It’s OK to Block People

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Listen, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but: it’s ok to block people on social media. 

Ok. It was me that needed to hear that.

Confession: I very rarely delete people from social media. If I added you, it was probably because I know you. You have been granted admittance into the glorious circle of people who I let in to my inner sanctum of funny things my kids have said and pictures of my dog. Cherish it, my adoring throngs. 

In the early days of Facebook, the people who deleted were the same people who had very public feuds or the people who would constantly make the statuses “Hey, I’m cleaning up my friends list, let me know if you still want to be friends,” which we all know, was a validation thirst trap. (no hate- I’m not above validation thirst traps… in unrelated news, please comment if you like this post or I’ll stop writing forever and ever.) But I usually am feud-lite and I prefer my emotional manipulation to be in person, so I don’t delete people very often. It just seemed rude. As social media has grown and changed and my life has grown and changed, I have begun to reconsider social media friendships with people from Freshman year of college (2006, the year I joined Facebook, egads, I’m no longer a spring chicken) who live on the opposite side of the country. But as far as people I might actually see in person- I keep them as friends, though I now have a trigger finger for unfollowing people who post political and minion memes.

 I have almost never blocked people on social media. The people I have blocked really earned it. I mean, reeeally earned it. It’s my nuclear option. 

But I’ve had a little bit of a change of heart. I now feel like it’s perfectly fine to block people, even if you see them in person. In all of our discussions about how social media can affect us negatively, we generally talk about comparing ourselves to others and the way we portray (re: greatly bedazzle) our lives or about physically limiting our time on social media. I don’t hear as much discussion about how it’s ok to block people. It really is.

The social media etiquette rule book is still evolving, but the accepted truth that blocking people is for very deep grievances might be outdated. 

 

I blocked someone recently. We were never close, about two degrees of separation removed. But we do see each other enough that it is pretty reasonable for us to be connected on social media. The reason I blocked them wasn’t super dramatic. They made a comment that slightly hurt me (and they made the comment because something I had said had obviously slightly annoyed them) and I thought that we almost never have positive interactions online. They are all only slightly negative, but they sting me because I’m as sensitive as a newborn baby and I obviously mildly rub this person the wrong way on social media and they seemingly are extra blunt online. So I pressed the block button. We get along fine in person. I didn’t want to send them a message that they hurt me by unfriending them. I just don’t want to have an online relationship anymore and blocking felt more effective and less emotional. A cleaner break. Maybe it is rude of me.

But maybe I have placed too much value on not being rude. It isn’t good for me to be dreading any notification from a person. It isn’t good for me to be defensive and overly sensitive about subjects that don’t matter. And what about the other person? Are our interactions benefiting them? It’s not good for either of us and at the end of the day, we just don’t click online. And in all our discussion about how to make social media a healthier space, maybe that reason should be more frequently considered. I don’t see this person often, but I will see them again. And maybe they’ll ask about it. If so, I’ll tell the truth and maybe, just maybe, if we can get past the etiquette breach, we can resume our perfectly friendly acquaintance. 

 

IRL this time.

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Sarah is a stay-at-home mother to three kids (ages 8, 6, and 3). In a previous life she studied history, writing her thesis on the Mexican suffragette movement in the 1920's, but all of that information in her brain has been replaced by kid show theme songs. Sarah has (self-diagnosed) face blindness and really strong opinions about butterscotch. Sarah loves to read, write, and travel. In the wintertime, she makes an obscene amount of soup.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing. It feels really good to remove people who don;’t contribute to your overall well-being. I follow a lot of influencers and bloggers, and sometimes I have to ask myself “Is this content making me feel better about myself or worse?”.

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