How do you use the no contact rule when you work with your ex?
That question seems to be on the increase as office romances appear to be somewhat more tolerated in today’s world than they were in the past.
When you see your ex at work, how can you use the no contact rule?
Or should you?
You want your ex back and you’ve probably read about the no contact rule so you know that it’s important but you also don’t want to damage your source of income or career in the process.
The situation of working with an ex while using no contact can be even more tricky if you work closely with your ex instead of them simply being someone you see across the room or pass in a hall every now and then.
I’m going to provide some guidelines you can use if you are in the situation of wanting an ex back who you work with and have to interact with on a regular basis or if you hardly see them but know that you will occasionally at work.
Should You Ignore Your Ex At Work?
Some people have been told by other coaches who don’t have a lot of practical or observational experience that they should ignore their ex.
I’ve written quite a lot about that concept and have a YouTube video about if you should ignore your ex when they reach out to you as well.
There’s bad advice floating around out there that you should ignore your ex at work and that that is how you use no contact on your ex at work.
I can tell you from two decades in the relationship-recovery service and thousands of cases of professional observation that ignoring your ex at work is the wrong thing to do if you want your ex back.
First of all, it looks immature.
It looks like you are trying to get at your ex or show them a thing or two.
And, most importantly in terms of why it’s the wrong strategy, it looks like they have greatly impacted you in a negative way.
One of the most attractive, if not THE most attractive, position to be in is where you have such a great life full of friends, potential, success, joy, optimism, fun, peace, and strength that your ex breaking up with you didn’t destroy you or rattle your core.
If this other person knows that you are angry and trying to demonstrate that to them or trying to get revenge, it makes you look weak.
Your ex might wish that you weren’t mad at them, but they likely won’t miss you or want to get back together with you.
People who show joy, peace, confidence, and strength are the ones we are most often attracted to.
Dark drama, pain, sorrow, and anger are turnoffs and demonstrate that we allowed this other person to rattle us because we didn’t have enough without them.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be rattled or hurt.
I’m sure that you are and I’m on your side. It’s normal for you to hurt and struggle over a breakup, but if you want your ex back and you work with them, you need to project strength, joy, confidence, and passion for life.
I’m not suggesting that you go over the top and appear like you are faking it.
That could be even worse than showing anger because your ex could see you as a phony or a fake person.
Interacting With Your Ex At Work
This might sound a little counter-intuitive since everyone is scared of the friend zone now days.
I’m certainly not saying that you should try to be buddies with your ex and, in the process, become a neutered version of yourself.
Accepting the low-ball offer of friendship after a breakup is usually not successful. It almost never is.
That’s where strategy comes in.
If you accept an offer of friendship (that is, if you seriously do) or if you start making effort to carry on a friendship, separate from romance, flirting, etc., that’s where you’re sunk.
But if you aren’t making an effort to be around your ex at work and aren’t embracing this idea that you would accept the crumbs from their table and just be a friend, then you can do something pretty powerful and effective.
Treat them like your old pal.
Yes, you read that correctly.
When they greet you in the hallway at work, smile, act like it’s great to see them.
Like you’re seeing an old friend.
In this way, you turn the tables and your ex is now the one who is only getting friendship from you.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the entire strategy.
It’s the opposite of how you would use no contact for a long distance breakup of a relationship.
That’s only the first part of using no contact when you work with your ex.
Smile, shake their hand or even give your ex a quick hug.
“Hey, good to see you!” and go on about your business.
You’ve got things to do, a great life to live, and there’s just too much to do, to be passionate about, and to enjoy to let this breakup get you down.
Plus, you demonstrate that you are so strong at your core that they can’t rattle you. That is a powerful position to be in.
Keep Things Friendly But Business Focused
Ensure that you don’t appear to call for fake meetings with them or that you are using work matters as an excuse to be around them.
Resist that temptation!
That doesn’t negate what I said about about being friendly with them when you greet them.
But if you are in a meeting with them, show your focus on the project or subject of the meeting.
This is especially true if it’s just the two of you.
Be in a good, optimistic mood, but keep it focused on the work or business matter at hand.
Show that it’s important to you to do things well.
Bonus Tip: Check your phone every now and then, if it’s appropriate for you to do in a meeting or work environment.
If you want, save a text to check just while you are around him/her.
Look at your phone, take a second, then continue the meeting and say nothing about what you were looking at.
Mystery is good, but you don’t want to lie and tell them that you’re dating someone else already when you are not (nor should you start dating someone else just to try to make your ex jealous).
Trying to make them jealous can blow up in your face by helping them move on.
But some mystery and curiosity about what you’re doing here and there can be a good thing.
Open my article, “Stages your ex goes through during no contact,” in a new window and read it after you completely finish this one.
It will help some of this make sense in terms of what you want to have happen in your ex’s mind during no contact and what it takes to get them there.
Should I Have Lunch With My Ex At Work?
If your ex invites you to lunch or for coffee and you work with them, sure, you can do that.
That is, if you have time and want to.
So you say, “I think I can but let me get back to you in just a bit.”
When you have that lunch, be polite, lighthearted, and demonstrate the things I’ve talked about in this article.
Ideally you’ll have some funny and interesting short stories to tell your ex about your recent experiences.
Be a good listener.
When lunch is over, give your ex a hug and say, “I enjoyed having lunch with you. The food was good and the company wasn’t too shabby either.”
Be a little playful.
Be open to a kiss happening. I talk more about that in my Emergency Breakup Kit.
When It’s Time To Flirt
Remember earlier I said that treating your ex like a casual buddy was just the first part of the strategy?
Here’s the second part.
Once your ex has shown that he/she wants to be around you, has invited to you lunch or coffee, and has shown some pursuit of your company (which the odds are good that they will if you will stay away in no contact) then that’s when you can help your cause by being flirty around him/her.
Show your ex that you aren’t going to act like just a friend.
This can contrast a bit in their head since they’ve seen you treat them a little bit like a casual buddy.
Joke with them and be flirty to show that just because they broke up with you, it doesn’t mean that you have to seek their permission to interact with them in a way that is true to your interest level.
Show them that you know better than their temporary confusion and that you aren’t afraid to show it.
Show them that you won’t simply become a neutered version of yourself.
Should You Compliment Your Ex At Work?
Just keep it simple, confident, and casual.
“Hey, I like your shirt/top.” Smile for a second and then go on about your day or whatever you were focused on.
Interact with other co-workers and show that you are having a good time – but again, be sure that you don’t appear to be acting.
Don’t be fake.
The key is, show that you are still who you are even though they broke up with you.
They can’t change you and you aren’t living your life worried about what they think even if you work together.
To gain from my two decades in the relationship-recovery service so that you have the best chance possible of getting your ex back, get my Emergency Breakup Kit.