At some point in life, you’ll probably need to ignore someone.
Whether it’s an aggravating coworker who won’t leave you alone, a friend who keeps pushing your buttons, or an ex who keeps trying to talk to you, ignoring people helps you avoid situations where you continue feeling frustrated.
It also allows you to regroup and decide which boundaries you want to set moving forward. And as it turns out, there isn’t a single best way to navigate these awkward situations.
Instead, you’ll need to learn how to avoid (or limit) communication and redefine your relationship with that individual. Not sure how it all works? Afraid you’ll still feel bad?
Let’s get into everything you need to know about how to ignore someone.
How Do You Ignore Someone Without Being Rude or Hurting Them?
In some ways, ignoring someone sometimes takes practice.
What exactly does that mean? It means you must practice letting go of trying to control or protect other people’s feelings.
When you ignore someone, you’re setting that limit for yourself, not the other person.
Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Accept That You Can’t Control How They Feel
You must know that you can’t fix, change, or even create feelings. Everyone is entitled to their reactions.
With that in mind, a person will probably not like that you’re ignoring them. It can be rejected, and they may feel very frustrated, angry, afraid, or even confused.
These are typical reactions, and you should account for them in advance. But if you care more about their feelings than your own, there’s a good chance you will continue to feel stuck in this toxic cycle.
So, as much as possible, try to stop focusing so much on how the other person feels. Think about how you feel and use this time to focus on prioritizing your own needs.
Don’t Expect Them to Understand Your Intentions
Even if you have a legitimate reason for ignoring someone, that doesn’t mean they will understand. Most people, in fact, will take it personally.
That doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong! Many people don’t realize how their actions affect others. They believe they can continue acting in the same way.
Don’t Let Them Know Why You’re Ignoring Them
You don’t necessarily have to provide extensive details about why you’re ignoring someone. This is especially true when dealing with a particularly argumentative or difficult person.
Instead, just continue focusing on your personal life without getting wrapped up in their drama. If they ask what’s going on, be vague or neutral. You might even say something like, I’m just really focusing on my work right now.
Don’t Deny It
It’s okay to be vague. But if you ignore someone and they ask you about it, it isn’t helpful to totally lie about the situation. Gaslighting doesn’t feel good for anyone- and you probably know that!
Instead, you may want to consider being honest about your recent changes in behavior.
Again, you can be non-confrontational with this. Yes, I know we haven’t talked much lately- I’ve just been so busy.
Remind Yourself of Your Intentions
If you feel guilty for ignoring someone, you may need to remind yourself why you chose to take this action. Keeping that in mind can help you stay on track.
In addition, it’s a good idea to seek support during this time. People who love you and care about your well-being will praise your efforts.
9 Ways to Ignore Someone Without Being Rude
You’ve tried accepting this person, but their behavior makes you feel frustrated and angry. Whether it was a particularly triggering situation or a gradual buildup of resentment, you are tempted to ignore them.
Maybe you frequently make excuses and pretend you’re busy to avoid hanging out.
Maybe you avoid eye contact when you’re together. Sometimes you take a long time to respond to their text message or call.
In other words, there is a good chance you’re already taking some steps to ignore this person. But you want to be assertive in communicating your boundaries- rather than passive-aggressive.
Here are some more healthy tips to keep in mind.
#1 Avoid Attending The Places They Frequent
This isn’t always possible, but you can start limiting contact by spending less time together. If, for example, you know they’re going to be a specific party, you might reconsider going. Or, if they tend to go to the same bar every weekend, maybe you choose a different one.
Keeping physical distance is one way to ignore someone without too much uncomfortable legwork. This applies in both your personal and professional life.
#2 Block Them
Let’s be real- it’s hard to ignore someone when you’re active on social media fully. After all, in some cases, it only takes a click to see what they’re doing.
Blocking them (even if it’s only temporary) removes the temptation of checking in on them repeatedly. It’s probably the best way to avoid getting swept back into their life.
#3 Stop Hanging Out With Mutual Friends
This piece of advice can be challenging, especially if you’re fresh from a break-up and trying to ignore your ex.
You may feel adamant about keeping all your friends, even if they’re closely connected.
But if you want to move on, think about who qualifies as a friend right now. Do you really need to stay close with people that remind you of your ex or your past relationship?
Probably not. Instead, it’s probably better to spend time with separate people who have no attachments to the person you’re ignoring.
#4 Create New Rituals
You may be unable to avoid all the places the person frequents (especially if you can’t totally avoid them altogether). However, you might be able to limit your interactions by changing your routine.
For example, consider bringing coffee from home if you want to ignore your coworker who always gets coffee in the breakroom first thing in the morning.
Or go into the breakroom a half-hour after you know she’s left. If you want to ignore your rude neighbor, walk your dog at a different time each morning.
#5 Disengage as Much as Possible
Unfortunately, you can’t always run in the other direction when confronted with someone you dislike. We all have to abide by various social norms.
You can, however, choose to be guarded and vague during your interactions. In other words, focus on preventing conflict by avoiding any sensitive topics.
Your goal is to stay as dull as you can. Don’t confront them on obnoxious behavior. Don’t divulge any complex emotion. Don’t even share your opinions on controversial issues.
If you do this repeatedly, the other person will move on to someone else who will give them the attention they desire.
#6 Consider Ghosting
Ghosting gets a bad rep, and for a good reason. It can be disrespectful and childish, especially regarding maintaining healthy relationships.
But even professionals agree that ghosting has its place. For example, let’s say this person is abusive or has significantly violated your boundaries. Let’s say they consistently manipulate or lie to you.
If that’s the case, you don’t owe them any explanation for why you’re ignoring them. In fact, doing so might actually be more dangerous.
#7 Don’t Expect Them to Get It Right Away
Even if you make your intentions clear, that doesn’t mean the other person will necessarily understand what’s happening. Once they notice you pulling away, they may even be more desperate to get your attention!
Your goal is to avoid giving in too quickly. If you genuinely want to ignore someone, you can’t let them call all the shots in your relationship. This gives them the power, making it look like you don’t really know what you’re doing.
#8 Figure Out Your End Game
How long do you intend to ignore this person? And more importantly, what needs to change for them to return to your good side?
Knowing your end game makes ignoring someone much easier. That’s because you understand your motives and purpose behind your behavior. It isn’t just a random response to feeling a particular way.
So try to spend time reflecting on your priorities. Is this a temporary situation, or will you ignore this person indefinitely? Knowing the situation will help you strategize appropriately.
#9 Focus On Yourself
Instead of stressing yourself out by worrying about what the other person is doing, try to use this time to really focus on your own needs.
This could mean honing in on self-care or deepening your other relationships.
It isn’t selfish to focus inwards. Building a solid relationship with yourself helps you understand what kind of relationship you value with others.
This, in turn, leads to healthier and happier dynamics with the people in your life.
How to Ignore Someone You Love Without Being Rude?
It’s one thing to ignore someone you dislike or hate. But how do you ignore someone you care deeply about? Better yet, should you? Let’s dive in.
#1 Consider Communicating First
Yes, this is an article about ignoring someone, but that isn’t always the right answer. If it’s your go-to response anytime you’re upset, you must reassess how you cope with stress.
If you really love someone, you should want to resolve. You should also want to compromise and respect one another as equals.
With that said, if you feel tempted to ignore a loved one, ask yourself what’s going on within you. What painful feelings do you notice?
Are you interested in sharing them with your loved one? Can you talk about what’s going on without losing your cool?
Remember to hear each other out. Healthy communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and if you can get this skill down, you won’t feel as tempted to ignore someone when you feel upset.
#2 Tell Them You Need Space
If communication isn’t working, aim to separate yourself from the situation.
This isn’t the same as engaging in silent treatment. That’s a more passive-aggressive approach to make others feel guilty or ashamed. Extended silence often drives anxiety and can make your loved one feel gaslit.
Instead, you assertively tell your loved one that you need time and space to process how you feel. Then, use that separation to ground yourself.
After taking that break for yourself, check in with each other. Do you still feel hurt? Is there still more talking that needs to be done?
#3 Don’t Start Bad Mouthing
Even if it’s tempting, bad-mouthing a loved one will only make you look insecure or jealous. It can also cause other people to feel uncomfortable in your presence.
Instead, try to keep the conversation neutral when talking about the person you’re ignoring. Don’t criticize or complain about them.
Don’t make baseless assumptions. Just try to be as respectful as possible- this shows that you’re the bigger person in the situation.
#4 Stop Annoying Them
Some people will ignore someone only to act out in different ways. For example, they might not talk to their loved ones, but they slam doors or stomp around the house.
They post passive-aggressive statuses on Facebook or otherwise make it known that they’re upset.
This may all be tempting (especially if you’re angry), but it’s highly unproductive. Instead of trying to resolve the issue, you only perpetuate frustration.
#5 Silence Their Calls and Messages
You can stop taking their calls and messages even if you don’t want to block them right now. Let it all go straight to voicemail.
If it’s that important, they’ll let you know.
Temporarily ignoring them can help you regroup your thoughts and decide how you want to move forward.
#6 Stop Being Overly Available
If you want to ignore someone, it’s best to keep busy and avoid responding to messages immediately. You don’t want to come across as too eager or available.
Instead, it would be best if you focused on playing it cool. Please take a while to get back to them.
If you run into them at an event, greet others before talking to them first. These behaviors show that you have other important priorities and relationships.
#7 Show Some Interest
If you’re ignoring someone you love, it’s helpful to convey that you care about them. This can be a helpful reminder that your core values haven’t completely changed.
You can achieve this by staying busy and touching base with them to see how they’re doing. Likewise, you can communicate in other ways, such as by sending them a photo without any caption or text or by giving them flowers without a real explanation.
These small gestures show that you still feel connected- even if you temporarily take some space for yourself.
How to Ignore Someone Who Hurt You Without Being Rude?
How should I respond when someone really hurt me? Should I start ignoring them right now? How should I act in a way that protects my well-being without making this a huge, drawn-out affair?
It can be challenging to ignore someone who hurt you. Part of you may hope that you two can talk things out. Another part of you may feel invested in protecting the relationship.
At the same time, you may also feel done. You’re tired of being mistreated and just want to forget about this other person altogether.
#1 Set Your Boundaries
It might be worth discussing your expectations if you want to try to improve your relationship.
If someone has hurt you, you could try explaining exactly how their behavior impacted you. With this, you will also need to set reasonable boundaries for behavior moving forward.
Remember that boundaries should accurately reflect the needs you have in your relationships. For instance, you may not want this person cursing in your presence. Perhaps you don’t want them criticizing your parenting.
Boundaries should be explicit. Others should know what is and isn’t tolerable. And for them to be effective, you must be willing to implement them consistently.
#2 Go No-Contact
If you’re dealing with someone who hurt you, you might not be interested in maintaining any relationship with them. That’s okay! You’re always allowed to honor and listen to what you need to feel safe.
The no-contact method provides a black-and-white option for cutting communication. With this approach, you aren’t setting limits or navigating ongoing conversations. You aren’t even trying to resolve the conflict together.
You’re simply removing yourself from their life. It’s a bold approach, and it will only work if you can remain consistent. Therefore, it isn’t practical if you must work, live, or otherwise correspond with one another.
#3 Go Low-Contact
Low contact is more of a middle-ground approach for ignoring someone. It’s a reasonable and practical strategy when you can’t avoid contact entirely.
With low contact, you will be as minimal and neutral as possible. You don’t give out any additional information. You remain cordial but guarded. You limit all contact to the bare essentials.
If you choose this approach, you should consider the limits you intend to set for yourself. Maybe that means only agreeing to spend time with that person under certain circumstances.
Maybe it also means avoiding discussing specific, contentious topics altogether.
#4 Seek Outside Support
You may need external reinforcements if you need to ignore someone to keep yourself safe.
For example, if someone is harassing or stalking you, you may need to escalate the situation to local law enforcement. Restraining orders and other legal requirements can support your efforts for protection.
Furthermore, you may need emotional support during this time. Therapy can be a valuable resource for managing your emotions and optimizing how you cope.
Your living space should feel safe and comfortable. If it doesn’t, it’s probably time to take the initiative to move out.
Even if there’s a lot of logistical work involved in doing so, you’ll feel immense relief in the long run.