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How to best avoid a former flame (insert fire emoji here)

Forum Staff

When we all toured Washington University however long ago, some apathetic tour guide explained how great it was that Wash. U. is a mid-sized university. How you will always see people you know around campus but can still meet new people regularly. What that poor, exhausted student failed to mention was the exaggerated Murphy’s Law effect Wash. U. has for those people you’ve seen less than fully clothed. Wash. U. is the perfect size to run into your former flame be they hook-up, ex, or just a Saturday night DFMO (“dance floor make-out,” for the uninitiated) on a much too consistent basis. To counteract the unnatural laws of nature, Forum Staff has put together their best suggestions for avoiding that one special someone.

Surround yourself constantly in a high school-esque “friend pack.” Stay in the middle on your way to events at all times and ensure that you can go undetected as your group moves from location-to-location. Think of yourselves as the wolves from “Twilight,” or if that concept creeps you out, perhaps model your team after the raunchier “Bad News Bears.” On the other hand, if you’re like me and realize having a wolf-pack to guard you is a ridiculous concept given your lack of friends, your phone can hide your face really well. Just pretend to be texting someone or play a game of 2048 (that way, it looks like you’re aggressively interested in the screen). You can avoid eye contact and prevent the oh-so-dreaded “hello” that can be unreasonably uncomfortable for all involved parties. —Peter Dissinger

Important question: do you like coffee? Yes? Well, actually, that doesn’t matter. Does your ex like coffee? If you answered no, stop reading and get better taste in exes. Otherwise, avoiding your ex is actually quite simple. Text them and invite them to get coffee with you. Give them that whole “I’m-ready-to-be-friends-and-every-time-I-see-pictures-of-you-on-Facebook-with-other-people-I’m-SO-okay-with-it” spiel. Set up a time. A place. Now you’re probably thinking: “But Noa, this makes no sense—it sounds like you’re making me do the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to be helping me with.” Ah, but I’m not finished. Now that you know exactly where your ex will be and when—just don’t show up. See? Ex perfectly avoided. —Noa Yadidi

The question is not how to avoid a former flame, but how to get him to avoid you. Answer: be weird. Like, really weird. Be the person he wishes he never dated. Listen to music without headphones in the library. Bring a very pungent chicken salad to class and eat it loudly. Play with the squirrels by pretending you are one. Sing while you walk (especially effective if you’re not a good singer). Take a nap in the library and snore. Don’t shower and brag about how long it’s been since you showered. In no time, you’re going to be seeing much less of him—because every time he sees you, he mysteriously disappears. Problem solved. However, you’re now going to have to deal with your new reputation as “that weird girl.” —Ariel Kravitz

Because we live in a terrifying world of too much technology, there’s obviously an app for that. What better way to avoid that teaching assistant you got a little too personal with or the Harry’s hookup (R.I.P.) who wouldn’t leave fast enough in the morning than to stalk their every move with the help of your handy-dandy smartphone? The Split app uses the built-in location tracker on social media apps like Instagram and Twitter (that we’ve all accidentally allowed access to our whereabouts) to make sure that a given area is clear of anyone you want to avoid. Or, if creepiness isn’t really your style, you could always just suck it up when you see them and give the awkward half-smile, head-nod that we all know and love. —Rachel Katzin

All you have to do is become the perfect, banal student. Go to class, eat lunch, go to class, study on the third floor of the Olin Library (in one of the little cubicles), eat dinner in your room by ordering it to-go, prepare for next day’s classes, get ready for bed and then fall asleep by 9 p.m. The only flaw to this plan would be if you were naive and innocent enough to sign up for the same classes as your ex. If this is the case: I do not have any more advice for you on this matter. —Jeff Kang

The principle behind avoiding a former flame is a simple one: You must make sure your schedules never align. Since you and your former flame were once dating, it is probably the case that your schedules are naturally pretty similar. Given these assumptions, we can deduce that the solutions to this problem must involve schedule changing, and that, the more radical the schedule change, the greater the likelihood that you will never encounter your ex. So, clearly, the best way to avoid a former flame is to become nocturnal. If you and your ex both sleep eight hours a night, this plan is guaranteed to prevent you from encountering your ex at least 16 hours of every day. Sounds pretty effective to me. —Ethan Kerns

Did you ever want to be invisible? Now’s your chance to hone your ninja skills. Duck into bushes whenever you see someone who sorta-kinda-maybe resembles your ex walking in the distance. If you’re really obsessive about avoiding your former flame, keep your map open on the WUSTL app so you know which nearby buildings you can go into. Yes, this will take a lot of time out of your schedule, and yes, a few heads might turn when you disappear behind a tree on your way to class. But don’t worry—you got this. —Ella Chochrek

Invest in a flywheel. We all know that one guy who has one, just zipping across campus like he has no care in the world. That nonchalant appearance is all a facade though. Flywheel guy has exactly one care in the world: avoiding his hook-ups. There is actually no better way to avoid a former flame than blowing past them at approximately 35 mph. You can’t stop and talk because momentum and whatnot. It’s foolproof. (Note: every assumption made about flywheel guy is conjecture. There’s a strong chance he actually doesn’t have a care in the world.) —Wesley Jenkins

Stay in your room. You can’t run into anyone from your past if you shut yourself in and refuse to move on with your life (Samantha, please take me back). —Aaron Brezel