Dear 100 Hour Board,
In the hierarchy of relationships most people would put it in the order: strangers, acquaintances, friends, SO. Almost everyone outside your family probably fits into one of these categories. These groups denote the amount of intimacy you have with that person and as time goes by people usually get bumped down a category if there's no contact. This is true for nearly everyone except exes. I don't know where they fit into the hierarchy. The amount of intimacy that you had means they can never really be strangers or even acquaintances but I don't want to be friends either. So how do you interact with people you used to date because they don't fit nicely into the little boxes you've created in your mind that dictate all of your social interactions?
-Just friends...or not
I think it's probably healthy to have period of time of being Super Strangers (no talking, passive-aggressively liking things on social media, scoping out, etc.). This lets the dust settle and allows some healing to happen if needed.
For me, this period has lasted anywhere from a week to a year+. After that I've returned to being friends-but-mostly-acquaintances with most people I've dated (which is 2-6 people, depending on how you count), and just plain ol' good friends with one or two.
And I like it a lot, actually. Once dating is clearly off the table, you can be great friends without feeling awkward or wondering What If, because you already played that game and lost. What you're left with is a person who knows you really well and vice versa, who (hopefully) still cares about you a lot and vice versa, so neither of you really have to filter yourselves or beat around bushes too much. It's pretty cool.
However, make sure you give yourself and your ex-SO appropriate time to heal from any heartbreak, and then continued space to be their own person. Otherwise it gets messy and annoying.
Also, pro-tip: people don't typically fit into nice little boxes. That might be a bigger issue right there.