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The Dos and Don’ts of Being Friends with Your Ex’s Friends

So, here’s the situation. You dated someone and now you’ve broken up. While you were together you spent a lot of time with their friends grew quite fond of them — maybe you even developed a few close friendships of your own. Now that you and your ex have split, can you still stay friends with their friends? Well, that’s a good question.

My ex and I split three years ago and I’ve managed to stay friends with him and his social circle. In fact, he’s even encouraged me to spend more time with his female friends because he knows we click. However, not every breakup goes like this. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you like someone or their friends, when you split up you have to let everyone go.

If you’re wondering whether it’s appropriate to stay connected to your ex’s social group, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Are you and your ex still friends?

That’s the first question. If the break-up was relatively straightforward and you not only made a decision to transition into friendship but have managed to make it work, then the chances that you can stay friends with their friends too is high. (See the example above) However, if you haven’t been able to stay friends with your ex, approach their friends with caution.

  1. How did the relationship end?

If things ended amicably, then it’s going to be much easier to maintain a friendship with your ex’s friends. However, if things ended on a bitter note you’re also going to want to approach with caution. Keep in mind that while your ex may be gone from your life, they’re still very much a part of their friend’s lives. Are you prepared to potentially come in contact with your ex? Are they? Remember, this isn’t just about you and your needs. You also need to take into account how your ex is going to feel. If they’re still feeling hurt by the breakup, they might resent or feel cornered by your overtures of friendship.

  1. How much time did you spend with their friends?

If you only met their friends a handful of times and now you’re trying to invite yourself to all of their get-togethers — breakup be damned — then that’s kind of a problem. However, if you developed some very close friendships with a couple of your ex’s friends that were completely independent of your romantic relationship, then there’s a good chance that they’ll want to maintain these friendships as well.

  1. Have you asked them how they feel about it?

Don’t assume anything. If you want to stay friends with their friends, the easiest and most straightforward thing to do is to ask. Let your ex know why you value the friendship of their friends and ask how they feel about keeping in touch with this person(s). If they tell you that they’re not comfortable with you staying friends, consider respecting their wishes.

  1. What are your intentions?

Do you want to stay friends with their social group because you’d like to keep tabs on your ex or is it because you became close to certain people and you want to foster those connections? Before you pursue a friendship with your ex or their friends, make sure you’re clear on your intentions and are doing it for the right reasons.

  1. Have you set boundaries?

Lastly, even if your ex is cool with you staying in touch with his friends you want to make sure you set appropriate boundaries. Be respectful. Don’t use the excuse of being friends to slam your ex’s character. Doing this will only make you look bad.

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