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How to avoid people you hate at Durham

Say goodbye to those awkward encounters


Like many uni towns, Durham is too small for its own good. You can’t walk five paces without seeing someone you know, something that can be as much a curse as it is a blessing. As a result, avoiding that awkward ex or dodging that embarrassing someone can be very difficult.

What can you do about it? As much as you want to, you can’t just hide away from the world like a hermit crab. Fortunately for you, my anti-social friend, there are steps you can take to avoid that specific person who you would do anything not to talk to.

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Checking if the coast is clear

Avoiding places they are likely to be

This one is easy. If the person you want to avoid is likely to be in a certain place at a certain time, you know where to go to avoid them. For example, if they live in a particular college, never go to that college. No bar crawls. No visits. No socials. Nothing. If you know that person will be in a lecture at a specific time, make sure you don’t go anywhere near that lecture hall. It is as simple as that.

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Or you could buy a Ghillie suit

Social media

Social media can bring people together. Why not use it to keep people apart?

Always add the person you want to avoid on Snapchat: this way you can use Snapmaps to keep an eye on them. You can see which club, pub or restaurant they are at which means you know where to avoid. You can stay clear from awkward confrontations whilst feeling like James Bond. It's a win-win situation.

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Cue the James Bond theme


To master the art of avoiding people, you must be able to dodge any situation, including being asked out.

Let’s set the scene. You are preparing for a cosy night in. Then you hear your phone vibrate. Oh no. You glance at the screen:

“Are you going out tonight?”

You don’t want to go out. You want to stay in and watch Netflix. Netflix makes you happy. Netflix doesn’t care. But you don't want to appear to be rude. You need an excuse.

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I would go out tonight but I haven't got a stitch to wear

The answer is easier than you might think. Simply join the cast of a play, a sports team, or anything that requires even the slightest amount of commitment. This means you have a ready made “get out of jail free card” up your sleeve: “Sorry, I can’t go out, I have a big game tomorrow. I need to get as much sleep as I can.”

Or: “Sorry, I can’t go out, I need to learn my lines.”

Actually doing your degree

This may be a rogue suggestion, but you could just do your degree, after all, it's what you're paying £9k for.

“Sorry I can’t come out, I have to read this book on (insert your degree name here) for next week”.

This one is especially good for those of you doing humanities subjects with reading lists longer than the queues outside Players on a Wednesday night.

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Damn you Plato

Now you can go about your day free from the fear of running into a tricky situation. You're welcome.