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Power Trip: Is the Psychology of Blocking Someone About Your Ego?

Delete and block! That’s the first piece of advice given when we need to move on. But what is the psychology of blocking someone? What does it achieve?

psychology of blocking someone

How many times have you pressed the ‘block’ button when you want to rid someone from your online life? In many ways, you’re blocking them from your actual life too. When you look into the psychology of blocking someone, you’ll see how serious it can actually be.

The block action is extremely powerful. It doesn’t give anyone an explanation, it leaves unresolved business, and what if you happen to see them on the street afterward? Awkward. [Read: Being left on read – What it really means when they don’t text back]

Our lives through social media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the list goes on. We seem to live our lives through social media platforms these days.

Sure, it helps you connect to more people than ever before, and it’s important to have these social connections in life, but how many is too many? Are we too connected? Do we place far too much importance on something which, when you really break it down, doesn’t matter much at all?

Don’t get us wrong, social media is a wonderful thing. It helps us to stay in touch with friends and family members who aren’t by our sides and is a wonderful tool for businesses too. But it’s literally taking over our lives to a rather worrying degree.

Take fall-outs and problems, for example. Back in the day, if we had a problem with someone, we’d tell them, possibly have an argument about it, and just not speak again.

Brutal? Yes, but it got the job done.

These days we simply press ‘block’ and forget they ever existed. In our opinion, that’s even more brutal! [Read: Social media and relationships – the good, the bad, and the ugly]

Is blocking about ego?

The whole blocking thing is a power trip, all about ego. Surely there’s a better way to handle personal issues than simply blocking them from your cyber life and expecting that to be it?

Now, there is one situation for which blocking is perfect. If someone is harassing you, causing you pain and upset, or won’t leave you alone. In that case, go ahead and block all you like.

The psychology of blocking in this case gives you the power back, it allows you a sense of relief and peace of mind, and stops your days from being ruined as a result of messages and unwanted posts on your social media feeds. [Read: Ghosting a friend and the scenarios when it’s perfectly acceptable]

That’s the exception to the rule.

In many ways, when you decide to press block rather than face someone, you’re being a coward. You’re scared to talk to them directly, so you press block and go about your day.

So, what is the psychology of blocking someone, exactly?

Blocking is brutal. For sure, in some cases it’s necessary, but overall, it’s a very strong full stop that doesn’t allow for communication or explanation.

There are two sides to this: the blocker and the blockee. Let’s take a look at them in turn. [Read: Texting anxiety – How to send and receive texts without freaking out]

Psychology of blocking someone for the blocker

When you block someone, you feel powerful. Yes, you might feel that sense of relief if they’ve been a real nuisance in your life and other means haven’t worked, but overall, it’s a dead end, a cutoff point. It makes you feel like you’ve found the ultimate solution.

The problem is, you haven’t really, have you?

Let’s assume this person is local to you, i.e. you live in the same city. The chances of you bumping into one another at some stage are pretty high. What will you say to them if you do? Will you say anything at all?

The reason is that when you block someone, you’re taking away any need to explain your actions. Of course, you might send a quick ‘I’m blocking you and this is why’ message beforehand, but then you press ‘block’ and they don’t get the chance to have their own say. [Read: Like ghosting and blocking? Prepare yourself for these 10 consequences]

When you live your life online, there is a huge amount of room for misunderstandings. How do you know that this whole thing hasn’t been just that, and you’ve pressed ‘block’ and literally kicked them out of your life with no real need?

For that reason, after a while, you might feel curious about what they’re up to. You might want to unblock them just to see what their social media feed says.

You see, blocking gives you power at first, and you’ll be fine for a while, but the human brain always wants to know more. Curiosity is bound to come your way at some stage.

In that case, unless you’re strong, blocking is rarely the full stop you believe it to be. [Read: Social media and relationships – The good, the bad, and the ugly]

Psychology of blocking for the blockee

From the blockee’s point of view, the psychology of blocking someone, i.e. them, can cause anger and even rage. How dare they?! Because, when you block someone, you’re basically saying, in a virtual way, “I’m done with you.” It’s the ultimate diss.

You feel defeated, you’re annoyed because they had the last word and have no way of having your say. It’s frustrating and annoying, and for some people, it causes an even bigger problem to arise.

You see, that unresolved business has a habit of festering. Feeling aggrieved that you’ve been blocked has been known to linger for a considerable time, and in some cases, mutual friends can be dragged into the mêlee.

As we mentioned before, blocking is rarely the full stop we think, and it’s often the match that lights the fire. [Read: How to resolve conflict and cut out the drama in life]

For some, the rage becomes uncontrollable. So, they seek out the person who blocked them in other ways, e.g. in person, or through mutual friends. This upset and rage can also stick around, causing them to question themselves and the reason why they were pushed aside and forgotten as though they didn’t matter.

So, while you might think it’s just blocking, have you stopped to think that perhaps you’re causing someone’s self-confidence and sense of self-worth to plummet? [Read: Should I block my ex? 17 questions to help you decide what’s right for you]

The difference between ghosting and blocking

It’s worth mentioning that ghosting and blocking are two very different things.

When you ghost someone, you might still be friends with them and they can probably still see the activity on your feeds, but you cut off contact with them by simply not speaking. You become a virtual ghost.

In our opinion, ghosting is worse than blocking. It’s like leaving a carrot dangling in the air; you’re giving them something but not going the whole way.

You’re also literally ignoring messages and that is literally the worst. Being ghosted makes you furious! It’s the epitome of rudeness. [Read: What exactly is ghosting and how does it impact you?]

Of course, blocking is literally ending all contact, all visibility of any activity you post online, the lot. You’re invisible to them, at least in the online world. The difference is that the psychology of blocking someone is a literal full stop.

Which do you think is worse?

However, ponder this—have we really reached the point in our lives where we allow social media to dictate our relationships? Isn’t it a little immature to simply press ‘block’ and assume the problem is dealt with? What happened to having a grown-up conversation and working through problems?

If you block someone because they’re causing you pain and aggravation, or harassing you, then go for it. We have no problems with that type of blocking. It’s the other type of blocking we’re a little on the fence about. [Read: Social media addiction – The 16 alarming symptoms and how to break out]

It’s possible to see both sides. We’ve all blocked people in the past and felt that rush of power.

It’s easy to understand the psychology of blocking someone on both sides. Many of us have also been blocked before and felt indignant, wondering what the hell we’d done that was so bad to be completely cast out of someone’s virtual life. It’s almost like being in Mean Girls back in school, all over again.

We block someone because we know what it will do to them. It’s like giving them the virtual finger, but instead of standing there and letting them see that we’re not bothered, we run away and hide behind our smartphones and laptops.

Nobody is as brave as they pretend to be online, trust us! You’re telling them what you think by pressing ‘block’, then you run away, never to be seen again, at least in the virtual world. [Read: Social media detox – 13 ways to wean yourself off social media]

What is the alternative?

The psychology of blocking someone is pretty harsh. For some, it might not bother them at all. They’ll just shrug, assume they’re better off without the person anyway, and go about their business. They’re not into the drama, they’d rather do without. 

But, there are more people who are aggrieved by it. For some, that aggravation might turn into something major. Perhaps they’ll become very down about it, or perhaps even depressed. Maybe they’ll be so angry that it causes them to seek out the person who blocked them and confront them face on.

It’s such an unpredictable beast that understanding a person’s individual reaction to being blocked is impossible. 

So, what’s the alternative?

A phrase that we all seem to have forgotten the meaning of – in-person communication. [Read: Lack of communication in a relationship and why it signals the end]

Communicate rather than block

Remember, there are some situations when blocking is a better choice. For instance, if you’re trying to get away from someone who is causing you a large amount of upset in your life.

But if you’re simply blocking someone because you don’t want to talk to them anymore or you’ve had an argument, consider talking it through instead.

This is something we tend to avoid nowadays, but the old-fashioned ways are the best.

Meet up, speak face to face, and talk about the issue. If you still can’t overcome it, tell them that you’re done with them and then do the blocking. At least you’ve actually spoken about it first. It’s not that literal full stop. [Read: How to get someone to open up so you can really connect to each other]

The psychology of blocking someone is basically that you’ve cut them out and then stuck a plaster over their mouth. They can’t do anything about it. They’re left voiceless and unable to explain themselves or their side of the story to you. 

It’s infuriating. 

1. Explain your grievances clearly

Meet the other person and explain what you’re annoyed about. Do so clearly and avoid using blame language, such as “you always”, or “you just …”. Instead, use ‘I’ phrases, such as “I feel …”. 

2. Listen to the other person

When you’ve had your say, let them have theirs. Listen to their words, take them in, and avoid interrupting.

Remember, there are two sides to every story and it might be that you’ve simply misunderstood one another. Talking and listening could be all it takes to fix the problem. No blocking required! [Read: 14 ways on how to be a better listener in a relationship]

3. Work out if you can overcome the situation

Ask yourself honestly if you can see a future for the friendship. Are you willing to work through the problem or to forgive and forget?

Perhaps you can agree to disagree and put your differences aside? If so, do it and make sure that you commit to the process. If not, move on to the next point.

4. If there is no future, end it like two adults

If you’re unable to overcome the issue and you really want to end the friendship or whatever the relationship is, do so in an adult manner.

Don’t just block them and leave them hanging. Send them a message, or better still, talk to them directly. Explain that you just can’t overcome the issue, or that you feel you’d both be better off just moving on with your lives. 

Then, when they’ve replied and the conversation has ended, you can block if you need to. Perhaps you don’t have to block them, but if you feel that you’d be better off not seeing their social media feeds or any ‘people you may know’ reminders, you can then block them. [Read: How to be an adult – 27 mature ways to grow up and behave like one]

Are you struggling with being blocked?

If you’ve recently been blocked, you might be struggling with the after-effects. Do you feel angry, upset, or confused?

Be honest with yourself about your feelings and come to terms with them. Know that it isn’t your fault that this person has chosen to block you. Whatever the reason for the blocking, you never asked for them to press the ‘block’ button. 

If you know the reason why they blocked you and you feel that you could have done something to make the situation better, ask yourself whether it’s worth it.

In most situations, it’s best just to let things go.

But, if you feel like you need to apologize, write them a letter and ask a mutual friend to deliver it. Then, leave it alone. If they reply, great. If they don’t, you’ve done all you can. [Read: How to apologize for ghosting a friend and undo the damage you caused]

But, never send them an angry note that’s full of recriminations. You should only ever reach out to a person who has blocked you if you feel that you did something to deserve it. That way, you can apologize and attempt to put things right. 

[Read: Why being ghosted hurts so much and what you can do about it]

The psychology of blocking someone is an interesting subject to explore. It’s something we all do and happens to all of us too. Let’s face up to our problems and speak to them directly.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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