Picture this: You’re walking down your college campus’s main walkway after your last lecture, enjoying the breezy warm weather (assuming you’re from a part of the country that is blessed to see the sunshine) with the latest Top 50 songs blasting in your brain.
It’s the ideal setup as you’re confidently making your way down the path, waving at a few classmates you recognize with the internal soundtrack blasting like your very own movie scene. Everything is perfect — until you’re brought back to reality by an overly-peppy girl wearing a bright red T-shirt.
“Hey, you should join (insert name of one of the hundreds of student organizations on your campus)!” she chirps. Annoyed, you half-smile, half-wince as you begrudgingly accept the jarring neon flyer she hands you, too polite to decline.
Just as you’re about to continue on your merry way, some more people run up to you with over-the-top enthusiasm. They’re all wearing matching shirts as well and are rapidly approaching. Unfortunately for them, you’re not looking to join their org.
Maybe you’re already involved in other clubs that interest you on campus. Perhaps you’re taking a huge academic load this semester and just don’t have time for extracurriculars. Possibly you’re just not interested in any of the clubs that are available. If any of these scenarios sound oddly familiar to you, try one of these tips to avoid getting flyered by clubs on your college campus.
1. Plan accordingly
Most colleges have their version of a club fair designed to give students an opportunity to explore their interests and get plugged in around their university. There are a ton of different organizations all tailored to specific interests outside of academics.
Chances are your school will publicize this event long before it takes place so people know the details. Pay attention to these notices and where they’re happening on your campus. If you can’t be hassled to stop and chat or don’t want to get involved this semester, stay in your dorm and wait out the storm until it’s safe to venture outside again.
2. Take an alternate route
As soon as you spot the endless rows of tables lining your quad from afar, make a quick escape. Walk around a tree. Hide behind a bush. Simply turn around and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. The likelihood of someone chasing after you is slim because they’ll be too busy to notice you’re purposely avoiding them or they’ll decide to target an unsuspecting freshman instead.
However, this can only work if you know well in advance that your school is having their club tabling day out or if you have eagle eyes that can spot the orgs from miles away. It probably won’t work if you’ve been staring at your phone the whole time and look up only to realize you’re trapped and it’s too late.
3. Pretend your mom is calling
Or, better yet, actually call her! She’ll be happy you’ve finally made time to catch her up on your life and university adventures. That way if someone tries to offer you a flyer or invite you to his bake sale, you can put on your most apologetic expression and mouth “Sorry!” as you point to your phone.
Jabbering loudly on your phone might attract some curious attention from the casual passerby, but you’ll make your message loud and clear: You’re busy and can’t be bothered to stop and chat. Just don’t let your mom know that you’re calling her to avoid social interaction with other people.
4. Say you’re late to class
Sure Sarah from the Robotics Club wants to tell you all the benefits of joining her org, but you’re just not interested in what she has to say. You’d feel extremely bad interrupting her, but you really don’t want to stand around for another 20 minutes listening to her go on and on. Instead, politely let her know that you’re going to be late to your class.
This is the most valid excuse out there that won’t make you seem like a jerk who is just plain rude. Besides, this is a win-win all around. Sarah can save her breath, and you can finally make it to your lecture on time. No one will stop you from running away, either, because they’ll just assume that you overslept and have to sprint to the lecture hall to get a front row seat.
5. Be direct about your preferences
If any of the previous suggestions don’t suit your needs, perhaps the best way is to be honest. Maybe you’re not a vegan but someone is trying to convince you to join her club anyways. Politely accept the flyer (you can always throw it away later, just don’t toss it on the ground in plain sight because that’s, well, outright rude) and explain to her that you’re not interested.
This should work in most cases, especially when the club trying to solicit your membership is particularly pushy and the situation calls for directness. It might also be the most viable of all the other previous suggestions.
Club organizations can be a great way to get involved and discover new interests, but they can also be relentlessly pesky in recruiting new members. Whatever your reasons are for not joining a particular organization, these tips can help you fend off unwanted flyers.
If none of these suggestions work for you and all else fails, at the very least you’ll be doing something different and exciting. Who knows, you may have stumbled upon your newest hobby or made some new friendships.