We’ve discussed the five triggers guaranteed to make you miss your ex, but there’s nothing quite like seeing his face to take you back to the best—and worst—moments of your relationship in less than a nanosecond. This is the inevitable run-in we all dread. But when it happens, don’t head for the hills. Hold your head high and remember these tips.
1. Remember, you don’t have to interact with him. When a relationship ends badly, you’re under no obligation to continue the trauma with even a casual “hello.” So if he cheated, you broke off an engagement, or suffered worse, do yourself a favor and simply walk away.
2. Don’t try too hard. Is he with a new woman? There’s no need to air-kiss her cheek while dropping the deets about your new dude. Be your happy, confident, cheerful self, but don’t morph into Elle Woods’ energetic clone at the mere sight of him.
3. Realize that he might not be ready to chat. Just because you’re prepared for this impromptu catch-up doesn’t mean your ex is. So steel yourself for the chance that he’ll rebuff you, or worse. Yes, it will sting, but at least you’ll be prepared for his cold shoulder.
4. Steer the conversation in your favor. Table talking about family members, current love affairs, and money—touchy subjects that could hurt you or anger him—and stick to casual chatter about the weather, your upcoming vacation, or the fluffiest news of the day.
5. Remember to KISS: Keep it simple and short. Look for a natural (and quick) way to end the conversation, and part ways on a high note. The longer you draw it out, the more tempting it will be to break tip No. 4 by crossing into touchy territory.
6. Celebrate an encounter well-done. Call up your closest girlfriends for an impromptu meet-up, where you can dish the details of your conversation, how he looked, and who he was with while getting a collective pat on the back for keeping your cool and living through it. This is definitely something to celebrate surviving!