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How to Break Up with an Extracurricular

Extracurriculars are a lot like relationships. Some people enter into a lot, some people avoid them altogether, and very few of us make great choices the first time around. This is especially true as a freshman in college-- as soon as you set foot on campus, you're overwhelmed by all the appealing options, and chances are you don't actually know what you really want for the long-term, so you end up with an extracurricular (or a significant other) that you'd very much like to be rid of. Trust me, I feel that.

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This is just for you.

For that reason, I've decided to provide you with a definitive guide on how to dump your extracurriculars. I am not EXPLICITLY saying that I have used all these tactics to end various romantic relationships, but let's just say that there's a reason that #5 is known as "The Andrew" among my high school friends. If it just so happens that these tactics are also completely effective in dumping a significant other, I will not be held liable for any broken hearts, but I will accept (and in fact, expect) fruit baskets as thanks from those who employ this guide.

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And don't you dare be stingy. This advice is priceless.

1. Straight-up tell them that you don't want to be in it anymore

Honesty is the best policy, despite the fact that it's the one that the fewest people actually follow. It's hard to acknowledge to yourself and to the other involved party that you've made a mistake, especially if you have to look them right in the face while you're doing it.

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And especially when their face looks like this.

Even though it's the hardest avenue, it's the fairest one, and the one that will likely be the best for both parties if you want to still be able to look these people in the eye after you quit their group. Everybody makes mistakes, and you're sure that their organization's aims are perfectly valid and worthwhile, but it's just not for you. Even if they're kinda pissed that you quit, they'll respect you more for making a clean break, and that'll make it easier to divide up whatever responsibilities you may have had between them until they find someone else to replace you. But who are we kidding? No one does this. Let's get into the real advice.

2. Ignore all their emails/pretend they went to spam

Just like pretending that that text your SO sent you never came through, pretending that you never got any of the emails your extracurricular sent you is a surefire way to express your disinterest or apathy without having to actually enact a direct confrontation. This is very rarely used as a standalone method, and is more often the first step in the process. Normally people who do this are in denial themselves-- you say to yourself, "I'll answer these when I have time" or "I'll get back to them in a minute", and though they beat on attempting to get your attention, your care for them is borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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Yes, that was a Great Gatsby reference. No, I'm not ashamed.

This only works for a while, though. Sometimes you're in a really forgiving or needy group, and sometimes they'll just fill you in on all the emails you ignored at the meetings. That's why, if you're serious about ending this once and for all, you should...

3. Just stop going to meetings altogether

You can do this one of two ways. You can either make excuses for every meeting or function, or you can just not address it and fall off the face of the earth. The first one is emotionally taxing to be sure-- and let's be real, you don't have a life--but people still tend to choose it over the second option for a variety of reasons.

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One of the reasons is that you're a coward.

Despite the great emotional burden that necessarily associates pretending to care about something you DEFINITELY don't care about, people often find it preferable to just cutting people off with no explanation. As appealing as that sounds on paper, it's hard (for most people) to be that heartless, and at the end of the day, the people in the group are people too, and they deserve to have their feelings considered. Again, honesty is the best way to do this, but if you were gonna do that, you wouldn't be this far in the article by now. If you don't care about burning bridges, though, you might as well...

4. Avoid all the individual members entirely 

The difficulty of this is actually inversely proportionate to the size of the organization. If you're in something huge, chances are you have a degree of relative anonymity and you can basically slip out unnoticed. If you're in a tiny extracurricular, though, your absence will be noticed, and will most likely be taken personally. For this reason, you'll probably find it necessary to adopt retrograde amnesia and avoid eye contact as much as possible wherever you go.This will prove almost impossible if the members are people in your classes or residential college or--heaven forbid--your own suite.
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That's basically a death sentence.

This whole problem, though, is predicated on the assumption that they are upset you're leaving because you're valuable and they rely at least somewhat on your fulfillment of your assigned duties. Want to avoid all that conflict and turmoil? Well, there's one way...

5. Be such an awful member that they kick you out

This is one surefire way to be sure that they'll be more than happy to let you go. How can you possibly be in the wrong if they're the ones kicking you out? You wanted to stay, but if the organization thinks they're better off without you, well, then there's nothing you can do. This method, however, is very hard to get away with. If you're a good actor, then you might be able to wing it, but if not, it's going to be hilariously obvious that you're trying to get them to kick you out.

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Not pictured: a good actor

In fact, if my theory of reality is correct and we all actually live in a rom-com, it will probably backfire and they'll just keep you in the organization out of spite. This method could really go either way, though. They could be so relieved that they don't have to worry about you screwing up the extracurricular anymore that they end up liking you more, and your relationship with them will actually benefit from the whole charade. Or they might just think that you're an irresponsible lout in all aspects of your life and that you're unfit to be their friend. In case you don't want to take that chance...

6. Pretend/let them know that you have tons of other obligations

This is probably the most respectable of the breakup methods-- the "it's not you, it's me" of extracurriculars. You took on too much and the burden of school/other extracurriculars/work/your drive-through dog-washing startup have grown to be too much and you have to make time somewhere. They're sure to understand that, because everyone has been there at one point or another in their lives. The level of honesty in this depends on your situation. I, for example, broke up with an extracurricular just this semester because I got promoted to an editorial position on this fine publication. Is that true? Yes. Could I have managed both?

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Thanks, Obama!

This is almost a surefire way to make a healthy, if somewhat sketchy, break. No one will be upset at you for trying to get better at time management. There are some elusive people, however, who manage to fail at every single one of the aforementioned methods. You aren't ballsy enough to tell the truth or deceptive enough to lie your way out. If you're one of those people, there's only one option left...

7. Fake your own death

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Just hear me out, alright?

I don't claim to be famous, or even to be worthy of fame. The past six tactics have gotten me out of some really regrettable relationships and extracurriculars, but I'm just a humble peasant like the rest of you reading this presumably are. This tactic, while a bit extreme, comes with the full recommendation of those who have pulled it off successfully, most notably Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Tupac.

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And Dino Spumoni, for those of you who come here to read esoteric jokes about discontinued cartoons.

Sometimes the burden of your questionable life choices has gotten so great that every reasonable path has been precluded and you have no choice but to completely start over as a new person. Perhaps you can assume the identity of a street sweeper. Maybe one of your relatives will harbor you and have you be a live-in maid, or maybe El Chapo is looking for someone to be on the run with. In my opinion, the best option flee the country and go to one that would welcome you with open arms. I've heard that Canada is very friendly.

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Well... most of the time.

Darby Mowell
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