6 Steps To Take When Your Ex Wants To Be Friends
The one thing that you have dreaded has actually just happened: Your ex wants to be friends, and added you on Facebook. After one glance of the notification, your whole relationship flashed before your eyes, and you start to ponder what your next step should be. I mean, there is a reason why you guys aren't together anymore. Do you want to step inside that rabbit hole again? Do you want to see if they are dating someone new? Did a Taylor Swift song just appear? Whatever the case may be, this isn't a light subject. This person was in your life (and probably knew you very well) for a good while, and now that the time has finally healed, he or she makes the assumption that it's OK to be friends. But, should it ever be a good idea to be friends with your ex?
There is always a reason why someone comes into your life. They will influence or change you for the better (hopefully) and sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad. Although not everyone has had the luxury of having an easy breakup, there are a few relationships where it's easier because both realized they are better off as friends. Needless to say, it's never an easy transition, and if it was, then maybe you weren't really in love with that person in the first place. It's a hard reality to face, but in the end, you need to do what's best for you. Here are five some steps to take when you are making this tough decision.
1. Whatever You Do, Don't Panic
You're mind might wonder why they are getting back in touch with you: Do they want to get back together? Whether it's true or not, try and stay calm, unless you are feeling uneasiness during that time. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology found that when participants saw pictures of their exes, it signaled activity in the same part of the brain that was closely related to experiencing physical pain. Essentially, your brain is letting you know that this breakup was truly hurtful. And if that is the case, whatever you do, don't make drastic decisions. Take a minute to yourself and think about the below question before you respond to your ex. It's been a long time since they have last spoken to you, at least they can do is wait another 20 minutes.
2. Think About If You Want That Person Back In Your Life & Why
It may seem like a dumb question, but what would happen if that person came back into your life? Will feelings come back, or will you have regret? Do you want them to know what you have been up to? Or are you just being nosy? Ultimately, this "friendship" should never be a distraction to what you have going on. If you think they are going to make your life a living hell, then don't do it. Sometimes relationships are supposed to be like ships and sail away into the sea. But if you truly miss that person for other reasons, and you want to catch up, then take that baby step. Maybe a quick conversation will be good to see how they are doing, but end it after that. Unless, you were truly satisfied in your relationship, which then maybe, you guys can be friends. According to a 2010 study from the Social Psychology, if you were very happy in your relationship before it ended, then you are more likely to remain friends, afterwards. If you feel you can emotionally handle that, then it's okay to do so. But be honest with yourself. You are only hurting yourself if you can't be true to your own feelings.
3. Take Note Of Any Current Relationships
No matter how cool your current partner is, it's definitely something you need to discuss with them. Even if you are thinking of having a harmless conversation with your ex, it's always a good idea to be honest with your partner about it. When my ex contacted me to be friends again, I knew I needed to tell my current boyfriend. Even though he is pretty relaxed about those situations, in the end, I knew he would have appreciated that I informed him. Communication is everything and I didn't want to break his trust. Basically, just think of it like this: How would you feel if your partner were in your shoes? Would you want to know if they talked to their ex and thinking about being friends? If the answer is yes, then this is a conversation you definitely need to have.
4. Respect The Ex's Boundaries
If you are thinking of being friends with your ex, there are just some subjects that are too taboo to talk about. When I decided to casually talk to my ex, I was fine with talking about our careers and family, but I knew I had to stop when he would ask about my current relationship and when he admitted to some deeper feelings. It felt like he was pushing my boundaries, and I wasn't comfortable with that. Whatever you do, don't push those subjects, it's never easy to have those awkward conversations with someone you used to deeply care about. If they don't really want to talk to much about their current relationship, or what they are thinking — just don't push it. If their friendship means that much to you, then respect it, bruh.
5. Don't Try To Revisit Old Habits
It may seem simple, but let's be real: You are not in a relationship with this person anymore, which means you can't force them or tell them what to do, either. You can't show up at their house whenever you like, and, please, no flirting. It might feel weird at first, but make sure you are ahead of the game when it comes to your verbal and nonverbal communications. I once tried to be friends with my ex and it was just too soon after the breakup, because once we started to talk regularly, the old sayings and habits started to pour in, and I kept on having to catch myself to not do those things. It ended up hurting me more than I thought. If you feel like it's too hard for you to control, then maybe you need to take a step back and reevaluate this situation before you get any deeper.
6. Remember That It's OK to Say No
Don't ever feel pressured to save face in this situation. Who are you trying to impress? If your ex says they "miss their best friend" or "want to catch up" and you don't feel comfortable with that? Then don't do it. When my ex told me he wanted to be friends with me, I knew it wasn't the right fit for my life at that moment. I kindly responded to his text messages and thanked him for being honest with me when he opened up about his life and why he missed me. But, for my own sanity and lifestyle, I chose not to take that next step. Look, you are a fierce individual who can make decisions for the better good of yourself. However, make sure you do it politely. If they're being respectful and kind to you, there's not reason to not show your ex respect as well.
It can be a really unsettling thing when an ex tries to enter your life again, but it's going to be OK. So take a deep breath, assess what choice is best for you personally, and go forth confidently. You can do it!
Images: Giphy (5); Pexels