You may need to ignore someone you care about during a conflict, after a breakup, or when a loved one is toxic. Ignoring someone can be difficult, especially if they are someone you care about. Set boundaries for when you see this person in public, and take precautions to avoid them at school or work. Ignoring someone you live with is more difficult, but you can create space between the two of you. You can reduce the temptation to talk to someone if you’re reluctantly ignoring them after a breakup or fight.
Method 1: Establishing Public Boundaries
1. If possible, avoid places they’re likely to visit. Make every effort to avoid their favourite restaurants and stores, as well as their workplace. They’ll be easier to ignore if you don’t cross their path. Take advantage of this opportunity to try new places and experiences.
If you work or go to school with them, you may not be able to avoid them. In that case, alter your routine so that you don’t cross paths as frequently. You might, for example, take a different hallway to class or go to your locker during a different passing period.
2. When you see them, avoid eye contact and use closed body language. Averting your gaze conveys the message that you do not wish to speak. It can also give them the impression that you aren’t paying attention to them. Additionally, keep your chin down and your gaze away from them to make yourself appear unapproachable. To block them out, cross your arms across your chest.
Cross your legs if you’re sitting.
Keep your eyes forward and focused on your destination. Look down or away if they’re right in front of you. You could pretend to look at your phone.
You can frown or appear angry if necessary. This may indicate that you are not in the mood to converse.
3. To avoid an interaction, pretend to be busy or listen to music. Check your phone as if you’ve just received an important message, or take out your homework or client file for one last look. While walking the halls or working, listening to music will help you minimise your interactions with everyone, including the person you’re ignoring. Start a conversation with someone else you know if they are nearby. You’ll have an excuse to ignore them if you appear to be preoccupied with something else.
Wear your earbuds but don’t listen to music if you find music distracting at work. They’ll never suspect you’re just wearing earbuds to avoid them.
Pretend to use your phone or check your homework while walking through the halls at school. Take notes or write in your planner while in class.
At work, concentrate on your tasks and avoid the break room as much as possible.
4. If you can, get away from them. Put some space between you and them when you come into contact with them, such as in a restaurant or store. Depending on what is most comfortable for you, you can cross the room, move to another location, or leave.
You could go to the restroom or the library at school. If you’re in the same class or after-school club as the person, try striking up a conversation with someone else to distract them. You could also wait until the classroom or club meeting space is about to begin before entering.
If you’re at work, go into a coworker’s cubicle or office and talk about work issues.
5. If they try to talk to you, treat them with respect. Don’t just ignore them; doing so makes you appear immature. Instead, communicate with them in a calm and polite manner. Say as little as possible and then leave the situation.
Give them the shortest response possible while remaining neutral in tone. For example, you could say, “I’m not sure what I’m doing this weekend, but I need to get to class right now.”
6. If you sit near them, change seats or find a new workspace. Ask your teacher if you can switch seats at school. It’s helpful to sit near someone you know so you can act as if you’re just choosing to sit with them. To create more privacy at work, you may relocate to a new cubicle or rearrange your cubicle, desk, or office.
You might say to your teacher at school, “I’m having trouble concentrating on my work from where I’m sitting right now. Is it okay if I move closer to the front of the room?”
If you are unable to switch seats, try to create a barrier between you two. Set up a folder as a divider between your desks. Keep your supplies on the side of your desk where they are most accessible.
If you are unable to relocate your workspaces, create a visual barrier with a bulletin board, calendar, or inspirational poster.
7. If you normally eat lunch together, try eating somewhere new. If you normally eat with them or at the same table for lunch, it can be an awkward situation. Changing your routine will make it easier to ignore them, especially if they continue to try to communicate with you. If you must eat lunch with them, enlist the help of mutual friends to act as a buffer.
Change tables in the cafeteria or ask if you can eat your lunch outside. You could also quickly eat your lunch and then go hang out in the library.
If you normally eat lunch in the office breakroom, go out to eat or eat in your car or cubicle.
8. Keep conversations with them to a minimum at events hosted by mutual friends or family. If you ignore a friend or relative, you’ll almost certainly find yourself on the guest list for parties and holidays. It’s best to respond if they speak to you, as pretending you don’t hear them is passive-aggressive. You do not, however, have to engage in lengthy discussions with them. Instead, talk to your other friends or relatives.
If necessary, ask your closest friends or relatives to act as a buffer between you and the person you’re ignoring. You could say, “I’m attempting to spend time away from Katie, and I know she’ll be in town for Thanksgiving. Will you give me an excuse to leave if she starts talking to me?”
If you don’t feel comfortable being around the person, it’s fine to politely decline an invitation to an event you know they’ll be attending. Most of the time, it’s best to keep your reason to yourself so that the host doesn’t feel compelled to choose between you and the person you’re ignoring when planning events.
9. When attending public events, surround yourself with supportive friends. You might see the person at events such as local little league games, religious services, or your neighbourhood park on a regular basis. If you know you’ll run into them, ask supportive people in your life to accompany you, such as your partner or best friend. They can make it difficult for the person to converse with you or divert your attention away from the event you’re attending.
Simply having someone with you can help you keep the person you’re trying to avoid out. If you appear to be involved with someone else, you will appear less approachable.
Method 2: Creating Distinction at Home
1. Spend more time in your room by yourself. Eat your meals, watch your favourite shows, and unwind in the privacy of your own room. Request that they not intrude on your privacy, or have a lock installed. Spend your alone time doing things that are important to you, such as studying, engaging in hobbies, or reading.
If you share a room with the person you’re attempting to avoid, look for a place where you can sit for a while. You might be able to spend time in the garage, on the porch, or curled up under the window, for example.
You could also spend more time outside, at a friend’s house, or in places you enjoy.
2. When you’re in a public place, use earbuds to drown them out. On your phone or laptop, you could listen to music or watch your favourite shows. You won’t be able to hear them talking to you if you’re wearing earbuds. Furthermore, the earbuds allow you to ignore them without making them feel bad.
Another option would be to use noise-cancelling ear plugs. Grab a book, a magazine, or your homework and put on your ear plugs to work quietly.
3. Keep necessary conversations brief, unfussy, and to the point. When you live together, it is unavoidable that you will need to communicate with them at some point. Provide brief, simple responses without elaborating on anything you have to say. Even if they’ve upset you, don’t show any emotion. Give a polite response and move on so that the conversation can end as soon as possible.
“Today was good, but I need to study,” you might say.
4. If possible, spend a few days away from home. If you’re having a fight with a parent, partner, roommate, or sibling, staying with someone else for a few days can help things calm down. It’s easier to ignore someone if you don’t have to deal with them all day. Consider staying with a friend or relative until you are ready to speak with the individual again.
If you are under the age of 18, make sure you have permission from your parent or guardian before leaving the house. You could tell your parent or guardian, “I feel like I need some space right now to process my emotions following our argument last Saturday. Can I spend the weekend with Grandma?”
Method 3: Resisting the Urge to Interact with Them
1. On social media, unfollow or block them. Ignoring someone you care about is difficult, but it’s even more difficult when you can see everything they’re up to on social media. Whether it’s an ex or crush posting pictures with a new partner or a friend going out without you, staying up to date on their current status will only make things more difficult for you. Unfollow them to avoid seeing their stories, or block them if the temptation is too great. Formal paraphrase
You could also try going on a social media fast for a few days. You won’t see their stories if you don’t access your feed!
2. If you’re tempted to text them, block their number in your phone. It’s difficult to ignore an ex or a crush who isn’t interested, especially if you’re used to texting them. Similarly, it can be difficult to ignore texts from a toxic relative. Communicating with them will only make matters worse! Do whatever it takes to avoid sending that text, even if it means blocking their phone number.
If you don’t want to block them, change their phone name to “Don’t call Troy” or something similar.
You could also write down their phone number and then delete it from your phone. You’ll still have their phone number, but it’ll be more difficult to call or text them.
3. Keep yourself occupied so that you are not tempted to contact them. Begin filling your days with activities that will assist you in achieving your personal, educational, and career objectives. Engage in a new or favourite hobby, visit new places in your neighbourhood, or enrol in a class to learn a new skill. It’s not difficult to ignore someone when you have a life full of things that are important to you.
Learn a new hobby, such as playing an instrument, drawing, or knitting.
Attend a community theatre audition.
Produce and sell a product.
Try out all of the coffee shops in your neighbourhood.
Take a class at a nearby school, library, community centre, or online. At https://www.edx.org/, you can find free courses from major universities.
4. Concentrate on developing your other relationships. Spend more time with positive influencers in your life, such as friends and family. Having these enjoyable, healthy relationships can help you remember why you’re ignoring this person. Be the first to contact others and make plans. Don’t cut yourself off because of a bad experience with a loved one.
If you want to meet new people in your area who share your interests, use a site like meetup.com. If you’re still in school, you could join an existing club or start a new one.
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