Breakups are challenging but sometimes you’ll have that one ex you want to stay connected with. Perhaps you were best friends before things spiraled into a romance that went sour, or you have a relationship built on genuine care for one another. But when you’re going through a split — with all the hurt and emotions that come with it — it isn’t always easy to tell if you’ll be able to remain friends after it’s all said and done.

So how do you know if it's possible to stay friends? No one has a crystal ball, but some personality clues can point to the likelihood of a post-breakup friendship. Here are some indicators that you and your ex are in for a platonic relationship after the dust settles.

You both communicate openly

Relationships and friendships that work have a major factor in common: communication. So if you and your ex-partner struggle to communicate or see eye-to-eye, you may not be the fated friends you’re hoping for. Good relationships require open communication, which means listening and discussing how you’re feeling and why. If you and your ex have always been able to talk about anything, there’s a big chance you can stay friends.

You’re both capable of setting boundaries  

Transitioning from a romantic relationship to a platonic one requires boundaries. No saying “I miss you.” No drunk dialing at 3 a.m. No physical affection that could be intperpreted as romantic. No dropping by each other's apartment at any time you please. Romantic partners tend to have privileges that friends may not have, so understanding where to draw the line after a breakup is a healthy and necessary step.

You don’t trust everyone, but you trust each other

It sounds counterintuitive to say not trusting anyone indicates that you and your ex might remain friends, but it’s true! Some personality types (I'm looking at myself, an INFJ with trust issues) struggle to trust just anyone. If neither of you has broken each other’s trust, and you’ve built your relationship on trusting each other more than others, it’s a good sign you’re both destined for a long friendship. 

You have similar values and experiences, but you also complement each other

Like the reference to a “twin flame” in a popular Taylor Swift song, similar values and experiences can bond two people together. Call it a soul connection or not, but these values and complementary differences can cement a bond between two people. While this connection may have started as romantic, a friendship can blossom if you both see your similarities and differences bring you value. 

For instance, if you’re both types with an intense value system — let’s say, idealists who believe anything is possible — this alone can keep you drawn to each other as friends. Couple this with complementary differences, such as an Extravert helping an Introvert to explore new experiences, and it’s a perfect recipe for a friendship that can endure.

You have similar love styles

The seven love styles may seem restricted to romantic relationships because the foundation of the theory involves partnered love — but they are not. You can understand your personality type’s love language as another form of communication between all the people you love,  including your platonic friends. So if your ex and you both have a love style of Appreciation, for example, this could translate into a caring friendship where you both affirm each other with kind words and communicate your admiration for one another, even as exes.

You both consider each other’s feelings

Emotions can get complicated when you and your ex have spent so much time together as romantic partners. But that doesn’t mean a breakup will suddenly create friction so strong you no longer consider each other’s feelings. If you both have high emotional intelligence and can work through any emotions as they arise, it will be easier to mend fences and recognize the worth of a continued friendship.

You can forgive and let go

Have you ever heard of the saying "forgive and forget"? This can be especially important when it comes to maintaining a friendship with an ex. If you and your ex-partner have the ability to accept the past, forgive any wrongdoings, and move forward without holding grudges, it's a strong indication that you can transition to a platonic relationship. If you're both the type to harbor resentment or dwell on past hurts, staying friends could be a challenge. But if you both know how to give and receive forgiveness, you've got a good shot at a lasting friendship post-breakup. After all, everyone makes mistakes, and forgiveness is a key ingredient in any successful relationship, be it romantic or platonic.

You both enjoy and respect each other’s individual growth

Sure, you were a couple, but now you're individuals, pursuing your own lives and dreams. If you and your ex are the types who can genuinely be happy for each other's success and personal growth, even when it's not tied to a shared experience, it could be a great sign that you can remain friends. It means you've moved past the jealousy or possessiveness that might have been present in a romantic relationship. Now, your happiness comes from seeing each other thrive, even if it doesn’t involve you directly. This level of respect for each other’s individuality and independence is a strong indicator that a solid friendship could be on the cards.

Embracing the transition into friendship

You and your ex may stay friends if you are willing to put in the effort to keep it respectful, platonic and supportive. This trifecta doesn’t come easily to everyone, and it doesn’t work for every former romance. But if you and your ex share interests, are considerate of each other’s feelings, can set boundaries and share values, you may have a shot at staying friends for life.

While these clues will help you determine if you and your ex can stay friends, you’re the one who will know for certain. Make sure you choose friendship with your ex only if it is a relationship that benefits you, as well as the other person.

Cianna Garrison
Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.