How to Ignore Someone Without Hurting Them

Sandra Malco

By Sandra Malco

Est. Reading Time: 15 Mins

How to Ignore Someone Without Hurting Them

Ignoring someone can be complicated, especially depending on the kind of relationship you have with that person. For example, if you want to ignore a coworker or classmate you see daily, it could be very complicated to ignore them because sometimes you may have no choice but to interact with them.

Know that your approach might differ based on each situation. Keep in mind that ignoring someone successfully without hurting them needs to be done cautiously and smoothly so that you don’t hurt them, especially if they’re really interested in you and have their hopes up.

Reasons Why You Would Want to Ignore Someone

Ignored person.
Why you might want to ignore someone.

Below you’ll find some of the reasons you might want to ignore someone. Usually, it’s because you’re not in the best situation with that person, so remember to be patient and go slowly to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.

  • Negativity. They might be extremely negative, which could be affecting you. Perhaps all they ever do is complain about things, so it’s hard to have a conversation with them, or maybe they’re always unhappy with whatever you do, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
  • Avoid strengthening their feelings towards you. You might be at a place in the relationship where you think you want to break up with them, so you don’t want to strengthen their feelings towards you. This is perfectly understandable, and until you have the opportunity to have the conversation that you need to have, ignoring them and distancing yourself a little bit without making it too obvious, might be the best option.
  • They’re not good for you. (As a friend or partner) Sometimes people aren’t good for you, and you need to stay away from them. The easiest way to do that is to avoid interacting with them and avoid seeing them.
  • You want to reject them. Perhaps this is someone interested in pursuing you, but you’re not interested in them. If you’re looking to reject them, or perhaps you’ve already rejected them, but they don’t seem to understand, the next best thing you can do is ignore them.

10 Tips for How to Ignore Someone

Woman thinking about ignoring someone.
Tips to ignore someone without hurting them.

1. Settle everything before starting to ignore them.

If you had anything planned for the future, you should figure it out before ignoring them. For example, if you had any plane tickets, concert tickets, you live together, you work together, you’re on the same phone plan, etc., make sure you get it all sorted beforehand. If you don’t settle those types of things first, it’ll be an excuse for them to have to talk to you or see you, and you won’t be able to ignore them successfully.

2. Avoid seeing him in person.

If you want to ignore someone, don’t make plans to see them in person. If possible, talk to them as little as possible too. Seeing them will make you seem interested, and it won’t be clear that you’ve been trying to ignore them.

3. Avoid phone calls and texts.

Don’t answer any calls or texts you may get from them. They’ll probably just think you’re busy, and they won’t be offended or think it’s rude that you didn’t answer.

4. Don’t hang out with the same group of friends.

If you have the same friend group, you may have to distance yourself a little bit, at least for some time, until the person understands that you don’t want to interact with them anymore. If you don’t mind your friends knowing you’re ignoring this person, you can ask them to let you know if they’re not going, so you can go or simply start hanging out with your friends one-on-one.

5. Decline invitations.

If they invite you to hang out or do anything, decline. There are lots of ways you can politely decline to avoid hurting their feelings. The easiest thing to tell them is that you have something else going on, even if you don’t. If they ask when you are available instead, just tell them that you’re not really sure what your plans are for the near future, this will keep them from rescheduling with you.

If you tell them that you’re not in the mood for that plan, they might offer to do whatever you want, and then you’ll be stuck in a situation where you have no choice but to tell them you don’t want to see them, which could hurt their feelings, so instead just tell them you can’t.

6. Block them from social media.

Block them from your stories and your newsfeed if you don’t want to block them completely to avoid hurting their feelings. You might not realize it, but you probably share a lot of information on your stories unintentionally.

If you post a photo of the cafe you’re at or the park you’re taking a walk in, they’ll know where you are, and might attempt to bump into you. It also allows them to keep up with you, and what you really want to do is make sure they know nothing about you or your whereabouts.

7. Don’t accept gifts from them.

In an attempt to try to win you over, they might try to send you a gift. Whatever you do, don’t tell them what you like if they ask, and don’t accept anything from them. Send it back if possible, or if you have no choice but to accept whatever they sent, don’t text them thanking them, and don’t show any appreciation whatsoever.

You want them to think that you didn’t get it or that you weren’t particularly excited about receiving so they don’t send any more things and understand that you want space.

8. Use body language to show you’re not interested.

If you happen to see them, keep your body language in check with what you want to express. Cross your arms, turn your body away from them, and avoid talking with your hands. You want to seem uninterested and uncomfortable, so they get that you want to be left alone and that you’re not enjoying their presence.

9. Delete their contact info.

Deleting their contact info will keep you from wanting to reach out to them if you’re in a situation where it’s hard for you to ignore them and it’s not really what you want to be doing. It will also keep you from knowing when they’re calling you, so you will be less inclined to answer any calls you get from them. You can also archive your chats with them so they’re not popping up in your chat list.

10. Don’t interact if you bump into them.

Although you avoid seeing this person, an accidental bump could occur. If you find yourself in that situation, there are a couple of things you can do. If they haven’t seen you yet, then try to flee the scene before they do, so you can avoid having a run in. If they have seen you, turn away immediately, don’t make direct eye contact, and don’t wave.

Although waving might seem like an easy way to acknowledge them so that they’ll be content with that and leave you alone, it could also seem inviting to them, and they might try to interact with you more. Ignoring them in this situation will likely think that you didn’t see them, and they won’t be offended or think much of it.

What to Do if Ignoring Them Doesn’t Work

If you’re trying to ignore someone and they won’t give up no matter what, you need to take action and try something else. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are at ignoring them, they’re simply too persistent, and they don’t understand when enough is enough. Although you want to avoid hurting their feelings, if it comes down to it, try the following in more extreme cases.

Confront them.

Have a serious but polite conversation with them. Tell them that they need to respect you and respect what you’re asking. Be direct and tell them that they need to leave you alone, and explain that it’s inappropriate for them to continue contacting and seeking you when you’ve made it clear you’re not interested in them doing so.

Block them.

Block them from everything so that they can’t keep up or contact you. Blocking them from social media, so they don’t know what you’re up to, where you are, or who you’re with sometimes isn’t enough. It might be necessary to block them from everything so they can’t message or call you either. This will give you more peace, make you feel more comfortable, and it’ll keep them from being able to reach you.

Tell any mutual friends you may have.

Let any mutual friends know what the situation is and that you’re trying to ignore this person and stay away from them so that they don’t accidentally invite you to the same thing. Also, ask them not to give the person you’re ignoring any updates about you so that they don’t accidentally make things worse. Sometimes if the person you’re ignoring notices you’re ignoring them, they might try to find out about you through other people.

To sum it up

Although you might have the best intentions and you don’t ever want to hurt anyone, if ignoring someone isn’t enough, you’re going to have to take a different approach and be direct. However, there are many ways you can try to ignore them first before taking a direct approach to avoid hurting their feelings as much as possible.

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