It’s Margarita Monday! Each week, we’ll be publishing a story about dating by Lauren Levine and/or Ali Washburn to go along with the latest episode of “The Margarita Confessionals,” a podcast for the jaded dater. You can find it on Soundcloud or iTunes.
If you’ve broken up in Charlotte, you know that eventually this fairly large city starts to feel pretty small. While it’s awesome to run into a friend while you’re picking up dinner on the way home from work, it’s not as fun to run into your ex when you’re just trying to be a disgusting mess on your way out of the gym.
Besides having to worry about an unexpected run-in, when you split and there are mutual friends involved, things get tricky.
Here are four tips on navigating a breakup in a way that minimizes awkwardness:
(1) Have an honest conversation with the person about it.
If your relationship was substantial and there are shared friends and favorite spots involved, it’s worth it to talk about how you want to proceed. If you’re out and end up running into each other, are you both okay with a casual conversation or would you prefer to just do your own thing?
Get on the same page and you’ll eliminate the need to spend half the night whispering to your friends, “Am I supposed to say hi? What should I do?”
(2) Call dibs in an appropriate way.
Obviously shouting “DIBS ON NODA!” in your ex’s face and running away isn’t going to work.
NoDa’s a big section of the city and it’s not realistic to command the person to stay away entirely, much as you might like to. Here’s something that could work though: if you’ve got a favorite trivia night at a bar, would they let that be your thing? You can return the favor by surrendering custody of an event you know they really love.
(3) Talk about a custody arrangement for your friends.
One of the horrendous side effects of breaking up is that you inevitably lose a few friends in the split as people (consciously or not) take sides. But if there are relationships you’d like to preserve, talk to your ex about what feels appropriate.
Don’t forget to clue your friends in, too. They’re probably waiting for some hints from you two about what things will look like socially going forward. Are you okay getting invited to the same parties or is that too much? How are you splitting up custody of the friend you’ve both had since you first moved here? Is she okay keeping up both friendships intact as long as you refrain from trashing one another to her?
(4) Know that things might change over time.
When you first break up, even thinking about willingly going to a place where your ex will be is probably too much to stomach. After a while, though, you might find that you’re okay with a quick “Hi” when you’re at the same event. What is manageable for you now might not always be the case. Totally normal.
It should be noted that even if you weren’t official, when things fizzle, running into each other unexpectedly can still be beyond uncomfortable. If your relationship wasn’t yet to the point where you can talk about how to handle this, sometimes you have to just embrace the weird. Don’t avoid certain spots because you don’t want to risk seeing that person. Issue your hello (or avoid eye contact, whatever works best, we won’t judge) and then keep enjoying your night.
Photo: Nicolas Raymond. GIFs: Giphy.com.