It’s only natural to date someone in your circle of friends. But what happens when the relationship ends? How do you handle the next pool party or skiing invitation from your buddies, when you know he’ll be there, too? Whether you part on decent terms or really really bad ones, it’s going to get awkward. If you want to keep your friends, however, you’ll need to figure out a way to get along with your ex. After the jump, eight tips for getting along with an ex in your circle of friends.
- Know Thyself. Do you still have feelings for your ex, or are you making up a voodoo doll right now? Do you want to preserve the friendship, or get back together? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you decide how to act around your ex, or how far to stay away. And if just the sight of him causes you to burst into angry tears, it’s best to bow out of the next few parties.
- Safety In Numbers — And Distance. It’s a lot easier to deal with an ex who’s way across a crowded room than it is to share a hot tub with him. Say yes to the invitations for movie nights, parties, and going to see your favorite team play. Opt out of smaller, more intimate gatherings.
- Take The High Road. Say hello and be polite to your ex. Don’t dredge up an old argument in the middle of a game of charades. If he’s being a jerk, get yourself to the other end of the bar. Don’t take the bait–let him be the one to alienate his friends.
- Keep It Simple. If you’re going to talk to your ex at the next get-together, keep it short and sweet. You can steer the conversation toward the movie you all just saw, or politely ask about his latest work project or band gig. Bow out gracefully after a few minutes to mingle with others, before you inadvertently land on sticky subjects. Maintaining civility keeps the door open for a future friendship, and really works in your favor if you decide to get back together.
- Don’t Go There. Refrain from flirting with or touching your ex. Things can get awkward really fast, and you’ll end up embarrassed and ashamed. If you know you could lose control after that third glass of wine, order a Coke and save the partying for when your ex isn’t around.
- You’re Not On A Reality Show. There’s always the possibility your ex will show up with another girl. Even if you’re Hulking out in a jealous rage on the inside, stay calm on the outside. Don’t stare down his date, mock her, or tell her embarrassing stories about your ex. We won’t even get into hair-pulling or first fights. It might feel good at the moment, but your friends will think you’re petty and/or insane.
- Have Some Dignity. If a hot guy starts hitting on you at a party, by all means enjoy yourself. But don’t go draping yourself over the nearest warm body just to make your ex jealous. It’s cruel to that anonymous dude you’re using, and you’ll look more desperate than desirable.
- Don’t Put Your Friends In The Middle. It’s fine to set up some ex-free nights with your friends, but you’ll have to suck it up for any important engagements. If you’re both standing up in a friend’s wedding, don’t dare threaten the bride and groom with an “it’s him or me” declaration. That makes you a crappy friend, and you might end up with a bridesmaid dress you won’t even get to wear once.