Is it okay to compliment your ex, to end a text with “xoxo” or (as one Italian reader put it), “sweet talk” your ex? Or will that come across as needy?
I think it’s okay to compliment your ex. In fact I think you should compliment your ex more often. I also think it’s okay to “flatter” (sweet-talk) your ex once in a while.
I know. Some people say they hate the word “flattery”, and to even suggest that one should do it makes them shudder with disgust.
Although I come from a culture where flattery is the currency of daily interactions, I can understand why the word “flattery” rubs some people the wrong way. Many people who use flattery are either insincere or using it to try and get something. That would rub me the wrong way too.
But flattery or sweet-talk doesn’t have to be insincere. When used the right way, it can quickly warm up positive emotions and move things along more pleasantly.
For example saying “You look gorgeous” is surely better than pretending you don’t notice how much effort the person put into looking good. By offering positive reinforcement, you are not only making the person feel good about herself, you are also taking the small extra effort to actually show the person that you care about how she feels.
She may come back with “I don’t have my make-up on” to which you can respond with “You still look good”. But when you say “I couldn’t even tell you did not have make-up on” or “You look like you have make-up on”, you’ve crossed over to insincerity.
So yes, compliment your ex, but be sincere about it. Using compliments, flattery or sweet talk for personal gain has its own “come back to bite your ass” consequences. You can’t get round using flattery to always get what you want without starting to feel empty, phoney, lonely and depressed. You can never genuinely and deeply connect with others if you are manipulating their feelings.
Recognizing situations where flattery or sweet talk is appropriate is very important. That brings us to if it’s okay to end a text with “xoxo”.
For those of you who don’t know, xoxo is “hugs and kisses” (or something like that).
Whether or not to use “xoxo” depends on what kind of relationship you had. If both of you were openly expressive and generous with your affections, then “xoxo” wouldn’t raise any “needy” red flags. Your ex will know that’s just you being you.
Your ex may or may not attach any specific meaning to it, but it won’t make you come cross as needy and it won’t hurt your chances. It may actually ensure that you’re not put away in the friend zone.
But if “xoxo” is something both of you used sparingly, or expressions of affection was something either of you did only to express specific feelings, then it’s best to wait until your ex has warmed up and/or those specific feelings are once again there.
If you are afraid that your well-intended words might be misinterpreted, then let your ex take the lead. If they use it, you use it too. If they don’t, you don’t either.
Same goes for all terms of endearment and pet names.