Things weren't right with your girlfriend or boyfriend, so you broke up. But you still care about them and want to be friends. Sometimes this is possible. Here are some tips on how to be friends with your ex.
Time Required: A lot of time and patience
- Make sure you're over them. Even if you're going to be the best of friends, you both still need some time to collect yourself after breaking up.
- Make sure your intentions are good. Being "friends" with an ex just to torment them or to prevent them from dating other people doesn't help anyone in the long run. In fact, it makes you look really bad.
- Check in on them. Send a friendly text message or call them on their birthday. Ask them how things are going. Find out what's new in their life and how they've changed since you dated. Be supportive of their individuality.
- Let them know that you feel positive about them as a person and that you'd like to be friends with them -- real friends. If you were there for them as a girlfriend or boyfriend, you can be there for them as a friend, too.
- Tell them that you think they're great and that, for the most part, you wouldn't change a thing about them. (Well, unless they're doing something really mean or stupid.) An ego boost can help mend some of the leftover wounds from the breakup.
- Avoid sexual and romantic topics -- and the temptation to flirt -- especially when you're starting the friendship. This can be tricky if you have been involved with someone romantically, but you can do it if you stay focused. You don't want to lead the other person on, and you certainly don't want them to lead you on either.
- At first, keep your conversations and meetings short and, if possible, fun. Remind them just how great you are to hang out with. However, set limits for how often you'll talk to them and hang out with them.
- Keep working toward your own goals. Don't fall back into negative old patterns from the relationship. Develop your own interests and encourage your ex to do the same.
- If your ex doesn't seem interested in a friendship, you need to respect their wishes. It may be a possibility in the future, but for now, focus on your other friends.
- Also, if your ex is not treating you with the same respect you expect of any other friend, it's not a good time to pursue a friendship with them.
- Tell a good friend about your efforts to be friends with your ex and ask them to look out for you. (Hopefully you won't need to ask!)
- Be friendly, kind and consistent with your ex. Remind them often that you're glad they're a part of your life.
- Don't blow them off to hang out with your new crush. In general, be aware that they might still be feeling a bit sensitive about some aspect of the breakup and feel weird about you seeing other people.
- It's quite possible that your ex may not be up for a friendship. Be forgiving and move on if this is the case.