The cemetery of skeletons in our closets all too often become the walking dead. Our harrowing mistakes and memories–our exes and one night stands– lurch through the halls, our classes, the caf, the bars, forever haunting us.
Our natural tendency is to run from them. If you haven’t noticed, in the movies no matter how fast you run from the zombies and other ghouls, you never win. The ones who survive are always the ones who face their fears instead of scurrying off like a child.
On a small campus awkward run-ins become a large problem. Every weekend is not complete without a little “Oh my God! There is my ex” drama. Guys and girls alike get the same shaky reaction. This is college and we are all adults, so this situation must be handled maturely. Whether it was a serious ex, an ambiguous fling or a random hook up, you should just say “hi.” The only thing that should stop you is a if you have a restraining order.
It really does not matter where you are or when, but if you are out and about and see that person you really don’t want to see, there is no harm in a smile and wave. Doing so is simple, and it shows you are the bigger person. If you hold resentful feelings, there is no need to unleash them. That makes you look like the crazy grudge holder, and if that person even cares, they will hold resentment over you if you freak out at them.
There must be some redeeming quality in that person that initially attracted you to him or to her. Go back to that place, the pre-fallout place, and just say “hi.” Further conversation does not need to ensue. Don’t give that person another reason to dislike you. I am always really impressed when someone from my past just says hi, and it makes any hard feeling that I do have dissipate. My personal decision is often to choose not have any further conversation. After all, things ended for a reason.
Coming off too strong sends an equally negative message as ignoring the person does. Hugs are not necessary. Introducing the new beau you are with is not necessary. Attempted shot-blocking, in more innocent terms, is also not necessary.
Guys always seem to think it is okay to hook up with someone new in front of us girls with known histories of jealousy. Girls often play the “let’s flirt with everyone in sight” game. Neither of these tactics are wise. Maybe you aren’t even trying to make anyone jealous. Maybe you are just trying to move on, but it will never appear that way. People’s perceptions of you really aren’t that important, but you should be wary of your actions to avoid conflict.
I am not going to lie. I have gone up to old guys while they are with new girls and made some sassy remark about him being bad in bed or something of the sort. It was funny, but very immature. In my mind I was only playing the game with them.
With the help of Jojo I’ve learned to not be bothered. Her remix of “Marvin’s Room” is my soundtrack for these moments. “Once you had the best boy you can’t do better,” she sings. I smile to myself and don’t even bother on commenting on how gross that girl he is with is, because that’s just rude.
If you truly feel like you can’t handle seeing your ex or whoever is the source of your distress, it is okay to turn away, but only before you’ve been spotted. Otherwise, muster up whatever modicum of courage you can and just say “hi.”
Being the bigger person always feels good, and it feels a lot better than the anxiety of creepily trying to hide under 18” hair extensions, a snapback and a circle-scarf-turned-into-hood wondering if you’ve been spotted. Or maybe that’s just me.