artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


21 October 2010

What are the words you use in this situation? [More:]

Because life if funny this way, it turns out that my ex now has an office about two blocks from mine. We haven't had anything to do with each other for 7-8 years (which is a good thing). For a while she was living in SF, but I've seen her on the sidewalk just outside my window twice in the past week, so she must be commuting up here regularly.

I know that there is now a very good chance that I will bump into her. I'm trying to avoid it, going the other way when I see her, but I know that it's probably something that's bound to happen.

I don't want anything to do with her. I don't want her in my life. She's part of my past, and I fully accept that, but I don't want her to be part of my present. I'm done with having her in my life.

When you bump into someone, what are the words you use to convey that? I want to have them in my head so that I don't have to think of them if/when the time comes. I'd like to be polite, but firm. No drama. I just want to get the point across so that if we do run into each other once, she knows I'm not going to make friendly small talk when it happens twice.

So, wise people, how do you do this? How do you phrase it?
you can't really control what she thinks that precisely unless you want to make a big deal of the first go-round. Just be like "hey", avert your gaze and keep doing your thing. Cold shoulders are pretty clear

"So you're here?"
"yeah. I'm in the middle of something."

"see you around.."
posted by Firas 21 October | 13:16
While in motion, if she notices you, you say, oh hey, and keep walking. If in motion and she hasn't yet noticed you, walk so she doesn't see you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 21 October | 13:28
Do you want to have a "hi" kind of contact, or the kind in which you ignore that she exists?

It seems easier to just have a cordial "hi" type of thing, whenever you cross paths. If she asks you about this, or tries to extend contact beyond that then you will need to explain it. Not fun. . .I have never been in that sitch. . .good luck.
posted by danf 21 October | 13:35
Don't even say hi if you see her. Just nod. That means you're acknowledging her existence and aren't interested in being malicious or dramatic, but have nothing to say.
posted by Melismata 21 October | 13:38
I feel like I need to do a little more than the Hi-and-keep-walking thing if we end up accidentally making eye contact. [And she recognizes me. She might not. My hair is much longer, and I almost always wear a hat and sunglasses outside. So possibly she wouldn't notice me, which would be the best scenario.]

A couple of reasons why I feel that way: First, we were together for four years and made two cross-country moves together. So, while I really do want absolutely nothing to do with her, it would be more awkward not to acknowledge her, given that we'd be running into each other 3,000 miles from where we first started dating. (Maybe that's just the politeness that was instilled in me as a kid?) Second, I think I want to be proactive in cutting off contact and not give her a chance to try to pursue it, because I know how she is.

What I'm thinking, then, if I don't manage to avoid her and there is some exchange, is to say, "Yes, I've seen you on this street. This is where I work. I know your office is nearby as well and we will probably encounter each other from time to time, but I want to make it clear that ________."

And that's where I stall.
posted by mudpuppie 21 October | 13:48
"make it clear that we don't have to talk or exchange news or greetings or anything every time we meet. I think that would be better for me." Something like that? You're not actually saying the words, "I don't want to talk to you," but I think the message would still get across.
posted by JanetLand 21 October | 14:10
Having been on the receiving end of this (with the "you're all up in my hood" thing, even though HELLO it's a public place and they have good food and free shuttles to the hockey game, OKAY???), I think I'd just prefer the hello/wave and then nothing else. You don't have to respond to her, and really, you don't want to make small talk with her either.

So a wave and a hi is enough so you're acknowledging without doing the creepy "I don't see you" thing (when everybody knows you TOTALLY DO... grrr...). But leaving it at that and simply not responding to anything else sets the tone pretty well without it falling into the need for an actual explanation. Because if you're not in each other's lives, you're not in each other's lives, and that's all there is to it.

It's like seeing your Starbucks barista at the movie theater: you have a relationship, but it's not the kind of thing that lends itself to the larger world.
posted by Madamina 21 October | 14:46
I think I'd keep the hellos brief, brisk, and civil, and hope that she would pick up on the tone and realize that you're not encouraging further social contact.

If she doesn't pick up on that, if she suggests meeting for coffee or catching up or any other social encounter, then it seems smart to launch into a civil clarification like the one you start above: "I know your office is nearby as well and we will probably encounter each other from time to time, but..."

For the "but..." how about "but I'm not comfortable trying to be friends" or "but I hope we can respect each others' privacy" or "but I think it's best that we keep this a waving acquaintance."

On preview, Melismata says what I mean, only more clearly:

So a wave and a hi is enough so you're acknowledging without doing the creepy "I don't see you" thing (when everybody knows you TOTALLY DO... grrr...). But leaving it at that and simply not responding to anything else sets the tone pretty well without it falling into the need for an actual explanation.

I did once do the I DON'T SEE YOU LA LA LA thing with an ex, but it was in a small town, I was on my first really great date since we had split, and MY EX TURNED AROUND ON HIS BARSTOOL AND WATCHED US FOR THE ENTIRE EVENING. I think it's safe to say I am not the creepy one in that scenario.
posted by Elsa 21 October | 14:55

Yeah. I dated my ex for a year (with six more months of being wishy washy), and I had warned my now-fiance (J.) that we would run into him on hockey night. Two years later, it's still weird. He is very "scorched earth" in trying to ignore my existence, while his friends are more, well, friendly. But on the first hockey night of last year, the ex had a new girl, and when I came back from the bathroom J. was all, "Yeah, she was TOTALLY checking you out." Which she SHOULD have been doing, because awwwww yeeeeah.

It's hard, but just do what you would do without the terrible horrible no good very bad history behind it. That way, you'll have no reason to explain your behavior except to shrug and say you weren't doing anything out of the ordinary. Because you weren't.
posted by Madamina 21 October | 15:08
I'd keep it brief, just a hello, yes, I'm fine, I hope things have worked out for you, bye.

Then, if there's another meeting where conversation is initiated, at that stage I'd make it clear that I've moved on with my life and no, it doesn't involve you. Goodbye.
posted by Senyar 21 October | 15:09
Which she SHOULD have been doing, because awwwww yeeeeah.

This is the best thing I've read all day.
posted by Elsa 21 October | 15:11
This may be my black humors coming out, but I think that perhaps when you see her, you should shout, "BOO! BOO! QUEEN OF SLIME! QUEEN OF FILTH! QUEEN OF REFUSE!"* and run away.

I totally need to watch The Princess Bride again.
posted by TrishaLynn 21 October | 15:18
Yeah, I would just go with a smile and a hello. Acknowledge that you know each other and move on quickly.
posted by unsurprising 21 October | 16:31
Most of the time when we play these things up in our heads - that just means they're far more important to us than to others. So, don't try to plan for *any* particular scenario.

Be polite to her - that doesn't mean you're being unnecessarily nice.

If it sounds like she's going to want to be in further contact just tell her you're not willing to do that. Keep it simple like that.
posted by fluffy battle kitten 21 October | 18:13
I had a reunion two weeks ago where I had to deal with someone I had despised. We managed to be civil to each other, but it was made clear that we weren't ever going to be friends.
posted by brujita 21 October | 23:59
The recently-added caption feature || Dog adopts kitten.