How Should You Act if You Run Into Your Ex-Boyfriend's Best Friend?

Ease any social awkwardness by discussing something you have in common.
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Post-breakup, you've almost managed to put your ex-boyfriend out of your mind. Running into his best friend while you're out and about getting your groove back wasn't what you had in mind. However, now that the situation has presented itself, you might as well make the best of it. Shine your sparkling smile and make a bit of small talk, and you'll soon be on your way.

1 Don't Worry, Be Happy

It's likely that your ex will hear about the encounter from his friend, so unless you have completely detached yourself from any concern about his opinion, you'll want the report to be a good one. Pull your shoulders back and project a happy attitude. After all, you don't want the friend to bear tales of your despondency. Hopefully, you've been employing a few post breakup strategies such as developing your own interests and taking time each day to nurture yourself so that your happiness is genuine.

2 Talk About Commonalities

Socially awkward conditions arise whenever people don't know the rules for a given encounter, says cognitive neuroscientist and writer Christian Jarrett on the British Psychological Society's "Research Digest" blog. On the other hand, they are mitigated whenever people are able to share common interests with one another. For example, to get past the initial awkwardness of seeing your ex's best buddy, ask him if he's gone kayaking lately and tell him about the new rental place that just opened up on your favorite lake. Humor, positivity and helpfulness will also help to ease any uncomfortable feelings.

3 Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Address the elephant in the room by asking the friend how your ex has been doing lately. Don't ask for every detail of his life, however. You don't want to know that he's been enjoying dating that girl in your dorm you were always jealous of or that he's thrilled to be living the unattached life of a bachelor. Instead, ask his friend if his buddy is enjoying the new university he is attending or if his broken wrist has finally healed. Then give a short response of "Glad to hear it," or "I hope he gets better soon" and move on.

4 After the Encounter

Resist the urge to use the encounter as an excuse to contact your ex. While you might be itching to dial him up and say, "Sam told me you got accepted to Princeton. That's wonderful!" doing so is not a good idea, according to psychology researcher Samantha Joel on the "Psychology Today" website. Calling your ex can lengthen the amount of time it takes you to get over your attachment, so after running into his friend, deliberately focus your attention elsewhere.

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.