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The Do’s and Don’ts of Becoming Friends With Your Ex

As a self-proclaimed serial dater, I’ve had my fair share of break-ups. And because not every relationship is meant to last forever, a string of relationships means a string of break-ups.

In retrospect, I was not the kindest to my then-boyfriends. I should have treated them better, invested more in our relationships, and afforded them more valid excuses when I eventually broke up with them.

After a while though, I learned my lesson and resolved to treat a significant other they way he deserved to be treated. Sadly, those ‘good’ relationships that I invested in never panned out either, and each came to their own tumultuous end.

So whether I was a terrible girlfriend or a fantastic one, the inevitability of a break-up remained the same, and through these experiences, I’ve become something of a “professional ex,” I like to say. Because no matter where I go, I’m bound to bump into a ex-boyfriend from who-knows-where and who-knows-when. 

Consequently, I feel obligated as a “professional ex” to share the wisdom that I have gained from my experiences – the good and the bad – on how to get on better terms with that former flame.

So from my diary to yours, here are the Do’s and Don’ts of becoming friends with your ex:


Do give him his space to accept what’s happened.


Don’t send him drunk “I’m so sorry” and “Hey, let’s catch up texts.” (It could get really uncomfy really quickly.)

Do get closure in a mature manner by discussing how to move forward as friends.


Don’t express your negative feelings via passive-aggressive Instagrams.


Do tread lightly & respectfully around your mutual friends (They feel just as uncomfortable, if not more, than you).


Don’t hook up with his best friend (let’s just say this is a major don’t).


Do be friendly when you see each other at the library and the gym.


Don’t spend more than two minutes greeting each other at a darty or the bar.


Do continue to follow each other on social media


Don’t troll his Facebook for any new hookups or girlfriends.

Do explore your options and meet new guys.


Don’t rub it in his face.


Do accept the fact that your ex will be seeing new people.


Don’t bash his new girl. Ultimately, you’re only hurting yourself.


Do express your feelings positively (through art, exercise, music, food, etc.)


Don’t write songs, blogs or articles (whoops!) about your ex because apparently ^ some people don’t like others to know about their mistakes).


Following my do’s and don’ts are certainly a jumping off point for getting on good terms with an ex, but ultimately, if they don’t work, perhaps he’s not even worth keeping as a friend. Because if he can’t move past what happened – whether he was in the wrong or not – then he’s not mature enough to maintain your friendship anyway.



*The use of ‘he’ as the pronoun referring to any given ex is not meant to be discriminatory; rather, it was used for brevity’s sake and simply because the author identifies as a heterosexual female. Her Campus UMich acknowledges that this article applies to non-hetereosexual couples, although the pronoun choice may not reflect that, and Her Campus UMich is by no means aiming to discriminate against those who may identify as such.

Photos courtesy of blog.uniwink.com, autumnbench.com, weheartit.com, buzzfeed.com, dylanrosemarvilxo.wordpress.com, gifhuntmaker.tumblr.com, tumblr.com, bustle.com, mic.com, teachmeweb.co, newspapercat.org

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