When you really explore the psychology of blocking someone, it shows just how powerful that ‘block’ action really is. It doesn’t give anyone an explanation, it leaves unresolved business, and what if you happen to see them on the street afterwards? Awkward.
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?
I think so.
Don’t get me wrong, I think 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.
[Read: Social media and relationships – the good, the bad, and the ugly]
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 my opinion, that’s even more brutal!
Personally, the whole blocking thing is a power trip, all about ego. You’re free to disagree with me, but 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 that I think blocking is perfect for. 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 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 perfect acceptable]
That’s the exception to the rule.
So, what is the psychology of blocking someone exactly?
There are two sides to this: the blocker and the blockee.
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 because 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.
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 I 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]
The difference between ghosting and blocking
It’s worth mentioning that ghosting and blocking are two very different things.
[Read: What exactly is ghosting and how does it impact you?]
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 my 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 to me is literally the worst. Being ghosted makes me furious! It’s the epitome of rudeness.
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.
[Read: The dangers of social media and why it makes you really insecure]
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. I have no problems with that type of blocking. It’s the other type of blocking I’m a little on the fence about.
I can see both sides. I’ve blocked people in the past and felt that rush of power when I pressed it. I can understand the psychology of blocking someone on both sides. I’ve also been blocked before and felt indignant, wondering what the hell I’d done that was so bad to be completely cast out of someone’s virtual life. It was 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 smart phones and laptops. Nobody is as brave as they pretend to be online, trust me! 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: How to be an adult: Mature ways to begin acting like one]
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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