We live in the digital age. I mean, is there anything that has not been digitized yet?

Friends and relationships are no exceptions. So when it comes to cutting people out of your life, saying goodbye in person isn’t the only option anymore.

Depending on the situation, you may decide to just… block them, and end all contact. No more messages. No more phone calls. No more updates.

Blocking people is always a controversial topic. Blocking and/or ghosting can be brutal and insensitive, and in many cases it is unnecessary.

But what about that toxic ex that keeps being intrusive? Or that manipulative fake friend that just won’t stop calling you and expecting things from you?

Even worse, what about people who are just downright abusive, that think they’re allowed to treat you like garbage, that seriously threaten your mental wellbeing?

I generally don’t recommend blocking, but in extreme cases it may be necessary.

Blocking someone: the red flags

You may decide to block someone for the same exact reasons you’d decide to avoid someone or burn bridges with them.

Essentially, you block people that repeatedly give you pain. Emotional pain, abuse, opportunist behavior, belittling, disrespect etc.

It’s not about avoiding conflict. It’s about removing the pain, the thoughts and feelings that don’t let you sleep at night.

Some of the red flags of abusive/toxic people that you may want to avoid or block are if…

  • You have thought about blocking them many times already
  • You feel better when they’re away (a sense of peace, relief, freedom)
  • His/her presence triggers negative physical symptoms e.g. headaches
  • He/she won’t change no matter how many times you’ve told them
  • You get texts/calls all the time for no real reason and they expect replies

When NOT to block someone

I’ve already explained why blocking can be immature in some cases in this article, but in a nutshell, you should not block someone if…

  • It’s done as a form of revenge or punishment
  • You have never actually addressed/explained the issue
  • There are communication issues in general
  • He/she is unaware that their behavior hurts you and they can change
  • It’s done to run away from problems that will inevitably resurface

It’s not black and white. And in an ideal world, there would be no need for blocking or ghosting anyone.

Typically your own feelings will always be the most accurate information, the best decision-making tool for blocking or not blocking.

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that when someone has become the biggest threat to your mental health, then you’re 100 percent allowed to block them.

Even if it’s a mistake. Because at that point it has nothing to do with being selfish and a lot to do with self protection.

Main reasons to block someone

1. To avoid abuse or harassment

This one is pretty straightforward. I don’t care who, why, or how — abuse should never be tolerated.

This is the most extreme case and hopefully it won’t apply to you, but if it ever happens, give yourself permission to block.

2. To protect your mental health

It doesn’t mean you should block anyone who is annoying. It does mean your mental health is an absolute priority.

So when someone pushes it too far and you simply can’t afford to invest any more energy in their game, it’s probably time to walk away.

3. To take time and think

You feel someone is toxic and gives off negative vibes, but you’re not sure — it may be just you, right? So how do you find out?

It’s simple: you take a break. You spend enough time without them and evaluate your feelings. Blocking can work the same.

4. To explain what words can’t

It happened to me. It probably happened to you. You do everything to try and explain, to change the other person’s behavior or at least communicate the issue.

And nothing changes. And no amount of words will ever change anything. Then you come to the realization that you can’t sacrifice your sanity anymore.

Other reasons to block someone

5. To not hurt their feelings

This is counterintuitive since blocking is usually harsh and unexpected. However, there are situations where blocking is actually the most tactful option.

I’ve talked about this in my post about why INFJs ghost. Sometimes it’s the ones that are gentle that choose to block, simply because it doesn’t involve any type of confrontation (that may hurt more).

6. To go on a social media detox

This is the only exception in this list in the sense that it doesn’t have to involve drama or abuse or any of that.

Say you want to unplug for a while or be unreachable, but still be available to a few contacts — you could block all the remaining ones, or e.g. all work contacts (it’s usually best to let them know in advance).

7. To reverse the roles

Manipulative people like narcissists find ways to be in a position of power and then use that to make you do what they want.

Blocking reverses that in the sense that once you say goodbye, the manipulator is no longer able to influence you and can only resort to begging or playing victim.

I would never encourage anyone to do this to “play games” with manipulators (they’ll always beat you eventually), but rather to detach and walk away.

Final thoughts

Think carefully before blocking or ghosting — it can leave the other person confused and emotionally vulnerable.

This post wasn’t written to encourage blocking in general, but rather to give yourself permission to block when your mental health is clearly at stake.

With technology becoming an increasingly bigger part of our lives, we learn to establish boundaries not just physically but online too.

When the end of a toxic relationship is only a click away, and when you genuinely feel there are no other options and you’ve already sacrificed too much…

Then blocking becomes the ultimate tool for self care and self protection. Just don’t abuse it.