There comes a time after a relationship is over where both of you are back in the friend zone. For some, the friend zone may be a space that you were forced to go due to a rejection from your crush. For others, the friend zone may be somewhere you were hoping to get back to, and now you’re relieved that you can still be friends with your ex after the romance didn’t work out. Regardless of the scenario, if you want to be friends with your ex, getting back to having normal, friendly conversations may be a little rough at first. During this transition the best thing you can do is shift the conversations you’re having from flirty to friendly.
Falling back is a term used for becoming less intimately involved in a situation in order to protect your feelings. It’s the feeling of liking a someone a lot but knowing that you don’t want to overstep any boundaries or mess up your friendship with them. So how do you approach your ex now that you’ve decided to just be friends?
Here are some safe fallback topics to talk about while you’re still in that awkward in between stage:
1. Letting them talk about how they’re feeling. This is a great way to have the conversation focused on on the other person and not all about you.
2. When the time is right, discuss how you’re doing. You could bring up how you’re OK so that the other person knows the breakup didn’t ruin you.
3. Asking about friends and family. When doing so, avoid asking about love interests. Instead, let the other person know in a subtle way that you still care about them as any friend would and the people who mean the most to them.
4. Talking about an activity you both had in common. You can spark up a great conversation about things you used to do, such as going to the gym or writing together, and if they’ve had time to do that lately.
5. Bringing up a hilarious memory. Laughter is the best way to break the awkwardness of a conversation.
6. Giving them guidance on an issue (such as an ongoing project or a car problem). Doing this is a great way to build trust and stay within the boundaries of maintaining a good friendship.
7. Talking about weekly or monthly goals could help both of you stay on track and keep each other accountable.
8. Discussing upcoming trips or travel plans is a great way to let the other person know that you haven’t forgotten about things you talked about before.
9. Giving encouragement. Whether they’re preparing for a tournament, a certification, or a new job, giving your ex support about an upcoming event will make them feel empowered and let them know that you still care.
10. Discussing an interest you both have in common (pop culture, politics, sports, etc.). Similar to talking about events, if you both follow a specific sports team or like to discuss a certain topic together, then that’s something easy to bring up.
11. Updating them on how your friends/family are doing. This could be good if the other person has had close ties with them but isn’t sure how you would feel about them staying close to them.
12. Letting them know about an upcoming event that they may be interested in going to. But make it clear that you’re not asking them to go with you to this event.
13. Discussing an upcoming event that you both are attending. This could break the ice and lead you to talk about your excitement about the event and what the conversation, wedding, or show is.
14. Thanking them for something they’ve helped you with recently.
15. Asking for their opinion on something (a book, a recipe, your resume, etc.).
Falling back and becoming friends after a relationship has its limitations and boundaries, but the goals should be getting your friendship to a place of trust and less intimate feelings. All in all, let the other person know that there are no hard feelings and that you’re in a good place.