5 Ways to Deal With Bumping Into a Former Flame


DealwithX_MAIN If you ever spend the tail end of your Thursday nights really getting to know a new friend from Marshall Street, you understand the necessity of waking up on Friday and dedicating yourself to a new life goal: avoiding that person for the rest of your life.

Most of the time, these hookups don’t reach night two, soon deeming these people "avoidables." Unfortunately, this can be difficult when you live on a college campus. You fall into a daily routine when you’ve been in college for some time — it’s solidified early on each semester, making your daily path around campus fairly predictable, and straying from it is rare. This, the college campus is the prime setting for those moments when you find yourself face-to-face with a former flame. And as we all know, seeing your avoidables can get unbelievably awkward. And you can’t ignore a face like you ignore a text when attempting to pull a fade-out.

Once you see one of your one-time-things along the path of your set and comfortable routine, it can disrupt everything. You then have to find a different shortcut to Whitman or hike the long way to the Quad. You can no longer study in the tranquil Panasci lounge by the fire during that break between your classes in Newhouse and the Hall of Languages. Your avoidable can quickly become unavoidable if you don’t have the energy to disrupt your contented convenience.

So, how do you make that moment when you run into a former fuck one without consequence? We’ve got some tips that will make you feel like you’ve just won the game of bumping into your ex-flame. Consider the rest of your college years free of those dreaded hookup-related moments of #awk.

1. Try the “oh, I thought I knew you, but I definitely don’t” look. If you see an avoidable from afar and have time to gather the confidence to pull this one off, try it. Give them the eye-squint that indicates that you’re figuring out if you know them. Then, as soon as you catch eye contact, do the “never mind” look that says you have no idea who the person is. You’ll probably make them feel super awkward when they go to respond and you brush them off but hey, better them than you. At least next time you pass each other, they will attempt to avoid you because of how awkward they felt about it last time, and you can then go about your day without a second thought.

2. Don’t get their names completely right. If you’ll be crossing paths within talking distance and they had already glanced over, throw a “Hey Marissa” to Maria or a “Hi Derek” to David and keep on walking (but subtly speed up to avoid any follow-up back-and-forth, since no one wants that). Because you know you’re getting it wrong purposefully, this name confusion won’t make things awkward for you — it may even be pretty empowering, especially if the person was a real tool during your one night stand. That person, on the other hand, will immediately realize that he or she never wants to cross paths with you again because you’re truly a dick. And guess what? You now own that route on campus during that specific time frame. Sometimes being an asshole can really work in your favor.

3. Get engrossed in conversation with a bystander. As soon as you notice your former fling, look to your closest bystander and spark up a really interesting conversation. Even if this person is a total stranger, it will work. Most people won’t pass up a friendly conversation, especially if you try to relate it somehow to something they may seem interested in. The dude next to you is holding a book about advanced astronomy? Ask him if he knows anything about Jupiter’s moons, or something else really astro-nerdy. If the chick nearby is donning a band tee, ask her about the band’s newest album because you “haven’t heard it.” This way, you’ll get the person talking and your avoidable will be no problem, because you didn’t even see them. It will then be up to you to figure out how to get out of a long conversation about the politics of some indie band’s new music with your new BFF.

4. If your former flame approaches you… Well, you must’ve really rocked their world. Let’s assume in this situation you left some unspoken indication that you wanted to see this person again and, upon seeing you, he or she has just gotten excited about a round two prospect. It is so important that you show no weakness in this moment. If you get awkward about it, you’re done — you’ve lost the game of bumping into this fuck. Since you definitely never wanted to see them again, be so cool. Cool in every sense of the word. Say "hey" in your smoothest voice (but not at all flirtatious, think business), allow them to talk for a minute and then say, coolly, that you have somewhere to be. Then, in the coolest possible way, say that maybe you’ll see them around and slowly (but not very obviously) walk away. Envision in your mind that you’re walking in slow motion to the beat of a badass rock song. You probably just looked so fucking cool. Yeah, you may have made this person want you even more — the thrill of the chase is real — but now, you’ve come out on top.

5. Remember where you saw the avoidable person and be deliberate. Since your goal is to own your place on campus, with little to no awkward disruptions, keep in mind where and when you see your former flames. If it’s going to be a point of your routine to see these people, be sure to be ready. Once you set foot on that walkway, walk with confidence. If you’ve just hit the gym or rolled out of bed, at least try to look like you’ve got your shit together. Throw on some headphones and keep your eyes on the prize: not communicating with last night’s scandal. If these tips remain present in your mind, there’s little chance that these run-ins will be awkward for you. Because, after all, this campus does revolve around you and you deserve to walk to class in peace. And your forgettable one night stands will remember their place — nowhere near your genitals.

Art by Adham Elsharkawi