My college campus, like many across the country, is a battlefield of warring causes. People stand outside by the sidewalks in support of different bandwagons, handing out 1/4 sheets of paper promoting events, promoting clubs, promoting social causes, and promoting products. Their tactic is simple: obstruct the sidewalk so you either A) have to take whatever piece of paper they’re waving in your face, or B) have to look like a complete jerk by walking a big arc around them while avoiding all possible eye contact. After all, when they stick that piece of paper out into the air toward you, you have to take it, right? No. No you don’t.
I have discovered the power of “No, thanks.” When the promotion-peddlers try to pass me a flyer, I no longer run around avoiding them like they have a disease. And I don’t politely take the piece of paper only to wastefully trash it right after taking it. I simply look them in the eye, politely say “No, thanks,” and keep walking without skipping a beat. I’m not rude about it. I don’t stop and yell “NO I DON’T WANT TO SIT THROUGH A HISTORY CLUB MEETING FOR FREE PIZZA!” It’s just, “No, thanks.” Two simple words that stops a flood of wasteful clutter and unwanted, unpetitioned material from ever making its way into my hands. The freedom is exhilarating.