Sharing tables: it’s OK to say no

Illustration by Rachel Dugo
Illustration by Rachel Dugo

I’m sitting in the library attempting to study for a midterm when a random person comes up to my table.

“May I sit here?” they ask, their hand placed firmly on one of the chairs, backpack ready to hit the ground the minute I say yes.

What happens next will blow your mind.

I say no, giving a brief apology while explaining that I prefer solitude when I study.

Although they don’t say anything as they move on to a different table, I can see it in their face that they’re cursing me internally and thinking to themselves: “Who the h- e- double hockey sticks does this girl think she is? She’s sitting at a table for four and has the balls to tell me that I can’t sit there, too? (Insert personal choice of profane or suggestive language here.)”

Yes, it’s true, I am one of those rare students who won’t let my peers sit at my table whether it be in the Marketplace Cafe or the library. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not channeling my inner Gretchen Wieners and it’s nothing against my fellow Wildcats.

I don’t always mind letting people join my table at lunch or in the library, and am normally happy if they ask to sit with me, rather than just plop down without a word.

However, some days I’m just either feeling super unsociable, or I really need to get some studying done and can’t be bothered.

And yes, I know what everyone’s probably thinking: “Well, why are you taking up a table for four if you want to be alone? Go sit on the third floor if you don’t want to be bothered.”

My only response: Why doesn’t everyone else do that instead of trying to sit at the specific table on which I’ve already spread out the entire contents of my backpack? Not only is their argument weak, but there’s no way those little cubbies on the third floor are going to have enough room for everything I need to study.

I’d rather be seen as a Regina George and ace my midterms than be Cady Heron, stuck with the Mathletes because I tanked my grades trying to be extra nice.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.