It’s okay to block or delete people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram…or whatever social media site you frequent.
We can also stop being friends with someone who hurts our feelings in real life and distance ourselves from people we can’t rely on. I’m saying that for whoever needs to hear it, as that person has been me.
Just like anything, blocking people can be done in a healthy or unhealthy way.
This is how to block like a pro:
Rule #1: Breakups, Proceed Carefully
If you’re in a serious relationship, (please!) don’t make deleting or blocking someone your first line of defense in an argument. If you want to break up, break up, but try not to switch from a romantic candlelit dinner to blocking someone with no conversation in between.
If you’re under the age of 18, I’ll cut you some slack as I was a brutal ghoster in my formative years, but for the rest of us, blocking is a superpower…so use it wisely.
Rule #2: Do and Don’t Block
Do block: Anyone who is abusive, threatening, or mean to animals or feelings.
Don’t block: If you and your lover got into a fight about what movie to see or if either one of you are prone to impulsive decisions you’ll regret later, think it over. Blocking can be undone, but the person you block will wonder why you’re no longer following them and/or why you disappeared off the face of the Earth, and they might take it personally.
Rule #3: A Confusing Guy….or Girl
If you have been the backup text or message for a Romeo or Juliet who is playing with your heartstrings, blocking might be healthy for you. This is different than the unsolicited social media block of someone you genuinely care about.
Instead, this is reserved for the romantic players who have slid into your DMs but keep yo-yo’ing with your emotions. If you’ve become the 2 a.m. booty call text with someone you wanted to be happy hour casual with, it might be time to delete their means of communication with you.
Rule #5: Anyone Who Harasses You
My first block came easy. I was new to Facebook and received a weird message from a woman dating a man I used to like (okay, love). While the heart sometimes makes mistakes, punishment for romantic drama should have a time limit and you have no responsibility to receive hate mail from people who don’t like you.
Haters can be former friends or lovers, strangers, online acquaintances, coworkers, etc. Regardless of who sends you hate mail, protect yourself. Especially if the harassment is threatening or occurs in-person, contact your local police and ask for advice.
Rule #6: Spammers
I block anyone who I (even remotely) think might be a spammer or scammer. I even blocked the scammer who told me I was beautiful and that he wanted to marry me. I’m pretty sure he only wanted me to send him an online gift card or my social security number.
If someone seems to want your wallet more than your love, it’s time to block and/or report them to the site’s admins.
Rule #7: Tolerance is Good
It might feel frustrating if you want Mickey Mouse for President and a former buddy is continually posting about wanting Thor in the oval office (made-up examples, clearly). Or when you’re vegan and someone you follow is on a ketogenic diet. But try not to block people just for being different than you.
It becomes ironic when we block others for not being accepting of what we hold dear. The key to tolerance and acceptance can be practiced online. Look at your similarities, more than your differences, and find points in common.
An exception to this rule is anyone who causes you significant daily stress. If someone’s viewpoint is seriously offensive to you and keeps you up at night, delete and block them as it’s not worth the toll on your mental health.
Rule #8: Blocking isn’t the Only Way to Go
There aren’t brownie points in heaven for keeping people who hurt your feelings in your life or social circle. Or, maybe there are and I’m about to give you bad advice. Regardless, if blocking someone seems too extreme for your specific situation, consider unfollowing them instead.
Facebook even has options to “take a break” from someone’s feed and the less you interact with their posts, the more the FB algorithm will filter them out.
At the end of the day, using social media should be fun and rewarding. If interacting online isn’t enjoyable and threatens your ability to feel whole, it’s not worth it.
I’ve had periods where I posted frequently and others where I’ve taken a break and put my accounts on hiatus. Both states were what was right for me at the time. If you’re in an extrovert phase, share more. If you’re having a phase in life where you want to hide inside and eat ice cream (dairy-free for me, as I’m allergic), that’s okay too.
Blocking someone and being blocked by others does not mean you hate them or that they hate you. It means that the awesomeness that either of you are in that moment could not be appreciated by the other person.
Accept it and move on to friends who want to like and love the posts you have to offer.