How to Avoid People

Two Methods:Avoiding People in GeneralAvoiding a Specific Person

It can be difficult to avoid people, particularly when those people are seeking out your company. However, there are steps that you can take to make yourself unavailable, whether you want to avoid a specific person or you just need a break from people in general. Understand the reasons why you want to avoid people, and bear in mind that you may not be able to avoid people forever.

Method 1
Avoiding People in General

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    Consider why you want to avoid people. Many people are naturally introverted, and simply need time to recharge after social interaction. If you suffer from depression or social anxiety, however, you may consider seeking help.[1]
    • Introversion is perfectly normal. Introverted personality types tend to draw their mental energy from being alone, whereas extroverted personality types tend to draw their energy from time spent with people. Give yourself time and space. Do what you need to do in order to feel balanced.
    • If you aren't sure whether you're introverted, or you'd like to explore your personality further, consider taking a personality test like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.[2] Be aware that while personality tests may give you insight into yourself, they may not give you the whole picture.
    • Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, can lead people suffer from extreme shyness and fear social interactions like meeting new people, speaking to others, or social events. This fear may focus on being judged or scrutinized by others about how you look, what you say, or what you assume people are thinking about you.[3] If you think that you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder, consider speaking with a counselor or therapist.
    • Depression is characterized by a sad, hopeless mood, along with a loss of interest or pleasure in things that usually interest you. Many people with depression wind up withdrawing from friends, family, and loved ones, but support form these loved ones can be one of the best ways to bounce back from depression.[4] If you feel that you're suffering from depression, tell someone--a friend, a family member, anyone close to you. Consider seeking help from a professional counselor or therapist.
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    Stay Home. The best way to avoid people is to stay home. There are people outside, so don't go outside.
    • Read a book or watch a movie. Explore the Internet. Play a game. Do whatever strikes your fancy.
    • Consider turning your phone off, or putting it on "silent". Turn off Internet-based chat apps like Facebook Chat, Skype, or Google Messenger.
    • Bear in mind that this may not be a long-term solution for you. Staying home for a day is one thing; staying home for a week or a month is entirely another.
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    Don't be approachable. If you must go out, you can give off certain attitudes and social cues which will deter people from approaching you.
    • Don't make eye contact. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Eye contact can be a social cue that you want to interact with someone: it initiates connection and establishes mutual awareness. Look at your phone, at a book, at the world around you, or at your feet--just not into anyone's eyes!
    • Wear headphones or earbuds. Listen to music, listen to podcasts, or just wear headphones to deter people. Whether you're riding the train, walking down a street, or sitting in a park, people may be more hesitant to approach you if you have headphones in.
    • Read. Stick your nose into a book, a newspaper, a Kindle or an iPad. Absorb yourself in what you're reading, and people may be hesitant to disturb you.
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    Go to a remote place. If you want to avoid people, go where there are no people.
    • Consider going camping for a weekend. Get away from the hustle and bustle of life in a populated area. Make sure to do your research and properly prepare for the trip.
    • Visit a county, state, or national park. Check your area for open space preserves, national forest, and wilderness areas. Go for a long hike, or just sit and take in the silence. Be sure to secure any appropriate permits and heed the park rules.
    • Be aware that you may encounter people even in wilderness areas. There are billions of people swarming this planet, and it's going to be very difficult to avoid all of them. If you do encounter another person in the wild: be polite, say hello, and they continue along your way.

Method 2
Avoiding a Specific Person

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    Know the person's schedule and habits. If you know where someone will be at a given time, it's much easier to avoid them.
    • Find out where they work, if you don't know already. Avoid their place of work. If you work with the person, ask your manager if you can work a different shift.
    • Avoid attending parties and other gatherings where you know that this person will be present--or try to stagger your attendance so that you aren't there at the same time. If an event has been organized over the Internet, check the guest list before you show up.
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    Change your routines. Identify when and where you encounter this person, and avoid those situations. If you find that you keep running into someone, changing your habits may keep them out of your hair.
    • If you can't avoid the situations in which you usually encounter the person--say, you have a class together, or you work together--consider taking bigger steps: drop the class, or find a different job. Try to spend your time interacting with other people so that you don't find yourself alone with this particular person.
    • Take a different route to school or work each day. Take a different route home. If you usually hang out somewhere after school, consider heading straight home.
    • If you are worried that someone is following you or watching you, change your routines more often. Never take the same way home. Tell a parent, a teacher, or a responsible friend.
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    Avoid the person on social media. Ignore their messages, and be careful about the personal information that you post. Your online life may be more public than you realize.[5]
    • Consider blocking the person on Facebook. Consider "unfriending" the person, and setting your privacy settings so that they can't see your posts. This step may become necessary if a person won't stop harassing you.
    • Delete the person from any relevant social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. The less connected you are to a person, the easier it will be to avoid them.
    • Be aware that if you block or delete a person from your social media profile, he or she may notice. This can send a strong message that you don't want to associate with the person--but it can also inflame the situation further.
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    Don't pick up the phone for any unknown numbers. Let the call ring until it goes to voicemail. If you're trying to avoid someone, but they are trying to reach you, they may disguise their number or use a phone that is not their own.
    • If your caller ID says "restricted" or "private", do not answer. If the call is important, the caller will leave a voicemail or find another way to reach you.
    • If you live in the U.S., many telephone service providers offer a service that helps you identify your last call: if you miss a call from an unknown number and you'd like to know who it was, dial *69. You will hear the telephone number associated with your last call and, in some areas, the date and time of the call.[6]
    • Consider blocking a number so that the person cannot call you from their own phone.[7]
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    Avoid making eye contact with the person. Eye contact is a cue for social interaction, and they may take this connection as an invitation to speak with you.
    • If you do accidentally make eye contact, do not hold their gaze. Look away quickly, and find someone else that you can interact with.
    • If you need to walk somewhere and the person is in the way, give them a wide berth. Consider waiting until they leave. Do not give them a reason to speak to you.
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    Avoid being alone with the person. There is safety in numbers. Spend your time in groups, speaking with others, so that you don't find yourself interacting one-on-one with the person you're trying to avoid.
    • If you're in a group, the person you're trying to avoid may find it intimidating to approach you. Anywhere you go--to class, to lunch, even to the bathroom--try to keep at least one person with you.
    • If you absolutely must interact with the person one-on-one, try to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Do not let them bait you into keeping the conversation going. Make an excuse ("I need to get to class." or "I'm late for an appointment.") and get out of there.
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    Consider getting a restraining order if you feel that you're in danger. If you are trying to avoid someone and they won't leave you alone, you may want to involve the authorities in order to put a stop to the problem.
    • Restraining orders can take various forms. You can get a restraining order to keep someone from harassing you; you can get a restraining order to keep a person a certain distance away from you (i.e. 50 or 100 yards) at all times; and you can get a restraining order to force someone to move out of your home.[8]
    • If a person is making you feel uncomfortable, call someone. Tell a friend, a family member, a teacher, or any responsible adult. Make sure that someone close to you knows where you are.
    • If you find yourself in immediate danger, call 911. Tell the dispatcher where you are, who you are, and who is following you. Get to a safe place, like a classroom, a store, a friend's house, or a heavily-populated area. Lock yourself into a bathroom, if you must, and call 911 from there.
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    Consider confronting the person. It can be stressful to spend your time walking on eggshells, trying to avoid someone. If you speak to the person directly, you may be able to resolve your problem.
    • Think about what the problem is, and plan out exactly what you're going to say. Are you causing the problem here, or are they? Try to keep your emotions in check; be calm, rational, and patient.
    • Be careful. Think about how the person will react. If you're worried that he or she may become violent, consider using a mediator--bring a mutual friend or family member, or hire a professional mediator.

Article Info

Categories: Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions