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Ladies, it’s time for some real talk. Whether you’ve just gone through a painful AF breakup or your ex hasn’t talked to you since high school, there’s a strong-willed part of you that refuses to let go. You keep up with their life through social media stalking and mutual friends, and frankly, if given the opportunity to be friends with them (or even date them again), you would do it in a heartbeat.

The struggle is that breakups are usually necessary and happen for good reason, but letting go of that person feels like someone close to you has died. Worse? Breakups build up resentment, and it’s likely that this ex you want to reconnect with doesn’t even speak to you anymore. They went from bae to radio silence, and you just can’t deal.

Communication is the best way to rekindle contact with your ex, but it could also totally sabotage you. If your ex wants nothing to do with you, then trying to talk to them again may come off as irritating or even creepy. Our job is to help you start that relationship up again without letting you come off like a crazy person. Here are some totally chill tips for the women who want to reconnect with their ex again.

1. Apologize

It’s never too late to say sorry, and if you totally screwed up your relationship, then your ex will probably feel gratitude and closure hearing a whole-hearted apology. Keep it short, sweet and totally honest.

Olivia Shaw, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shares a personal apology story. “One time I wanted to check in on my ex and see if he wanted to get breakfast or catch up, but I knew he’d never agree to that because I’d like traumatized him from being a difficult girlfriend,” she says. “Even though it killed my ego I sent him a long letter apologizing for the way I had been and told him that I wanted to make it up to him by being better a girlfriend. I know he was skeptical at first and didn’t trust me, but apologizing softened the situation.”

Apologizing is a meaningful segue into more conversation. It lets your ex know you’re still emotionally concerned for them and that they can trust you to be better than before.  You want them to know that you’ve evolved to become a better person since your breakup however long ago. Remember to be gentle, but from here you can keep up phone contact or even spend time together in person.

Related: A Letter to the Boy I Tried to Change

2. Send a friendly text

Sending a friendly text is the easiest, most non-threatening way to get your ex talking to you again. Btw, the key word here is “friend.” If you approach the situation as a friends, they’ll let their guard down instead of thinking you’re trying to seduce them back into a relationship—even if dating them is your end goal. All that messy talk about how life was when you dated should stay in the past 100 percent, and starting from scratch as friends is going to make both of you way happier. Make sure to emphasize that you understand why your relationships ended and how you respect the decision to breakup, but that you don’t want to cut off all contact completely because they’re still significant to you.

Try saying something like, “Hey! I ran into our friend the other day and she said you’ve recently accomplished something cool. I’m happy you’re doing well, and maybe we can talk sometime and catch up?”

If your ex doesn’t answer, avoid text spamming them at all costs. Women hold grudges and men are stubborn, so sometimes results take time. Desperation is such a turn-off, and just because your ex isn’t ready to answer right now doesn’t mean you’ll never talk to them. It’s all about mastering the art of chill.

3. Meet for coffee

Once you’ve sent that ~casual~ text and feel okay interacting like functioning humans, then ask your ex for some time in person. Coffee always works! But maintaining a level head during your conversation is extremely important to keep them coming back.

When you hang out with your friends you’re probably not looking at them in tears, desperately trying to convince them how much you love them—you’re talking about what show you’re bingeing on Netflix and freaking out about the cute dog you saw the other day. If you want to reconnect with your ex, then it’s time to cut the drama and not speak to them like you’re in a soap opera.

“Emotional distance is a beautiful thing,” says Taly Newton, a senior at Biola University. “In my experience guys never want you as a friend or girlfriend if you’re hysterical or can’t have a cool conversation without bringing up past mistakes you had or forcing a relationship again, and I’ve made that mistake obviously.”

Moral of the story: If your ex actually agrees to meet you in person, don’t mess it up by going in with an ulterior motive. Treat it like any other coffee or dinner date and they’ll be sure to hang out with you again.

4. Get help from your mutual friends

Depending on how long ago you and your ex dated, the two of you might still be running in the same social circle. Mutual friends are going to be a huge advantage when it comes to repairing friendship or romance, so find time to talk to your bestie about setting up a group hangout and nonchalantly inviting your ex.

Olivia has more successful advice to share about meeting up with exes. “Hanging out with your ex especially if your friends are there creates a non-threatening environment, because then the guy knows he’s not being trapped in an uncomfortable situation and can also make simple conversation with you without a lot of pressure or tension,” she says. “Honestly, that’s my favorite way of getting my exes to talk to me again is a night out with friends.”

Your friends can also spread positive word of mouth about how happy you are and how you’ve totally move on from the breakup. Even better, they may be able to reassure your ex that it’s totally fine to spend time alone with you and work on rekindling friendship.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Gossip About Your Ex

5. Find a jumping off point

If you’ve exhausted all your options, then you’re probably sitting there thinking “How am I supposed to get my ex to talk to me again when I acted like a crazy person and definitely scared him away?”

Out-of-the-blue contact is weird no matter what, so don’t make up a strange reason to contact them unless you really have one. However, if you have a reasonable excuse to text them asking about a restaurant name you forgot or talking about something cool that happened to a mutual friend, then go for it! It’s a smart way to feel out how responsive your ex is going to be and whether you should keep trying to talk to them or not.

No matter your situation, reconnecting with your ex is weird, and it’s way too easy to sabotage yourself and send them running for the hills. Think about how you would feel if the position were reversed and what would make you comfortable. Note to self: If you think your ex knocking on your door in the middle of the night is crazy, then you probably shouldn’t do that to them.

If trying to reconnect with your ex doesn’t work, then boy, bye. It may take time to get over the rejection, but know that however nasty your breakup was, you’re absolutely capable of loving friendships and romantic relationships.

Gina was formerly the Beauty & Culture Editor at Her Campus, where she oversaw content and strategy for the site's key verticals. She was also the person behind @HerCampusBeauty, and all those other glowy selfies you faved. She got her start in digital media as a Campus Correspondent at HC Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she graduated in 2017 with degrees in English and Theater. Now, Gina is an LA-based writer and editor, and you can regularly find her wearing a face mask in bed and scrolling through TikTok.