How to Deal With Running Into Your Exes (& Former Hook-Up Buddies) On Campus

We collegiettes™ are excited about going back to school: sorority rush, cute freshman boys to corrupt and classes we, as of now, have a chance to get A’s in. What we’re not so excited about? Our ex-boyfriends/hook-ups/crushes/one-night stands/DFMOs. If they’re still on campus, they’re a problem. What’s a girl to do?  Tristan Coopersmith, relationship guru and love stylist who’s been featured in Glamour and Elle, weighs in with his tips. See below for how to handle interactions with all the ex-lovers imaginable.
The Ex-Boyfriend
So you guys dated seriously or for at least a good amount of time. There are probably places that are going to make you feel sad and sappy when you pass by them: his fraternity house, the table you always shared at the dining hall, the tree you carved your initials into (okay, let’s hope you all haven’t made my mistakes). Instead of avoiding these places altogether (your campus is probably small enough!), mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that you may see your ex there or at other spots on campus. And if you do? Smile, wave and, if it seems appropriate, stop to talk for a brief minute. Unfortunately, this is what we, if we want to be considered adults, must do.
Coopersmith’s main advice is to avoid engaging for a long period of time. “Keep any interaction really short, no more than a couple of minutes,” she says. “Don’t ask if he’s seeing anyone else; don’t ask, ‘How’s your mom?’ You want to avoid going to that ‘I miss you’ place. Don’t emote.

And whatever you do, when you see him, DO NOT:

  • Pretend you didn’t see him and immediately look down at your phone
  • Start crying
  • Tell the friends who are with you to shoot him dirty looks
  • Use any language stronger than, “Hi, how are you?”

No one wants to be known as the girl who loses it in public. This is especially important if you see him out at night. If you’ve been drinking, go into the bathroom and compose yourself if you must. And don’t BBM or text him later asking, “why didn’t you say hi to me???” or, “do you hate me??” None of these will be fun to see in your phone history the next morning.
The Ex You Ended it With
This isn’t He’s Just Not That Into You, and we’re not the only ones getting dumped. Sometimes, you end things with a guy who’s still trying to get with you or still has feelings for you. I know – shocking, right? Occasionally, we’re over it before they are. If you’re in this situation, the important thing to remember is to treat him the way you would want to be treated if you’d been dumped.
Coopersmith’s advice? Don’t brag and don’t try to show him you’re doing “so much better.” “Make sure that you’re not acting – it’s transparent,” Coopersmith says. “Don’t blab on and on that you went to this party, have this internship lined up and are thinking about traveling to Ghana this summer. And don’t make stuff up! If he asks you what you’re doing for spring break and you’re not doing anything, then say you’re not doing anything. Don’t make up that you’re going to Tahiti with your girlfriends.”


Allie Jones is an English and American Studies double major at the College of William and Mary.  She's interned at W magazine and is currently the Senior News Editor at The Virginia Informer.  When she’s not chatting up colonial impersonators in Williamsburg, Allie drinks too much black coffee and thinks about going to the gym. She enjoys singing for her friends and planning parties for her chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Allie looks up to Liz Lemon, Carrie Bradshaw and Jon Stewart; 2 ½ of which, she realizes, are fictional characters. 

You can find out more about the high-brow television programs she watches over at her Twitter, @allierileyjones.

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