Earlier this summer we dated a very charming and handsome young man named Alessandro. He had a unique quality that we’ve never encountered in anyone else we’ve dated. He’s friends with all his exes. He has a lot of them - and frankly, they are a very handsome bunch. We feel honored to be counted among their ranks. They include DJs, models, Broadway stars, and reality television personalities. And now, bitter anonymous bloggers.
What we learned from Alessandro is that you have to get over the initial hump before you can become friends. Once you’ve gotten through those initial awkward phone calls and the forced coffee get-togethers, you’re home free. To do that, it’s perfectly acceptable to lie, fake your own extreme happiness, and pretend the ugliness of the breakup never ever happened (“Hysterical Cobb Salad crying scene at Cafeteria? What are you talking about?”).
But if you’re not as talented as Alessandro, here’s our own set of suggestions:
1) Wait until you have a new boyfriend to really make the effort. There is nothing worse than having to hear about your ex’s new love, and anticipating the dreaded silence after, “so what’s new with you?” (“I GOT THE NEW ‘WEEDS’ DVD!”)
2) Immediately commence relentless sarcasm. The faster you have taken the intimacy out of the pet names, the weird sexual proclivities, and the fact that you used to pop each other’s backne, the better. (Q: “Wow, you’ve been burping a lot. Who knew drinking chai would have the same affect on you as giving head?” A: “One thing’s for sure, this foamy beverage tastes a hell of a lot better than yours...”)
3) Start with email. Sort updates on what you’re up to are good to stay connected, without the hassle of having to sit face to face. Nothing says “I miss chatting but not fucking” like a forwarded New York Times article. (“OMG, have you READ the Modern Love about Shamu? And I thought YOU were an ass hat!”)
4) Pretend you’re in a competition for who can be nicest. Let’s be honest, you don’t want to be kind, no matter who did the dumping. But you do want to win. We often find this to be the most helpful idea. If you, for even one second, make them think “Gosh, my ex is so great,” you’ve won. [Note- this is exponentially harder after every alcoholic beverage (“I never told you this, but you should probably try brushing your teeth three times a day. I’m just trying to be nice!”), so it’s best to stick with coffee dates at first.]
This past weekend we were with one of our epic exes, and we were reminded of how fun it can be to have one around. After all, you did once throw up on them while giving a drunken blowjob after a lobster dinner - and they still wanted to be around you. Now THAT’S friendship.