friendly. Tell him you hope he’s well and end the conversation. Keep your cool but also take control of the interaction and don’t be afraid to cut it short.
If you had a pretty standard breakup, try being friendly. In the moments leading up to the reunion, remind yourself of all the great things you’ve been doing since you two parted ways — that promotion you got, a new friend you made, a hobby you’ve picked up, or any empowering thing you’ve done for yourself lately. That’ll get you in the right mindset to confront this possibly hurtful memory.
Definitely let him approach you rather than going over to him. It feels like an unspoken rule: whoever ended the relationship should initiate the post-breakup meeting. Take your time to prepare yourself mentally and let him go out of his way to initiate conversation.
If you make eye contact, don’t look away. On the other hand, you shouldn’t shy away from him if you’ve obviously noticed each other. This is kind of an immature move and it’s going to make the situation ten times more awkward. If you guys catch each other’s eye, act as if you’re just noticing him and brace for small talk.
Even if you’ve started talking, don’t feel like you have to hug. Don’t initiate physical interaction if you’re not comfortable. If you’d rather avoid that awkward embrace, keep your hand on your purse or stand a little away from him while you’re talking. You can still be cordial without that dreaded side-hug.
Avoid bringing up current relationships. Your initial reaction might be to rub your newest hookup right in his smug face, but try to avoid yelling, “I’M SEEING SOMEONE NOW.” It’s just going to make you look desperate, which you are not. Instead, remind yourself about the great sex you had last night with that guy from your gym; that confidence will come off as an inescapable vibe more than anything and he’ll pick up on it.
When he asks how you’re doing, tell him about some progress you’ve made in other parts of your life. Rather than start off by bragging about your new guy, tell him about the spin class you’ve been crushing or a project you’re in charge of at work. Showing him that you’ve been growing post-breakup will feel incredible.
Ask him how he’s doing and genuinely listen. Take the time to reciprocate the standard question and ask what’s new in his life. When he tells you about the vacation he took or even the new person he’s seeing, smile and be happy for him. Unless this guy ruined your life (which we’re sure he didn’t because relationships don’t control you), he’s likely a part of your past and someone you used to care for. A crucial component to walking away from this interaction gracefully is actually being interested in his well-being. Don’t worry, you can always bitch about it later with your squad.
Take it upon yourself to end your chat. Once he tells you how he’s been, take control by politely ending the conversation. A nice, “That’s so great to hear! Well, hey, it was so great running into you. Hope you have an awesome weekend!” will do. You get the end the situation like a baller and walk away feeling empowered. You were polite, confident, mature, and obviously thriving without him — if there was a way to “win” this conversation, you just did it.
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