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Maybe you're just starting highschool and you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of people standing in the middle of the hallways, some talking to friends, some trying to get to class before the bell rings.
Perhaps you're a little older and you just moved to a new apartment, and that apartment just so happens to be in New York, San Fran, Chicago, or some other huge bustling city.
Or it could be that you've just arrived at a death metal concert, and you want to find your friends without having to take a detour to the nearest ER.

Whatever the situation may be, this guide aims to help, well, guide you through those impossibly dense swarms of students, civilians, headbangers, or whomever. It can be pretty difficult getting through a crowd that wants to go the opposite way, arguably analogous to a salmon swimming upstream to mate (although most of us don't have such a reward at our destinations). Hell, in some cases, it might just be better to go with the flow, such as being at a concert where moshing is likely. In which case, this guide may not be as useful as a first aid guide or riot training. Nonetheless, hopefully, this guide is more than just common sense and will help you avoid accidentally running into that cute girl you've had your eye on and making you look like a clumsy idiot.

Attire

As you may know from experience, it's best not to carry things like a stack of heavy books or a heavy bookbag, because it makes it considerably harder to move out of the way of oncoming passersby. In an ideal situation, you'd have no stack of books, headphone cords, or loose clothing to hamper your movement through a crowd. Obviously, this isn't always the case. Try to limit these things as much as possible by wearing wearing something such as a small- to medium-sized drawstring bag (most easily found in athletic equipment stores) to store things like books, binders, notes, etc. Cargo pants are not a suitable substitute, as they usually can't carry anything bigger than a small paperback and tend to make it harder to walk because of the weighted objects swinging around your legs. If you're listening to music, try running the earbuds through the bottom of your shirt and out near your neck; Most earbuds are long enough to run from your iPod/mp3 player in your pocket to your ears. As a bonus, this also allows you to pull them out and let them dangle on your collar until you can listen to them again (I'm not sure if this works as well for girls. Theoretically, it should...). As I stated earlier, loose clothing can also get in the way. Wearing clothes that actually fit you is the best option, since you're a lot less likely to get snagged on or trip over something. If you're of average height and width, this shouldn't be such a new concept to you. Also, don't sag your pants. It makes you look like a fool and just makes things unnecessarily harder. As for shoes, tennis shoes are the most versatile. Boots are usually too heavy and limit foot and ankle movement, while flip-flops/sandals are not only easily broken (especially if someone steps on your heel mid-step), but hard to run in, which gives us a nice little transition to the next part:

Movement

Most importantly, you should be somewhat nimble and light on your feet. If you're just not one of those graceful kind of people, you can always use your bookbag as a small, makeshift shield and charge through the crowd, though it's highly not recommended that you do so.
The ability to weave in and out of throngs of people is an invaluable skill in large schools and well-populated cities. It's been my experience that being able to sidestep people and roll with the punches is a much better and more effective method of reaching your destination than holding your ground and powering through the crowd. Try to anticipate peoples' paths, and react accordingly. In the beginning, you'll probably have a lot of situations in which you're awkwardly trying to pass someone in a narrow hallway or on a busy sidewalk, but don't worry; like almost everything, you'll get better with practice. Generally, the crowd will have two lanes, much like a road. People will stick to the right side unless they're trying to pass you or turn around a corner. You'll soon find that when friends tend to walk side by side, and in large numbers (3-4+), they'll start to barricade your route. In that case, there's two main options:

  • Barrel through their blockade. Usually not a smart option unless you want to piss someone off, or you have a horde of flesh-eating zombies stumbling towards you to devour your delicious brain.
  • Wait for a breach in their defenses, then slip through. This is probably the best way to go (or at least the politest), although this method can take a long time, sometimes to the point where option #1 begins to look more and more appealing.
Once you become adept at predicting where people are going, you can get to classes and meetings on time and keep the higher-ups happy. Hope this guide has helped, even a little.


Author is not responsible for any dropped books or spilled coffee that may occur even after reading this guide. However, he's cool with being credited for inspiring a lasting, wonderful relationship if you happen to collide with that aforementioned cute girl and just so happen to touch hands while scrambling to pick up books.