Every Tuesday, we ask people from Team Wingman & Twitter what they would like me to talk about. It could be a general topic or a direct question. I’ll choose the best one and later that day, I’ll write something and give tips addressing that topic or question.
This week's question: How can you be friends with your ex?
Here's the thing about breakups. They suck. But in some of them, you do split up somewhat amicably and would like to retain the friendship to an extent. It's completely possible. In fact, one of my interns this summer went through the same thing. I gave her a few steps and now she's on her way to building a solid friendship with her ex.
Here are the steps you should take if you're looking to be friends with your ex:
1. Spend as much time as possible completely apart. This is the most important thing because you have to know what life is like without them to really understand not only yourself but also what you are looking for when it comes to restarting this friendship. I would go as far as not even talking / contacting them for as long as it's necessary to get over them and the breakup.
Many wounds occur with a breakup and if you don't take enough time to make them heal, those wounds will open back up and create scars that won't. If you're looking for a friendship with this person, you don't want to do this.
2. Slowly integrate them back into your life. You don't want to go from not talking to them to hanging out all the time. Going from one extreme to the other is not healthy. The best way to start out is if the two of you have mutual friends, hang out with them in each other's company.
If things are weird you can always go back to your friends for support and comfort. If things go well, then you can transition to hanging out with just to two you over time -- if you want things to go that far.
3. Don't bring up sensitive discussions early on. Do your best to avoid conversations about dating, relationships and things that are more personal. You two aren't at that intimate level anymore and just because they're the person that knows you the best, that doesn't mean you should continue to share everything with them. Use judgment when bringing up topics. Keep them fun, light and interesting.
If you don't, it can become very uncomfortable quickly.
4. Don't be alone with them in intimate environments. Hanging out at the scene of your first date may not be the best idea. Neither would inviting them to your bedroom. Use your best judgment and if you feel like whatever you're doing could be seen as a date, do something else or go somewhere different.
Remember, all of these things take time so be patient in the process as you two are getting involved in each other's lives again on a different level. More importantly, make sure the two of you are on the same page and going the same pace.
It's enough of a fragile thing. You don't want to make a mistake that could ruin the very friendship that brought you two together to begin with.