ADVICE: How do I avoid awkward encounters on campus?


Maddie Barron

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By Maddie Barron and Maddie Khaw

Dear Maddies,

How do I deal with seeing people I don’t like on campus? I keep seeing my enemies and exes everywhere I go. 

Sincerely, Avoidant Amy


Dear Amy, 

Navigating the tumultuous relationships of Emerson is a toughie, however, I am a seasoned expert. As a recovering hater and high priestess of the dark arts, I know how to strut past my mortal enemies in the dining hall. The highlight of my career can be traced back to the one time my mind powers pushed someone I didn’t want to see anymore to drop out of Emerson. I would truly recommend this as the most efficient way to just completely remove any miserable little peers from your eye line. If this sounds difficult because you lack the Book of Darkness that only I have in my possession, I suggest buying the most miserable pair of Morrissey-esque wire headphones, blaring a Weezer song, sucking in your cheekbones to appear gaunt and effortless, and holding your head high. Beware of tripping on the uneven sidewalk, it destroys the image you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. 

It also helps to be tall, so you can look beyond your enemies and establish your superiority. Emerson is chock-full of shorts kings (and other royalty alike), and I stand out like a sore thumb, despite being of average height. I would suggest investing $250,000 to get height-extension surgery. It’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of glory. You can reap the benefits of having chiseled, elongated calves. This is something the French were super into during the 1700s, so why not bring it back? 

With peace and love, 

Maddie B. 


Dear Amy,

I completely understand your struggle. This sort of thing is bound to happen at least once a day, given the size of Emerson’s campus. And always at the most inconvenient times, right? Dragging yourself to the DH on a Saturday morning after a long night, waiting in line for your omelet—WHAM! There’s that guy you hooked up with freshman year. Waiting in line in the Max at midnight, all geared up in your hoodie, sweatpants, and slippers, arms cradling a can of sour cream and onion Pringles and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, turn around and—jump scare! That annoying kid from your class, the one in your group project who never did a single ounce of work. 

For me, my most awkward interactions come from those sort-of-friendly-sort-of-stranger acquaintances; when I pass them on Boylston, run into them in the laundry room, or, worst of all, find myself alone in an elevator with them. You know who I’m talking about: that person you met during orientation week freshman year, somewhat befriended, then promptly unfriended upon realization that you really have nothing in common and had simply been latching onto each other in that cold-blooded, every-man-for-himself scramble for friendship in the first couple weeks of school. Awkward trauma bond moment!

The only advice I can give you if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation is to stick to your guns. Firstly, avoid eye contact. If you act like you never saw them, then you don’t have to go through the panicky deliberation we know all too well—what do I say? Do I say hi? Do I start a conversation? I really don’t feel like starting conversations.

Don’t forget to use your resources. Go on your phone. Fake a call if you have to. Lean on those Gen Z tendencies to stick our heads into technology and dissociate from the world around us. Even if you don’t have anything new to scroll through, fake it ‘til you make it. Find something, anything to do. Personally, I find that in the elevator with semi-acquaintances is a great time to refresh my email inbox. Just yesterday, for example, I completed the student agreement that the Emerson Registrar had been pestering me to fill out for the past three weeks, all in the hopes of avoiding eye contact with a former friend-turned-stranger. You can do this too—escape awkward interactions all while getting shit done. Talk about productivity!

I hope this helps you dodge your exes and maybe even empty your inbox.

Happy hiding,

Maddie K.  

Need advice? Visit the story highlight on our Instagram, @berkeleybeacon, and fill us in on all the deets through our anonymous form. Xoxo, The Maddies