Most of us have been there: We unexpectedly run into an ex boyfriend or girlfriend in a public place -- be it the grocery store, gym, or dry cleaners.
It can be hard figuring out what to do in such an awkward situation. Some people feel the urge to say "hi" and then go about their business, while others might feel compelled to ignore the person completely.
I once ran into an ex girlfriend inside the library of a local college. I felt the need to be courteous, so I said "hello" and proceeded to sit at a table to catch up on my reading.
I think most people in this situation would want to be polite, but they'd stop short of actually engaging the ex girlfriend or boyfriend in conversation. People might be afraid, and reasonably so, that chatting the person up might send the wrong signals, like a desire to be friends, or, worse -- to get back together!
My recommendation is simple:
Either greet the person, or pretend you didn't see your ex and just keep walking.
Resist the temptation to argue with your ex about the breakup. Seeing your ex with a new love interest may add even more fuel to the fire, but it'd be unwise to begin hurling obscenities at him or her in a public place. If you must, pull your ex aside and talk in private. And if he or she tries to sell you on getting back together, kindly remind your ex that you've moved on.
Remember that your ex boyfriend or girlfriend was once someone you imagined spending your entire life with. As hard as it can be, both people still need to respect one another -- if not as partners or friends, then as human beings.
If you bumped into your ex, how would you feel and what would you do?
To catch up on older posts on this blog, click here: How to Understand People