• Tuesday, March 03, 2015

How to Avoid Unwanted Attention

Sarah Anjum Bari

We live in a world today where communication is perhaps the biggest part of our lives. Whether we live a few houses away or continents apart, we are almost always in touch. While it usually comes in handy to be able to reach anyone anytime, sometimes the constant ringing of the phone and relentless calls for conversation (both digital and in person) become exhausting.

It is from months and months of subtly (and successfully) managing to avoid unwanted attention that I am able to list the following 4 easy ways to enjoy your personal space without coming off as anti-social.
Be Assertive: There really is no better alternative to honesty. All tricks and subtleties are unnecessary in comparison if you can manage to make it obvious that you need your personal space. Be it with friends, family or a better half, it is imperative to let people know where your personal boundaries lie. They need to know that perhaps you don't appreciate late night or constant phone calls or that maybe you don't enjoy being spoken to when you're reading or writing. Set up your personal limits and let the world know about them.
Know when to say “No”: A common misconception, in my opinion, is to keep saying “no” to whatever plans or propositions. Not only is that plain rude and bordering on annoying, it actually has the complete opposite effect of avoiding attention. You become the mysterious girl or boy that everyone wants to get to know and your personal life gets dragged into even more scrutiny. The key is to maintain a balance between being friendly and open enough to satiate people's curiosity, yet aloof enough that your life doesn't become an open book. Say yes to the plans you think you might actually enjoy, because it really is unhealthy to stay holed up at home all the time. But also learn to graciously refuse the plans that make you think you'd rather watch paint dry.
Being available on text, but not for phone calls: This one is rather funny and some of you might even hate me for this, seeing as how I'm practically giving away a secret. Avoiding phone calls from people who are not your best friend (never your best friend) makes it apparent that you are not one for mundane small talk. Being prompt to read and respond to text messages, on the other hand, allows you to screen out the genuinely important messages from the unnecessary ones.
Social Media Privacy Settings: I'm sure we will all agree that the one area of our lives that needs the highest level of security is our social media activity. While almost everyone is fairly adept at making their Facebook accounts sufficiently private, a surprising amount of people seem to overlook the godsend that is the privacy settings of Whatsapp. Also applicable to Viber texts, being able to turn off the “last seen” feature on my texts has by far been the smartest move I've made in ages. No longer do I have to explain to people why I was online till 4:55 am and still chose not to reply to their messages. The sense of privacy is pure bliss.
With the world around us evolving evermore into an interconnected web of conversations, it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy some “me time.” Sometimes, we just need to be able to tune out all the attention and interaction and enjoy some solitary peace.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2014

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