Most of us have had an ex that you still have to see after your break-up. Maybe it’s because you share the same friends, or maybe you just go to a small school and its impossible to avoid them when you’re out in public. Whether it ended amicably or whether it was pretty ugly, seeing your ex in public can be hard and/or awkward at first… and possibly even well after your breakup. Here are some tips for tackling the awkward social situations when you have mutual friends with your ex.

Venting Good. Bitching Bad.

Having the same friends as your ex can be difficult for a number of reasons. For me, it was keeping them from getting thrown in the middle of our madness. In your group there may have been a few people you were closer to than he was, its okay to vent to them. But don’t go overboard with the trashing, it may feel good at the time, but you don’t want to be the girl they avoid because all she does is bitch. If you have some friends that you didn’t share, it’d be best to leave the ‘bitchfest’ for them. But still don’t go overboard. Get it out and let it go. If you share the same group of friends, try to keep your hate-speeches to yourself, and share them with friends who are more partial to you.

Don’t be a Jealous Friend Hog

WARNING: Don’t make your friends feel like they have to choose. As hard as it may be, you need to share your friends. It may sting when you see pictures on Facebook of them hanging out with your ex, because you used to be there with them. But don’t let that turn you into a selfish green-eyed monster. Your friends are not betraying you, they aren’t sitting at the bar talking about you to your ex. And if you really truly believe that they are, maybe its time you get new friends, because there is obviously no trust.

Now the time comes for you all to hang out as a group. Your ex included. So in this scenario lets say you all meet up at your favorite bar hangout. I’m not going to lie, it will be awkward at first but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If you’d rather try to keep from talking to him and getting too close, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but you have to go about it the right way.

Don’t Act Sad in Public

Standing there giving him sad puppy dog eyes is not a good idea for so many reasons. To be blunt, you’ll look pathetic. And yes, people will still notice it even if they don’t say anything to you. If you’re going to avoid him, don’t stare. Period. Second, you may have those people who are going to ask you if you’re okay, and ‘I hope this isn’t awkward for you?’ Sometimes its genuine, however as some of you may already know, sometimes its nosiness. When this happened to me, my response was a shrug, smile, and ‘Not really, I’m just hanging out with all my friends like I always have.’ Then change the subject. Worked for me, because it was true. I was hanging out with a group of friends like I had before I ever dated my ex, and I planned to after we broke up.

Be Yourself

If you’re normally that girl who is chatty and jokes around a lot, don’t stop that. If you’re suddenly all quiet when your friends are used to the girl with the big mouth who says what she wants, you’re going to draw unwanted attention. If you have to, call on your inner actress, and fake it til’ you make it. You want to appear as natural as possible. Nothing is sweeter than the revenge of someone who has moved on.

*Gulp* He talked to you.

You may find that you’re braver than you think and you do fine. Doesn’t even phase you. Props to you girl. However, if you are having a mini-freak out at the thought, totally normal too. Just keep the conversation light, don’t overthink things. If he asks how you’re doing, just kindly respond that you’re good how work has been keeping you busy, etc. Even if its a lie, a night out with all your friends isn’t an appropriate time or place to hash out any lingering issues from your break-up. If for some reason he tries to bring up other things, just calmly and politely let him know that now is not the time. Do not cause a scene, and don’t let him get you upset. If you need to, excuse yourself to get another drink, just don’t go hide in the bathroom for thirty minutes.

The point is that your ex doesn’t have to be the enemy. You don’t have to hide from him or anyone else. You may surprise yourself and realize you are bouncing back better than you thought. Take a deep breath, don’t overthink things. Sometimes when we feel down about something, we forget how strong we are. So put on your little black dress, get a smile on your face, hold your head up high and continue to live your life as the strong woman that you are.