The Big Question aims to answer those queries that students find themselves asking everyday- the big and the small; the serious and the silly. Stuck at an impossible crossroads? Let Impact help you make an informed decision.

“Let’s be fair, stopping for a chat is a much more pleasant experience than darting into the nearest building and pretending you didn’t see them.”- Jess argues YES

No one looks forward to that dreaded day when a relationship comes to an end- but breaking up doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t stay in each other’s lives. Staying friends is an option and, believe it or not, it can actually work. In fact, 76% of men surveyed by WTF Are Men Thinking say they could stay friends after a break-up, and a reassuring 48% of couples who took an NBC poll say they’ve actually managed it.

76% of men surveyed by WTF Are Men Thinking said they could stay friends after a break-up.

It is a given that healing time will be needed, but once the initial sting wears off a friendship can begin. You went out with this person for a reason so clearly there are plenty of things you like about them, and these are probably still there. Why should you lose them completely? As long as you make it clear that you’re just friends (sex with an ex can get super complicated), what could be the problem?

As long as you make it clear that you’re just friends (sex with an ex can get super complicated), what could be the problem?

Keeping friendly also eliminates the awkwardness when you inevitably bump into them on campus. Let’s be fair, stopping for a chat is a much more pleasant experience than darting into the nearest building and pretending you didn’t see them. Besides, no one likes to appear sour, and suggesting friendship with an ex is one way to show how cool you are about how things turned out. One of the worst things to hear is, ‘I can’t go to that party because I know he/she will be there.’

If you’re one of those couples who share a friendship group, staying friends with an ex is one way to ensure you don’t end up missing out because you refuse to be around your once ‘other-half.’ There’s also no risk that your mutual friends will pick sides and you’ll lose out. Then there are the couples that split up because their relationship is becoming more of a friendship. When your relationship is more platonic than passionate, you’re friend-zoning each other already.

 When your relationship is more platonic than passionate, you’re friend-zoning each other already.

When things just don’t work that doesn’t mean there should be any hard feelings. No one’s to blame, and you still should be able to hang out in the holidays. So who said staying friends with an ex doesn’t have some advantages? Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother proved it possible after all.

Jess Mackenzie

 “More often than not either the guy or the girl will harbour some romantic feelings towards the other person.”- Nadia argues NO.

From a logical point of view, it may seem like a good idea to stay friends with your ex. But, from an emotional point of view, there is a myriad of reasons why you shouldn’t.

A mutual break-up between two people rarely exists, and more often than not either person will harbour some romantic feelings towards the other. If this is in fact the case, deciding to be friends with an ex would be like giving up smoking, but still having that one delicious cigarette once in a while. Would you be able to just stop at one cigarette, or would you want to take up smoking again?

Would you be able to just stop at one cigarette, or would you want to take up smoking again?

It may be obvious to point out that after a break up, both parties need to start seeing themselves as individuals rather than a pair. It would be difficult to go down a ‘relationship level’ and act as friends, forgetting the significant amount of romantic feelings and actions involved in this relationship. According to a survey conducted by Your Tango, 71% of people say they think about their ex too much and more than half (57%) of singletons say thinking about their ex prevents them from finding new love.

More than half (57%) of singletons say thinking about their ex prevents them from finding new love.

All the great memories from the relationship are therefore most likely to haunt the people who were in it. There is also a very good chance that ‘friendly’ feelings and actions may be confused with romance. A late night dinner could easily be misinterpreted as something more serious, eventually ending in heartbreak if the other simply wants to have a meal as friends.

A late night dinner could easily be misinterpreted as something more serious.

In the end though, you should do what you are most comfortable with – if there isn’t a shred of romantic feeling left for your ex then by all means be friends with them. After all, it’s probably how it all started in the first place. However, as Charlotte York says in Sex and City: “Friendship is the bonus of a relationship. If they don’t want the relationship, they don’t get me as a friend.”

Nadia Raychinova

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Image: fihu via flickr

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