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Many people think that being friends with your ex is an impossible task. I’m here to tell you that that’s not always the case! With time, respect, and patience, many people can become friendly again after even a rough breakup.
One major factor in whether or not you will remain friends with your ex is how the overall relationship and breakup went. If it was mutual, you’ll probably be friends pretty soon after. If the breakup was done in a respectful and kind way, but still a dumping, you may be able to become friends over time. If it was a rude dumping, such as a Snapchat dump or ghosting, chances are you won’t be pals. Same goes for if the relationship was abusive or one-sided. Basically—if the relationship was actually loving and kind, a friendship is completely plausible in the future.
Step One: Do not ask if you can still be friends during the breakup.
Doing this seals your fate, especially if you are the dumper. When a person is dumped, they are given complete control over the future of the relationship, friendly or otherwise. Asking if you can still be friends immediately is a giant “fuck you” and will definitely not make you their friend.
Additionally, if there is excessive aggression in the breakup, this probably won’t make you a great friend candidate. Remember that this may be their last impression of you, and you probably don’t want it to be something terrible. They’ll remember you by it, so it’s better to be kind and understanding than forceful and rude.
Step Two: Give them tons of space after the breakup.
Your former partner needs time and space to process their emotions. Be respectful of this. They don’t want to hang out with you two days after to get coffee and catch up. Being clingy will just make them want to get away from you more.
If you are part of the same friend group, you don’t have to make them pick sides or stop having group hangs with both parties. In fact, doing this only propels you two farther away. Explaining to your friends that they don’t have to choose one over the other will benefit you.
This being said, be mindful during group hangs that you don’t get caught alone with the other person. Be respectful of them in the group, but also try to avoid them and respect the space they want. Also, rehashing the breakup in front of the group is a terrible idea. Don’t do it.
Step Three: Give it time. Lots and lots of time.
There is nothing to do but wait to see what the future holds. This goes hand in hand with giving them space. If a friendship is in the cards, it will work itself out. If not, just let it go.
Do not try to rush or force things. This only makes the other person more aggravated, and may even stir up old arguments. If they want to be friends with you, it will be clear.
If you know where they work, try to avoid it. Temporarily unfollow their social media, and perhaps skip an outing with friends if your former partner will be there and it seems like a potentially risky situation. The more space, the better.
And don’t stalk their Instagram, make a fake Snapchat to keep up with their story, or use their friends to get information about their life. That’s stalkerish and immature. Be a person, and actually be patient and respectful.
Step Four: If the friendship is budding, don’t expect it to be what it used to.
Your post-break-up friendship will be very different for both parties than your pre dating friendship. Don’t expect it to be nearly what it was before.
Flirting is a definite no-go, as well as bringing up anything from the past relationship. This includes arguments, dates, sex, and potentially even jokes or shared experiences. You don’t want to reopen old wounds.
Step Five: You guys are friends again... what now?
Good question. It’s really up to you two to figure it out. Whether you just want to stay pals who go out for coffee every once in a while, or become more, is completely up to both of you to decide.
Once it is comfortable to do so, open up the conversation if you desire. Communication is key, and respectfully voicing your opinions will resolve any issues that may be festering. Again, the person who was dumped (if it was a dumping situation) gets the final say in where things go.
If both parties consent, to whatever the agreement is, proceed with caution. Rushing things and pushing an idea results in resent. Take your time, and let things work themselves out.
Above all, just be respectful and communicate. Friendship is very plausible. My best friend is my high school ex. Nothing is impossible if you are kind and understanding.