Life Lessons With Lexie, #1

I’ve just received a message from a young lady in Philadelphia who wants a bit of advice for an uncomfortable social situation she finds herself in from time to time.

She writes:

What would you do if your ex best friend worked at [a local grocery store] and you had to shop there and see him all mopey at his register?

Hiding in the Broccoli

Dear HID,

This is indeed an unpleasant situation, and one that affects many of us in Philadelphia (or Portland, I’d assume). When one lives in a large city with a small “scene”, one often finds oneself running into exes, ex friends, lovers’ exes and any number of people who one prefers to avoid. And with that, I shall stop using “one” to refer to a third person anonymous because it’s pretty annoying.

So, HID, what should you do? Should you be content shopping at a grocer with less pleasant and delectable prepared vegan selections? Should you pay the extra dollar for Kombucha at Essene or settle for wilted bok choi? The short answer is “no”. Although a consistent avoidance would seem to be the easy and comfortable route, by avoiding this person you would merely be postponing the inevitable and awkward.

It seems to me that you haven’t let this friend’s attitude deter you from your usual routine, but you may want, for the time being, to try to be polite and friendly to this person. Although you are inconvenienced by this situation, it seems that your ex friend has had his feelings hurt by you. Being the reasonable and, hopefully, kind people we are, let us begin to take others’ feelings to heart. Your ex friend probably misses you and seeing you at his store just makes him miss you more. In this case, you don’t need revenge, you just need to smooth things over so your overlapping lives are less awkward.

Next time, may I suggest you cordially, but not overly warmly, greet him and inquire about his life. It never hurts to say, “Maybe I’ll see you around.” If you are insistent upon remaining “ex friends”, then be sure your politeness doesn’t bleed into the dreaded territory of giving him false hopes.

The more you see him casually and the more relaxed you can act at the chance meetings, the sooner you two will be able to interact comfortably.

If not, the Whole Foods near the Art Museum is nice and Trader Joe’s rarely disappoints.

Bonne chance!



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