7 Cringe-Worthy Stories About Running Into Exes That'll Make You Stay Inside Forever

What is the one universally awkward, cosmically misaligned event that feels just like the gods are collectively looking down at you, and sharing a good belly laugh? Ah, running into an ex. It's a mix of genuine intrigue and sheer humiliation, followed by a sea of self-doubt: Did I seem too interested? Too rude? Why did I put on my only sweatshirt with a giant stain this morning? Take comfort in the knowledge that unless you keep in close contact or have maintained a friendship with your ex, this experience is cringe-worthy for absolutely everyone — you are totally the rule, not the exception.

I've had my fair share of uncomfortable run-ins. I live in New York City, which just happens to be where I attended high school and seemingly where everyone I went to college with chose to move post-grad. I actively run into people I forget I once flirted with on the subway. One of my most humiliating encounters involved running into my high school boyfriend at a bar on New Year's Eve, just days after I'd learned that my foot was broken. I was in a full cast, crutching around. Having not anticipated seeing him, I fully face-planted.

Regardless of whether the nostalgic memory of your ex makes you smile, cry, or honestly — vomit, these unbelievably awkward stories are sure to make you giggle.

1. A Reunion To Dye For
fedorovacz / Fotolia

"I recently ran into an ex at a restaurant. We had both just dyed our hair the same exact shade of pink, after having been broken up for two years... it was so awkward. Oh, and he raps."

—Natalie*, 22

The Repeat Offender
santypan / Fotolia

"I broke up with my ex back in high school. After our freshman year of college, she chose to transfer to the same school as me, and literally refused to acknowledge my existence, despite being friends with all the same people and going to the same high school parties. Talk about uncomfortable."

— Jack*, 24

The Long Train Ride Home
Alessandro Biascioli / Fotolia

"I ran into my first boyfriend, who took my virginity during my junior year of high school, after work one summer. We were both taking the [the train] home, and had gone three years without speaking to each other. There were no other seats but the one next to him, so I sat there with him. The entire ride lasted 45 minutes — the longest of my life."

— Emily*, 23

Extra, Just Like The Guac
Wayhome Studio / Fotolia

"I bumped into my ex and her boyfriend on the street, while hungover and dressed in my pajamas, jamming Chipotle in my face. I was with my little brother, who had to speak for me while I chewed and swallowed. I somehow managed a full-mouthed hello and a handshake. Of course, they were looking totally glamorous."

—Ernie*, 23

Coffee Gone Cold
bnenin / Fotolia

"Three years after breaking up with my ex, I ran into him at a farmer's market. He was riding a skateboard, and he gushed to me about how cute I am with my new boyfriend. Then, he asked me get coffee and catch up. I reluctantly said yes. Two days later, I find myself sitting alone in a coffee shop watching the door. He stood me up. Around 3:00 p.m. the same day, he texted me saying that he had just woken up. What a loser!"

—Ingrid*, 23

The Unwanted Follower
mashiki / Fotolia

"Ever since breaking up with the love of my life a few years ago, I have quite literally run into him every few months, like clockwork! It's seriously as if he's following me. Oh, and did I mention his new girlfriend and I share the same name?"

—Kelsey*, 30

The Ultimate Sign-Off
rh2010 / Fotolia

"I once ran into an ex on the same night that I quit my job. We ended up drinking and talking until early in the morning. It was all a little too weird for my liking — especially since he knew I was dating someone else. I'm planning on avoiding that in the future."

—Ruth*, 24

Exes are, in many ways, like fashion trends: They come and go, and sometimes their memory inspires a sense of comfort and nostalgia. But actually running into an ex is more like actually putting on cropped leggings and a denim mini skirt: better left as an old diary entry, in the past.

*Names Have Been Changed.

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