We’ve all been there: You’re walking on campus and you take a moment to look up from your phone, only to spot someone 20 steps away who you would much rather avoid seeing. Instead of sucking it up and just engaging in that one-second interaction, we would rather avoid any acknowledgement of their existence. To help students avoid the unavoidable in the least-obvious way, The McGill Tribune has a few tips on how to escape an unwanted on-campus encounter.
Avoid eye contact
First and foremost, if you spot this person and don’t want to deal with small talk, do not make eye contact. If you pretend that you never see them, the chances are that they will likely not go out of their way to engage with you either. If you both happen to spot each other at the same time, act aloof. After you see them, pretend that you have not just yet processed their presence. The other person will probably be confused as to why you completely avoided them, and, in turn, may avoid you in the future—so keep that in mind.
Do some studying
In order to avoid a conversation with an approaching peer, pretend you’re on your way to the most important exam of your McGill career. Pull out your notebook—or even better, a textbook—and do some “reading” on your walk to class. If you look laser-focused, the person will feel rude if they try to interrupt you for a quick chat.
Duck into the nearest classroom
This solution is not always the best as you may walk into an uncomfortable situation—like an important meeting between a student and a professor or a fourth year’s seminar presentation. However, if you’re desperate for a more elaborate escape, darting from the path you’re on into a hidden location is guaranteed to help you avoid someone. If possible, try not to stop in your tracks and walk in the opposite direction—nothing could be more obvious.
Drop your belongings
When you see that unwanted someone coming your way, drop everything in your grasp. By making it look like their sight distracted you enough to make you drop your most prized possessions, they will feel so guilty that they won’t dare approach you. The best part is that while they walk by, you’ll be too busy picking up whatever you dropped to feel inclined to say anything. Although this may result in a broken iPhone screen, it’ll be worth it.
Pretend you’re on an emotional phone call
If the person you’re trying to avoid always acknowledges you and forces uncomfortable small talk even when it’s obvious they should just let you be, it may be necessary to take additional steps in ignoring them. If you’ve tried it all and can’t get them off your back, consider embarrassing yourself, and pretend you’re on an extremely emotional phone call. Although you may get some strange looks on campus, pulling out the water works and crying for your mom on the phone is a sure-fire way to make sure that unwanted someone leaves you alone the next time they pass you.