This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Sometimes you’ve really had it. The work week was shitty, your commute had you pressed up against the bodies of strangers, and now, you’re wondering what decisions in your life have led to this miserable existence. One thing is for certain: You need some alone time.
And then, right on time, someone you totally don’t want to talk to wants to talk to you. Or invite you “for a drink.” They slide into your DMs over and over again, or hit on you—perhaps all of these things. Classic.
Sure, human interaction is all well and good, right? But, so is returning to the solace of your home to watch Netflix and vape. I’m sure some social butterflies are reading this and wondering who would be so sour on humanity that they’d need advice on escape plans. This probably isn’t for you.
Make up an elaborate excuse.
Just please do not make up one that is about a loved one getting seriously injured in an accident or having cancer. That shit is not even believable and most definitely will give you bad karma—if that is something that really exists.
As someone who recently started using the “mute” button on iMessage conversations, I can tell you that this is an escape tool everyone should have in their pocket. An annoying clueless person can send you all of the messages they want, but none of these will lead to an anxiety-provoking notification popping up on your screen. When you’re ready, you can look at your “text message conversation,” which may actually just look like a person talking to themselves, and consider if blocking is necessary.
Get on a pretend phone call.
An unnamed VICE staffer discussed one of his go-to escape tactics:
“I do this thing where I make pretend phone calls just to leave a joint without talking to people… because I want to leave the joint without talking to people. It’s that simple. I don’t want your “see ya later,” or accidental fist-bump-shake. I’m just done. If it’s the middle of the day, and I’m hugging my phone to my ear as I walk toward the door, I’m not coming back.”
Look at your phone, pretend you got an important message, and walk away from the situation.
Like the last one, with a twist. Sometimes looking at your phone with an expression of alarm on your face and running to the bathroom is more believable than being on a phone call in the year of 2018.
An evergreen way to avoid people. Just be aware that some call this behavior “abusive” now. But, if someone is making you feel really uncomfortable and not respecting your boundaries, plus you think they’ll act irrational or even violent if you tell them how you really feel, sometimes you just have to. If that’s the case, do not waste your time feeling bad about it. Looking out for yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.
“Work is just so crazy busy right now, sorry!”
This isn’t even an excuse because it probably is just the truth if you’re an adult who works.
Just say “no.”
Saying “no” is an underrated form of self-care. You don’t need to agree to every social engagement or entertain every person who flirts with you. Sometimes, bluntly declining is just the move. Unfortunately, some people are super persistent—especially those who really want to have sex with or date you and can’t take a hint. If someone can’t take no for an answer, that is a serious red flag. You probably do not want this person in your life, even on the periphery. Abort.
Maybe you’re just not feeling it today. But if you have to reschedule on someone over and over, that’s a sign that you probably don’t care about having them around. It’s best to be straightforward if you can be and let them know you’re not interested in spending time with them if it gets to the point of serial rescheduling.
Block them on every form of social media (and their phone number) and act like you don’t know who they are when you run into them.
This option is for when the mute button and your suspicious lack of replies somehow does not send a clear signal. What you’re experiencing may even be considered harassment. Word of advice while we’re at it: If someone ignores message after message from you, it is most likely because they are not interested in talking to you and not because their phone is broken.
Change your life so that you don’t have to interact with them.
Seems extreme, but if someone is repetitively invading your personal space and time, maybe it’s time to look at other options. Do you need to change jobs? Social circles? Move? Take a break from social media?
Maybe just tell them the truth about how you’re feeling.
Honesty really can be the best policy sometimes. But if this person can’t accept rejection (like that person who just doesn’t get that you have no friend chemistry) feel free to opt for a more sinister escape plan. When someone doesn’t respect your truth and always prioritizes their feelings, they have no place in your life.
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