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Dear Dish-It: Can I Be Friends With My Ex?

Dear Dish-It,

I was dating my best friend for about a week when she said I was too much like a brother to her and got her friend to dump me for her over the phone. The next day she asked one of my closest friends out. Now she barely talks to me – she won’t even sign the cast I had to have put on my hand! I’m trying to make things go back to normal but it doesn’t seem to be working. What should I do?


Dear Broken,

It seems like what you’re asking me is how to stay friends with your ex-girlfriend – something that isn’t always possible. Here are some tips you can try in order to be friends with an ex.

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 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 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.

More tips:

  • 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.

  • So, ya gotta burnin' question? Need some love directions? Thinkin' 'bout stuff like depression, sex,how ya feel 'bout YOURSELF (that's called "self-esteem"), boyfriends, girlfriends, losin' old friends, bullyin' or peer pressure, but too scared to ask the parents? Don't be scared to Dish-It here. Send all of your questions to deardish@kidzworld.com But 'member, if ya hang out in Chat with other Kidzworld members who know ya by your 'username', ya might wanna use a secret nickname when ya write in. That way no one'll ever know it's you. And, just in case ya don't know, Dish-It gets a lotta letters everyday, and she can't answer 'em all. So keep checkin' the column cuz she's prob'ly answerin' somethin' very similar to your question while you're out doin' somethin' else. K? And Thanks! Ya keep her outta trouble. Oh! And if ya've got words of wisdom you wanna share,We'll dish 'em up, too.

    More Dish-It Advice:

  • It Really Hurt My Friend
  • How Do I Know If He Likes Me?
  • My BFF’s Ex Likes Me
  • I Cry Over Him
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