What’s one of the most awkward things to do after a breakup?
I have to say that meeting up with your ex to give back some things tops the cake.
This is absolutely nerve-wracking!
However, you’ll just have to trust yourself and your gut instincts as you do this.
If this may help, here are 10 suggestions on how to handle the situation:
1) Break the ice with a phone call first
If you are planning to meet up face-to-face, giving them a call in advance might be a good idea.
Call to find out if they are at home and make sure you are on their schedule.
This is so that you won’t have a hard time finding them.
You might be able to laugh about what happened or have a serious conversation with them.
Remember that this is the first time you’ve spoken since you broke up, so it may not go as well as planned.
That’s okay, as this is to be expected.
If it was the first time you met face-to-face, you wouldn’t want to start off strong with a bad impression.
2) Come in person, not via mail or email.
You would want to return the items to your ex personally.
You need to come in person because you might be inclined to do so if it’s over the phone.
Don’t try to send it back by mail, or email your ex about it, since this is a touchy situation.
You don’t want the items to get lost in the shuffle and be forgotten about.
Remember, this is your ex.
You will have an opportunity to say a few things and make sure they know that you are finished with the relationship.
If you don’t get it delivered in person, you may not have the opportunity to have a face-to-face encounter with them.
You may send them an email asking if they are home so that you can drop off the items in person.
Otherwise, don’t do it via email.
You might really hurt their feelings doing this and they may not want to talk to you even if they answer the question posed in the email.
3) Keep it short
Make your drive to their house brief, so you don’t overstay your welcome.
Don’t get into lengthy conversations about the past and the future of your relationship again.
“You were a great girlfriend, but I’m glad it’s over.”
Remember, that is not what you should be saying.
The goal is to go over the items you wish to return.
You don’t have to rehash everything that went wrong in your relationship.
If you do, you may put yourself in a bad situation where you’re arguing or feeling worse.
Remember, you are the one returning the items because you’ve broken off your relationship with him/her.
Don’t linger around and let them ask you if there is anything they can get for you.
Make sure you have a time limit before they offer to make coffee or food.
You don’t want to be standing there with them for too long.
4) Show respect and act professional
This is your ex, after all.
You once shared happy memories and true love.
You can still remain cordial and not just throw in the items you wish to return.
Bring their items in a bag or box with care, so they won’t get damaged as you are handing it over.
Don’t be upset when you go over there.
Even if you are the one going to give items back, you should still have a positive attitude.
It’s easy to get mad and say hurtful things.
But, this is NOT the time for you to speak out about what happened in the relationship or why it was over.
Do not do this in an attempt to get them back or bring up old issues from a previous relationship.
The relationship is done. Bury the hatchet.
Also, if you happen to date someone new, don’t bring it up.
Or if your ex is engaged to be married, do not pry further.
This will definitely make things seem awkward.
Even if you feel as if they will say something along those lines, do not engage in that conversation with them.
If they do ask about your new love interest, simply say, “He/She’s wonderful.”
End of conversation.
5) Be honest but polite with your thank-you note or gift (if any)
Make sure this note is clear but not nasty.
If you are returning gifts, make sure you write a nice note.
This should include thanking the person for all the nice things they did for you or how much they cared.
You will want to mention anything special that was given to you by them as well.
It’s perfectly acceptable if the gift or thank-you note is not related to their breakup with you.
If you are returning a gift, it is okay to be slightly more sincere.
Just don’t go overboard and make it long-winded.
One more thing.
If the things you need to return weren’t expensive, then don’t bring it up either.
Also, make sure you have a list of the items to be returned.
This list is comprehensive and covers everything that belongs to him/her.
Make sure that you have not forgotten anything.
This might be the last time you’ll see each other. Be thorough.
6) Be honest about why you are returning these items.
This is to show that you approve of the breakup and that you are strong enough to move on.
This will also prevent them from being hurt by your actions.
You could say something like, “I’m happy that we overcame our problems and I wish you all the best in the future.”
Don’t linger or force them to ask if they can do anything for you.
Don’t make it appear that you are being rude or mean so that you can make your ex feel bad about it.
That’s not the point of doing this.
You should be doing this to clear up any misunderstandings that may have been committed.
This will keep them from being confused or guessing what your motive is for this action.
Don’t bring up or rehash your relationship during this conversation
This is not the time to be rehashing all of the problems you had in the past.
This also includes talking negatively about their character or revealing any sensitive information that they may have shared with you.
Remember, this is your ex and they are being given back items that belonged to them.
7) Return all items of value back, even if they weren’t expensive.
It’s okay if you’re not returning anything valuable; however, you should still return the most important things back to your ex.
Don’t keep something that belongs to them, even if it’s not expensive.
This will tell them that you have no respect for them.
It will show that you are not willing to do what is right.
You’d be surprised at how many people don’t return items to their exes because they’re afraid they may get in trouble or the other person will become hostile towards them.
Don’t worry about this.
Most people act this way because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable about returning the items to their exes.
You wouldn’t want your ex to ask for their items back or call you up asking for something that is his/hers.
This is your chance to clear everything up and show that you are moving on.
Dropping anything that isn’t important will make it seem like you are indifferent to the entire situation.
If you drop any of their items, they may think that you are trying to sabotage their life or relationship.
That will just cause more problems.
After the items are given back, it’s best to avoid any future contact with your ex.
You don’t need to be in touch with them.
8) Try not to make a scene or cause a scene.
This is not the time to be dramatic or overreact to the situation.
If you must discuss something, keep the conversation light and keep it brief.
Don’t let them know that you are on your way back with their belongings for a reason that is not necessary.
Just act as if nothing happened at all and you’re just returning any items that were given to you by them.
You can say, “I remember you gave me these.”
This will be enough and you won’t have to say, “When you asked me to return this, I could tell that you really wanted me to do it.”
Don’t mention anything negative that happened during your relationship.
You don’t want to make your ex angry or upset, so try not to.
It’s okay if you give them the items back and you are leaving, however, do not just storm out.
This will be a lot worse than when you drop off the items.
This will most likely come across as you trying to get back at your ex.
If you are still upset or hurt, try not to let them see what is going on.
This will make them uncomfortable, and they may avoid talking to you at all.
As a mature person, what must you do?
You can leave in a calm manner or with a smile on your face because this is over and done with.
You should say goodbye to them without any drama.
You don’t want this to happen, so keep yourself under control.
9) Keep the conversation light and brief
Try to keep the conversation light and pleasant.
You don’t want to make your ex miserable or upset, so try to keep it short.
Just say, “Thank you for everything,” and “I’m so glad that we put the past behind us.”
Be sure not to bring up the topic of your relationship again.
Don’t ask for a last-minute favor or a ride, unless you know for sure that they won’t turn it down, of course.
Engage in a light conversation with them.
Do not be angry or irritated with them when you speak to them.
A lot of people are angry when they return something to their ex, but this is a good time for you to be calm and collected.
You don’t want your ex to think that you are going over there just to cause any tension or drama between the two of you.
You may be hurt, but try to keep your cool.
Never go over there to cause any problems.
This is just to return their items and to let them know that you accept the breakup.
Be as comfortable as you can, so that you don’t do anything stupid or regretful.
If they ask you anything, politely refuse to answer their questions if you do not want to.
Be nice and explain that it was great being with them.
To finish it off,
10) Return things in a timely manner
You don’t want to come back later and cause problems for your ex or yourself.
By doing that, you will regret your decision.
For example, if you take their clothes back to them a few weeks later, they might think you are trying to hook up with them again.
This is why it’s best to get things over with as soon as possible.
Don’t let it sit around for weeks or months.
If you leave it too long, you may want to reconsider if this is something you want to do or not.
Your ex might wonder why you are keeping the items if they are over and done with the relationship with you.
We don’t want them to think we still want them back, right?
Many people do not like returning items simply because they have misplaced the items.
You never know when you will find them again or if they would be willing to accept these items from you.
If you’re not sure why you should return the items, it is best to forget about them and return what hasn’t been forgotten about yet.
Returning a gift or item that was given by your ex is something that most people do when their relationship ends.
It is important to remember these important things.
Don’t argue about the items.
Don’t bring up the relationship.
Don’t try to make things awkward between you and your ex.
The potential heartache that comes with giving away possessions can be alleviated by understanding these few best practices when it comes to coming face-to-face with an ex.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.