As a recently single person, your worst nightmare is seeing your most recent ex.
The break up process wasn't exactly fun, and then there was the anger and bitterness that ensued. Plus, there was that Netflix and ice cream binge you're still trying to bounce back from.
You finally get over the past, but then run into your ex unexpectedly. These occurrences are inevitable and awkward. And unfortunately, there's usually no way around it.
What adds to the stress is when you're still single and you see them with their new date. You'll start “comparing yourself to their date and can't help but wonder, what if?” says Simona Fusco, Founder & CEO of Perfect 12 Introductions.
Regardless how recent the break up was or how hostile it was, you should be prepared when this inevitable meeting happens.
If there's any good news in this situation, it's that you aren't alone. Your ex is feeling the same way and is probably nervous as hell to see you, too.
Fusco says to follow the tried and true mantra of staying cool, calm and collected. Instead of panicking, follow these simple steps to remain cool in the moment.
1. Use physical contact sparingly.
A kiss on the cheek or warm embrace can be too intimate, but a shake of the hand is too formal, so what do you do? Try a polite smile and nod.
Read their body language, mimic it and acknowledge their presence.
2. Acknowledge the awkwardness.
Acknowledging the awkwardness of the situation will bring levity to the encounter and make both sides feel more at ease.
Go ahead and say what you're both thinking. "Well, this is awkward," can be a great ice breaker.
It will take the edge off you so you can engage in a lighthearted conversation.
3. Keep your anxiety in check.
Don't break down and “cry or babble about how much you've missed them,” says Fusco.
Be cordial and keep the conversation light -- no need to hash out every detail of your relationship right there and then.
4. Don't brag or act petty.
Revenge comes from insecurity. Being humble about how you're doing makes a bigger statement than bragging.
Inevitably, you will be asked how you're doing. The worst thing you can do is go on about how much you've grown since being freed from the relationship.
5. Stay in the present.
Don't bring up the past as that will only drum up memories and feelings that shouldn't be addressed during a quick conversation.
You don't want to “subtly imply culpability and for things that happened while you were together and place unnecessary guilt on the other person,” says Fusco.
6. Maintain boundaries.
You aren't together anymore so don't become an investigator and start digging up information. They don't owe you any information or explanation.
You are not a part of their lives anymore, so there's no need to dig for details. There is no longer a circle of trust between you two, so leave it that way.
7. End the conversation when appropriate.
After the pleasantries are out of the way, take that as your sign to get out of there.
End the conversation with something simple like, "It was great to see you."
Bumping into an ex is a delicate and awkward situation, so keep these things in mind, so you don't sweat your way through it.