Ex-girlfriends are tricky, aren’t they? On one side, you want to convince yourself that, regardless of how the relationship ended, you’re over her and better off without her. On the other side, you’re still a human being, so it’s natural to still have feelings for her because you made so many memories together.

While we’d all like to think that our ex-girlfriend just doesn’t exist anymore, the truth is that she’s roaming around and living her life just like you are. And, unless you two split up and moved away from one another, there’s a chance that you may end up bumping into her at some point in your life, which, even over time, can still be quite the uncomfortable situation. Hell, even if you are in different towns, who’s to say one of you doesn’t reach out via text or some other way?

If you’re ever in a situation where you’ve got to see your ex-girlfriend, we have some tips on handling the situation like a pro and leave with your pride intact.

Don’t overthink things

OK, so you’ve seen your ex-girlfriend and immediately feel that weird pit in your stomach. That’s normal, guys, so don’t think you’re weird for having it happen. Now’s the difficult part: not allowing your brain to start racing and think about what to say or do. Keep things simple and approach her like you would an old relative you haven’t seen or talked to in awhile, simply saying hi, giving her a hug and asking how she’s been. No need to do anything more than that, no matter how long its been since you two last spoke.

Short and sweet

Gather your thoughts and make a plan in your head about what you’re going to say, then go talk to your ex-girlfriend. However, now’s not the time to have diarrhea of the mouth and talk her ear off about things that have gone on in both of your lives. Sure, you both have attraction towards one another — that’ll never go away — but, even if you still love this girl, you’ve got to keep it together and play it cool. Get in, get out and get on with your life. If fate leads to something more following the interaction, then be it, but don’t try to hit a homer when you’re still standing in the on deck circle.

Respect her

As someone who went through a difficult break-up just last year, your emotions can get the best of you and your mind may make you think things that you really don’t believe. That said, through all the things that happened during or after the break-up, respecting your ex-girlfriend is important. Sure, you got your heart broken and want to think bad things about the girl, but, when you see her, the last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself.

Take control

This girl cannot hurt you anymore — unless you allow her to. When it comes to seeing an ex-girlfriend, now’s the opportunity to show her how much happier you are without her, becoming your best self and living the life you want to be living without her. Respect her and don’t brag about things, but make sure you lead the conversation and not react to it.

No follow-up

So you’ve talked to your ex-girlfriend and it went well, great! Now’s not the time to follow-up with a text telling her how great it was to see her. Again, you’ll have that instant attraction when you first see/talk to one another, but that should be the extent of the communication. Once you “break the seal” and text her again, things can get complicated and, more so, she may take a follow-up text/call as a sign you want her back. Don’t be the nice guy, keep your composure and, if she reaches out, don’t respond; you don’t owe her anything more than what you already gave.

Break ups are hard and they hurt a lot but we have some tips for broken hearts that might help you.