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44 Stress-Free Ways to Ignore Someone & Stop People from Hurting You

Want to ignore someone and regain your sanity and peace of mind? Sometimes, learning to mentally block someone can give you the peace you need.

how to ignore someone

The secret to ignoring someone isn’t the same as ignoring an actor you don’t like. You can’t just change the channel and avoid them. It’s much harder in real life.

You’d think if you don’t like someone, ignoring them should be easy as pie – but it is human nature not to do that. We’re all wired to want to be liked, so as much as we say we want to ignore someone, it’s not always that easy. Strangely when we don’t like something, we often get sucked into that dislike, annoyance, or even hate.

You end up resenting them or even being angry at them, which are exhausting emotions to hold. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn to how to ignore people without drama and negativity. [Read: How to ditch the bad company in your life]

Why would you want to ignore someone?

There are several reasons you might ignore someone – one of them being not liking the person. Whether it’s a coworker, a friend, or even an acquaintance, you’re ignoring them because you don’t like them as a person. That’s a valid reason.

Sometimes, we find somebody’s personality annoying and unbearable, and it’s best to cut ties. Another reason to ignore someone may be they did something bad to disappoint you. If it’s a friend, maybe they spread a rumor about you, or stabbed you in the back.

If it’s someone you dated, well… obviously you’d only ignore them because they broke your heart, and you want nothing to do with them. In that case, learning how to ignore people is necessary.

It might sound harsh, but it’s a valuable life skill to know how to ignore someone. It doesn’t make you a bad person – it only makes you human. [Read: The psychology of ignoring someone: Why we do it & ways to fix it]

There are also some specific types of people you usually need to go out of your way to ignore:

1. The quintessential jerk

These are the people you want to avoid at all costs. They are obnoxious bullies who actively put you down with insults and demeaning comments. Their idea of social interaction is antagonizing everyone and making their lives miserable.

Avoiding a person like this not only prevents conflict, but is also a way to let them know that when someone ignores you, it’s time to get your act together. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

2. The constant whiner

These people might not be jerks in terms of personality, but their behavior makes you feel pessimistic. They ruin your day by constantly complaining about their problems, which are often simple and superficial.

They’ll come to you for advice, but whatever advice you do give will fall on deaf ears. They think that the whole world should mourn with them if they have problems.

These people are also known as “ask-holes.” [Read: How to deal with negative people and stop them sapping your energy]

3. The narcissistic braggart

You’ve met one of these at least once in your life. They’re the ones who steal the spotlight in any conversation. They are self-centered, attention-grabbing jerks who think that they are infallible and should be worshiped by the people around them.

These are also the types who talk behind your back. And just talk a lot in general. [Read: How to quickly spot narcissistic traits in a relationship]

The best ways to ignore someone without being rude

Ignoring someone doesn’t mean you have to be rude. It may initially sound mean or cruel, but it is also something you must do for your own happiness. You don’t want to hurt someone you care about – be it an old friend or a coworker – but cutting them out may be exactly what you need.

If you want to ignore someone without hurting their feelings, you certainly can. Consider the following tips to help you avoid people— be it ignoring someone you love or just an annoying office mate.

1. Do not reach out to them

You need to remember that you aren’t obliged to like every person on this planet. Not only is that exhausting, but it’s also unrealistic. You won’t like everyone you meet, just as people aren’t always going to like you – and that’s okay.

Don’t keep trying to talk to them on social media, through text messages, or in person. Give them the silent treatment if you don’t feel like that’s going to help you stay positive. That way, they’re less likely to reach out to you. [Read: Toxic people – 48 warning signs and the best ways to deal with them]

2. Avoid eye contact as much as possible

Stay strong and avoid making eye contact when you’re around them at work or events.

When we make eye contact with someone, it’s almost a silent invitation for them to approach and engage in conversation. Remember, you’re trying to learn how to ignore people here, not how to be approachable! [Read: Eye contact attraction – it’s powerful, but is it fatal or real?]

3. Explain why you’re avoiding them if they did something to upset you

If a clean break seems harsh to you, or you just want to explain to the person you’re ignoring why you are ignoring them, you can. If you’re dealing with someone who hurt you somehow and you want them to know your reason for ignoring them, you can simply tell them, just so they’re aware of what they did.

By giving a short explanation to someone about why you’ve chosen to ignore them, you are being as polite as you can. Being straightforward is the best thing you can do here. [Read: The guide you need to grow up and face life like an adult]

How to ignore someone online

It is both the easiest and the hardest to ignore someone online; it is almost impossible to escape someone’s online presence completely, but it also only takes a few steps to minimise it as much as possible.

People are everywhere online. You’ll see their posts on Facebook, their comments and likes on Instagram, and their rantings and ravings on Twitter. Here is how to ignore people online.

1. Block them

First things first, you’ll want to block them. That is definitely the best way to avoid and ignore someone online. You can do the same to their phone number, and they never have to know.

When you block someone on social media or via phone, you won’t be bothered by them or their posts, but they’ll likely never know that you are ignoring them. [Read: Power trip – Is the psychology of blocking someone about your ego?]

2. Mute their posts/change their visibility settings

If you want a more subtle way of ignoring someone online, you can always mute them instead. This means you can just peacefully disregard everything they post. This is also known as changing the visibility of their posts.

This way, it’s actually much easier to ignore a person online than to do it in person; if you can resist the temptation to visit their profile page. [Read: Ignoring a guy – Why this works so well & how to use it right]

3. Filter out their emails

You can also ignore people online by filtering their emails. Simply head to your email page and set filters on who you don’t want to see.

That way, their emails will disappear into another mailbox and you don’t need to look at them.

4. Block phone contact

Many social media platforms allow us to video or voice call people in-app. If you don’t want to totally block someone, but you really want to ignore their calls, look at your settings.

Block phone contact as much as you can and they won’t bother you. In terms of your actual cell phone, that’s pretty easy to do – look at your settings and block! [Read: How to get someone to stop texting you]

5. Unfriend them

If you think it’s not going to make a huge drama when they realize you’re no longer connected, just go ahead and unfriend them.

That’s probably the easiest way to ignore people online because that way, you don’t even see them!

6. Create a new social media account

This is pretty extreme, but if you really have an issue with the person you want to ignore, you can go ahead and create a new account on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, etc.

You can also block them from that account so they can’t search for you and find your new page. [Read: The dangers of social media – why it makes you feel really insecure]

How to ignore people who breed negativity

Sadly, however much you try to avoid them, you cannot keep negative people at bay forever. There will be times when you’ll have to deal with them. In that case, try these tips.

1. Don’t talk to them

Annoying people feed on your reaction to their provocations. That’s the reason for their constant efforts to make you miserable. One way to ignore someone is to nip it in the bud by not talking to the person

If they see that you don’t care, they’ll probably leave you alone. [Read: Negative Nancy – 17 traits and ways to deal with their attitude]

2. Or, keep your conversations short

If dealing with them is unavoidable, you can make things easier by using short responses. Make sure you limit your conversation to questions answerable by only a yes or a no.

If they try to strike up a longer conversation or start jerking around, talk to someone else or walk away.

3. Try to avoid their space

You might have an idea of where these people move around or hang out, so if you want to decrease the chance of encountering them, you might also like to stay away from those places. That way you can avoid situations where you know you’ll see them. [Read: 10 simple tips to avoid being rude in any situation]

4. Stay busy

This is effective at school or in the workplace. Looking busy with your work makes you less susceptible to being disturbed by other people.

And it has many other benefits, too. You’ll get things done, time will fly, and you’ll keep the jerks away. [Read: How to motivate yourself to do pretty much anything]

5. Get some buffer people

Buffer people, as cruel as it may sound, can be used as a human shield to prevent that annoying person from talking to you. This could be a coworker who is equally displeased with that person, or even an intimidating friend.

Tag along with buffer people when you’re most vulnerable, such as during your lunch break.

6. Use your phone

The goal is to make yourself appear busy. Do something to keep yourself occupied by fumbling through your phone or feigning a call when you notice that the annoying person has got you in their sights. Keep doing that while walking away.

Rude? No. It’s necessary. [Read: Do you feel emotionally drained? 15 reasons and cures]

7. Wear headphones

Another way to ignore negative people is to wear your headphones and listen to some feel-good music. This works perfectly when you realize they’re hovering around like vultures ready to pick on your good day.

Headphones can help you ignore almost anyone by serving as a big “do not disturb sign” over your head. They’re perfect for blocking out negativity.

8. Do not make them a topic of conversation

Let’s say that the person has successfully turned your day sour. The trick is to forget it and move on. Make the person realize that you are not affected by their douchiness.

Complaining and talking about them will only make your day worse. Find a friend and talk about a fresh topic to keep that jerk out of your head. [Read: 15 questions to reveal a controlling personality instantly]

9. Adopt evasive maneuvers

These are simple ways to avoid those obnoxious people when you detect them on your radar:

1. If you pass them by the hall, fumble in your bag as if you’re looking for something while walking faster.

2. Use terrain to your advantage. The water dispenser, an empty cubicle, or a corner store can provide you with a sanctuary when the need arises.

3. A quick bathroom break can help you escape from them should they prove to be persistent. [Read: 12 more ways to stop negative people from sapping your energy]

10. Walk quickly

By walking quickly, you look like you’re very busy and have somewhere you really need to be. Unless this person is stupid, they’re going to pick up on that and will simply leave you alone.

Bonus points if you do so while looking at your phone.

11. Use your body language

Your body language is a great tool – especially when it comes to learning how to ignore people. You can appear ‘closed off’ by simply crossing your arms over your chest, sitting with your legs crossed, or slouching so you look super-unapproachable. You could also have a blank look on your face whenever you’re around the person. [Read: 10 subtle body language moves to appear more confident]

12. Find a new walking route

If you often see that person as you walk a certain way, be it on your break, on your way to work/school, or simply as you’re going about your day, find another route.

It’s good to mix things up and it will help you avoid that person who seems intent on sucking all the positivity out of your life.

General advice on how to ignore someone you don’t like

There are even more methods you can use to ignore someone you don’t like. Here are a few other things you need to keep in mind while ignoring someone, to stop them destroying your sanity!

1. Stop thinking about them

We know this will sound more literary than literal, but the only reason you want to ignore this person is that you are letting their existence have power over you.

Stop thinking about how they annoy you or what you don’t like about them. If you can do that, everything else will fall into place. [Read: 17 ways to welcome positive energy into your life]

2. Be positive

Not liking someone and cutting them out is the next best thing to not caring. When you have negative feelings toward someone, cutting them out is one way to ignore their presence. But if you focus on the positive instead of the negative, you won’t have to put so much effort in.

Instead of reminding yourself of the rude things they say, the inappropriate things they do, or anything else, remind yourself that you are surrounded by plenty of people you do like. [Read: How to be positive: stop the downturn and find the silver lining!]

3. Keep everything brief

Sometimes we have to interact with people we don’t like. Whether you work with someone you don’t want to deal with, or you clash with a member of your family, you may still have to interact with them at some point. So, during the times when you must interact with them, remember to keep it brief and concise.

There’s no need to lengthen a conversation you’re trying to avoid in the first place. If they attempt to extend it, say something like, “I have somewhere to be” and leave without explaining further.

4. Be cordial

We’re not telling you to compliment their hair or flash them a big friendly smile. What we’re telling you is to be mature. Handle yourself like a polite adult around this person – you don’t want to make things worse.

You can still be civil with the person you’re trying to ignore without making a fuss. So, if you want to ignore someone, just indulge in the necessary small talk and move on. [Read: How to be nice]

5. Let go of the urge to push back

People we try to ignore tend to push our buttons. It is easy to push back and then blame them for our bad mood. Instead, let whatever they say or do wash over you, as if you’re wearing a raincoat.

You are aware they are there (and annoying), but it doesn’t affect you.

So if they say something mean or harsh, don’t make faces, roll your eyes, or directly confront them. These not only escalate the situation, but also give them the satisfaction of knowing they’re negatively affecting you. [Read: The art of not giving a shit – how to not care in 15 steps]

6. Don’t be fake

Okay, we know how easy it is to be fake when trying to ignore someone. However, this can come back and bite you in the ass. You don’t have to fake-like them or go out of your way to be faux-friendly.

You also don’t have to show distaste for them. Just be neutral and polite. This will end the interaction as quickly as possible – so you can go back to entirely ignoring them. [Read: How to spot a fake friend – 13 signs they can fake but can’t hide]

7. Distract yourself

Don’t like someone? Having trouble ignoring them? Easy, just do something else. If you are letting them get to you and can’t seem to shake them off, stay busy. Take up a new hobby, get a side job, or make plans with the people in your life that bring you happiness.

Distractions are the best way to forget negative people exist.

8. Focus on those you do like

It sucks how the slightest bit of negativity in our lives can outweigh all the happiness. But in this case, it doesn’t have to. Instead of focusing on ignoring this person, enjoy the people you do like.

Stop letting negative people enter your mind. Instead, counter that negativity with people you actually enjoy being with. [Read: How to surround yourself with positive people]

9. Focus on yourself

This might seem cliche, but it works wonders for learning how to ignore someone. If you have focused on others that bring you joy, take the rest of your time to focus on yourself — practice self-care. Clean your place, and purge it of any stuff that doesn’t make you happy.

If you make yourself the focus, you won’t have the space or energy to worry about the people you don’t like. You might even forget they exist, just with this simple trick. [Read: How to focus on yourself – 27 ways to create your own sunshine]

10. Don’t blame them

When we don’t like someone, we hold onto that, and it can turn into a grudge. It becomes an ugly, festering sore that eats away at our positive outlook. We blame them for annoying us, and we blame them for us having to ignore them.

But we shouldn’t have to change our routines or plans to avoid them when they are annoying.

You need to understand that isn’t really their fault. Some people are just irritating to us, and that’s it. The more you’re looking to place blame, the more you’re bringing drama and negativity into your life. [Read: 20 most common reasons why some people are disliked by everyone]

11. Don’t gossip

Gossip is a nasty thing. We may vent to our friends or coworkers about someone we don’t like, instead of having more pleasant interactions. We know you’re annoyed at them to an extreme level, but there’s no reason to cause drama or spread gossip about them. [Read: When & how to end a friendship if they’re toxic & holding you back]

12. Remind yourself why you’re ignoring them

If you are having a hard time ignoring someone you don’t like – maybe because they have a charming side, or they are friends with one of your friends – actively remind yourself why you are ignoring them.

Remind yourself how they affect you negatively and why you don’t want to be around them. Even if their charm works on everyone else, remind yourself why they’re not a good fit for you. [Read: The shallow traits a superficial friend just can’t hide]

13. Tune them out

This sounds easy, but it isn’t. Tuning someone out to ignore them takes a lot of practice, but it is doable and highly effective. At the end of the day, you always have full and complete control over who you choose to let affect you.

They won’t irritate you if you don’t let them – simple as that. [Read: How to tell your real friends from your fake friends in an instant]

14. Do not smile around them

There is absolutely no need to fake a smile. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make you an ice king/queen. Smiling at a person that’s giving you stress is like giving food to a hungry dog.

Just do what you’re doing, and hope they will ignore you, too. Even small talk could affect your well-being, so don’t encourage them by flashing a big smile.

15. Delay responses as long as you can

Whether through e-mail, text, DMs, or Skype messages, make it a goal to always delay your replies—unless it’s for work. Be calm, and realize that replying late is not offensive.

This “cold shoulder” should send them a message that you don’t want this person to be close to you. It’s effective, yet they can’t confront you about it. They would sound clingy or bossy if they asked you why you’re not replying quickly. [Read: Ghosting someone – ways to disappear quickly and get away clean]

16. Limit face-to-face interactions

If you’re pissed with a person at work, it’s hard to avoid talking to them; it could affect your professional life. You could even get fired for not complying, just because you opted to avoid them.

But you don’t have to torture yourself by looking at their face every day. If there’s a way for you to submit your work through e-mail or consult via chat, do it. This will make your life easier.

Less interaction, less stress. [Read: 13 happy things you need around you for a really happy life]

17. Change your routine

If you usually leave the office around 5 PM, maybe you should leave a little earlier or a little later. If you usually eat at McDonald’s, try eating somewhere else. Use another path to get to work.

These little changes in routine will likely change your pattern of interaction with the person that stresses/annoys you.

18. Say no to invitations

If they invite you to a party yet they really stress you out, don’t go. Say no. Come up with an excuse to keep your distance so you won’t appear unkind — but even this is not a requirement.

One thing you can say is simply something like, “Thank you, but I’m too tired lately, and I just want to stay at home and sleep all day.” It’s not a problem. [Read: 10 tips to set boundaries around difficult people]

Also, if you know they’re attending a certain party, don’t go there! Again, plain and simple in theory, but could be a bit challenging in real life — especially if you have a lot of mutual friends.

19. If you can’t ignore them, take deep breaths

If you’ve done all the things mentioned above, yet they’re still around, maybe it’s time to start living with the fact that they’re always going to be around. Take long, deep breaths for a one minute, and it will help you recharge after being exposed to negative energy.

This way, you will be able to protect your core from their negativity and function as you should. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and fill it with happiness]

20. Be joyful to the point where they don’t bother you anymore

Yep, the best way to ignore someone who really is mentally stressing you is by being so joyful and exuberant, that you’ll even want to hug your enemies.

If you develop this kind of attitude, there’s absolutely no one that can rain on your parade or make you bitter. It takes a ton of work, though, as you have to rewire the way you think and feel.

Aside from cultivating an “I don’t give a damn” attitude, you should also develop your inner strength to shield yourself from stressors. [Read: How to find happiness within yourself and manifest a better tomorrow]

Is learning how to ignore people actually a bad thing?

No! Sometimes we need to ignore people to look after our own mental health. There is nothing wrong with that.

Of course, don’t go around ignoring everyone just because you can. That’s simply mean. But, if someone really bothers you and you don’t want to deal with them, these tips on how to ignore people will see you through.

Ignoring someone really all comes down to not letting them affect you. The more you make a fuss and make a big deal out of their presence, the more likely you are to be annoyed by them.

[Read: 34 life-changing steps to fall in love with yourself all over again]

We all have people we don’t like and can’t tolerate; we can’t be fond of everyone we meet. However, now you know how to ignore someone you don’t like, you can move on without causing unnecessary drama in your life. 

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