How to Ignore People You No Longer Wish to Be Around
It can be difficult to ignore someone who upsets you or causes you a lot of grief. This can be even more difficult when that individual is someone you have to see or interact with on a regular basis at school, work, or family events. However, learning how to distance yourself from negative people and replace those individuals with positive, supportive people can help you preserve your own happiness and stability in life.
Distancing Yourself From Those Individuals
Stay away from places you know that person will be.The easiest way to ignore a person is to avoid encountering that individual altogether. You can reduce the chances of running into someone by avoiding the places you used to hang out together or where you know that person frequently spends his/her time.
- Find new restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to visit. Look for places slightly outside that individual's immediate neighborhood.
- Try to go shopping at stores further away from that individual's home (if you know where he/she lives).
- If a mutual friend invites you somewhere, ask that friend if the individual you're avoiding will be there. Then you can decide whether to go or not.
Limit your interactions with the individual.Limiting contact with someone is a good way to ignore them without necessarily cutting them out of your life. Cutting off all ties with someone can be difficult if you are related or if you go to the same place together on a regular basis. However, it can help you avoid having to interact with the individual on a regular basis, which may make you feel better.
Keeping Conversations Short
Give brief, unemotional responses.Don’t expand on anything you say, and don’t ask them any questions either. Respond briefly and politely but show that you’re not interested in furthering the conversation.
Use a polite excuse to cut the conversation short.Say things like, “I’m doing good, but I better get back to work now,” or, “I’m meeting someone for lunch in a few minutes.” Be polite but firm when you tell them you have to go.
Avoid saying anything mean or hurtful.Saying something rude or passive aggressive will only make things worse. Vent your negative feelings later to a trusted friend or a journal, but stay relaxed and polite in person.
Deflect conversational attempts from the individual.Whether you work together, have mutual friends, or simply cross paths from time to time, it's important to resist the other person's attempts at drawing you into a conversation. You can do this by ignoring that person if they attempt to talk to you.
Have a buffer with you if you absolutely must talk to the person.If you can't avoid crossing paths with someone at work or at a social event, it may be helpful to have an outside friend with you. This friend can help buffer your encounter with the individual you don't want to be around. He/she will help ensure that things remain civil and can help direct the conversation to a neutral subject if the other person tries to make things unpleasant in any way.
Let your buffer know what you need him/her to do.Make sure your friend is okay with filling this role up front so that he/she doesn't feel used or confused later on.
Develop some type of nonverbal signalso that you can both excuse yourselves if you need to get away in a hurry.
Try being polite to people you can't avoid.If you cannot avoid certain people, you can always try being extra polite towards those individuals.Sometimes a kind approach can curb the negative behavior in others that you wish to avoid.
Tips on Staying Civil
Do what you can to stay calm.Take deep breaths, get up and stretch, or take a sip of water. Do something to distract yourself and break up your negative mental energy.
Say something polite instead of being mean.When you feel the urge to say something mean, challenge yourself to instead say something polite or nice, like, “You did a great job at the presentation this week.” This can help diffuse tension with them and within yourself.
Leave the room if you feel like you can’t be polite.Sometimes the urge to say something might get too strong. In this case, excuse yourself quickly and politely to go calm down. Say something like, “I’m going to grab some lunch—please excuse me.”
Don’t let their negativity bring you down.Stay strong and confident no matter what. Rise above their negativity by refusing to engage.
Stay strong and secure.If you're trying to avoid being around someone, there's a good chance that individual is negative or otherwise unpleasant. These types of people typically try (whether consciously or not) to get under your skin. They may tell you that you're foolish for taking chances, or they may try to discourage you from having hopes and dreams at all. If you've decided to disengage with someone, it's important that you stay strong and try not to let that individual get to you or change you.
- Even if you don't feel secure or strong, it's important that you believe that you can be strong. This can help create a buffer between you and the negative people in your life.
Don't let the negative words and actions of others affect the way you feel about yourself or the way you live your life.Use positive affirmations and self-talk to break out of any negative thoughts the person might make you have.
- Remind yourself that you're a good person and that your friends and family care about you. That must mean that you have positive attributes that the other individual simply isn't willing to see.
Cutting Off Electronic Communication
Block phone contact with someone you don't wish to be around.If you want to cut off contact with someone you don't wish to be around, you may want to consider blocking that individual from calling or texting you. This may not be necessary if you don't have any regular contact with the individual, but it certainly won't hurt.
- To block calls on an iPhone, select that individual from your contacts list and choose "Block This Caller." To block texts, go into your messages, choose the individual you want to block, and select "Details," then "Info," and then "Block Contact."
- To block calls/texts on an Android phone, go to Call Settings and select "Call Rejection," which will take you to the "Auto Reject List." From there you'll just search for and select the number you wish to block.
- To block calls/texts on a Windows phone, go to Settings and select "Call + SMS Filter," then switch the "Block Calls" function on. Then just hold down the number you want to block, select "Block Number," and hit "OK."
- If you use a BlackBerry phone, you'll need to speak to someone from your wireless carrier to block an unwanted phone number from contacting you.
Cut off social media connections.Even if you manage to avoid someone in person, that individual may still be able to contact you via social media. If you're friends with or follow someone on a social media site, that person can find out what you're doing or where you're going, and he/she could send you threatening or harassing messages through social media as well.
- If you're friends/followers with the individual on social media, you can
unfriend or unfollow that person.You can also block that individual so that he/she cannot see what you post and cannot contact you in any way.
- If you're not friends/followers with the individual on social media, or if you've already unfriended that person, change your privacy settings within that social media site so that only your friends can see what you post.
- If you're friends/followers with the individual on social media, you can
Prevent someone from emailing you.If the person you're trying to avoid has your email address, you may fear getting an aggressive or confrontational email from that person. You can prevent this by blocking that individual from emailing you, or by filtering out all messages from that individual (depending on which email server you use).
- To filter out emails in Gmail, select a message from that individual in your inbox by marking the checkbox next to it. Click the drop-down menu, choose "More," then "Filter messages like these," and on the redirected page select the option "Delete it."
- To block emails in Microsoft Outlook, simply right-click a message from that individual, then click "Junk," followed by "Block Sender."
Maintaining Your Own Happiness
Learn to recognize the things that set you off.There may be times when you cannot avoid being around a person who is negative. Whether it's a colleague, relative, or neighbor, you may have to be around or (even interact with) negative people from time to time. When that happens, it's important that you recognize the things that set you off and try to be aware of those triggers to avoid getting upset.
- Make a list of the people, places, and things that cause you to feel unhappy, angry, or frustrated.
- Consider why those people, places, and things trigger a negative reaction for you.
- Think about how those triggers may come up in your day-to-day life, and plan strategies that will help you avoid or minimize these situations.
Resist the urge to complain about the people you don't like.Even though you might feel like venting your frustrations, doing so may actually end up alienating other people. They may be friends with the individual you don't like, or they may just get sick of hearing you say bad things about others. If you constantly complain about someone, the friends and colleagues that you spend time with may even end up wanting to distance themselves from you.
- Instead of complaining about the person you no longer wish to be around, make a point of not discussing that person in conversation with others.
Talk with others about positive things that you do enjoy.Otherwise, the person you don't like will end up consuming a lot of your time and energy.
Take responsibility for your own words and actions.When you blame others for your own negative words and actions, it gives that person power over you and subtly takes away your own self control. No matter how upset someone else makes you,it's ultimately your decision to engage with that anger/frustration or to let it go.The things you say or do, even if you do them because of your frustration with someone, are still your choice and your responsibility.
Taking Control of Your Own Actions
Change your thought patterns.Make a point to notice any negative thoughts you have. Acknowledge them and let them pass without letting them take over.
Learn to ignore the person, then let them go.You can’t control the other person, but you stop letting them affect you. Stop wasting your time and energy even thinking about them anymore, and dedicate yourself to things you care about instead.
You have the power to create a positive life.You’ll always come into contact with people you don’t like, but you have the ability to control their impact on you. Take control of your thoughts and actions and focus on yourself instead of them.
Drawing Positive People Into Your Life
Recognize and project your best qualities.Positive people are generally drawn to other positive people. If you want to attract positive individuals into your life, it makes sense that you should let those people know that you are also positive. You can do this in subtle ways once you learn how to tune into and project your best, most desirable qualities.
- Think about what makes you a positive individual. Do you compliment others or go out of your way to be kind, for example?
- Make a conscious effort to engage in those activities more frequently - not just so others will see you, but to cultivate a more positive lifestyle of your own.
- Let your actions speak for you when it comes to what kind of person you are and what type of life you live.
Identify and seek out the positive people who are already in your life.Chances are there are already some very strong, positive individuals in your life. As you distance yourself from people you no longer wish to be around, it's important to replace those individuals with the people you do want around. Generally, it's best to keep positive, caring people close to you, as they make good friends and can help influence you to better yourself.
- Think about the friends, family members, and coworkers who are always positive in the face of adversity. You should also think about who the kindest, most considerate/compassionate individuals are in your life.
Reach out to those people. Make an effort to spend more time together,and try inviting them to social events so you can spend as much time as possible together.
Meet and spend time with new positive people.In addition to the people already in your life, you should actively seek out new positive people to befriend. Finding new people who are positive and compassionate will help you further cement your social circle with people you admire and want to be around. This can help make you a better, more desirable friend for others.
Finding New Friends
Look for new groups in new places.Look for new, positive people at your local gym, a faith group, an outdoor club like a hiking group, and other places where kind, positive people might spend time.
Try volunteering.Choose a cause you really love. You’ll feel good and meet other positive, compassionate people who care about the same cause.
Get together casually.Grab a quick coffee or have lunch with the people you meet. Even short amounts of time together can boost your mood and outlook.
QuestionI have been friends with this girl for so long and now another girl came in and they do all these things together and whenever I confront them they make up excuses. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTell your friend how your feeling and ask her to have a private day together, if she refused, ask her if she still wants to be friends anymore, if she says no, just walk away. You will make new friends that respect you for you.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if they call me names?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust walk away. Calling someone names is childish and immature, and the individuals doing this are probably trying to elicit a response from you. They want to see you get upset or get hurt by their words. Don't give them the pleasure.Thanks!
QuestionIf they're name-calling, gossiping, etc., can I stand up for myself?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, of course. This is wrong, rude, and immature behavior. If they were your real friends they wouldn't do these things. Just say "that's enough" or ignore them if they call you names. If people believe the gossip, ignore them too.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I survive the bus ride?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't look at or speak to the person, put earbuds in your ears and listen to music, talk to other friends, move to a different seat, look out the window, or whatever you have to do to stay away from him.Thanks!
QuestionEveryone in my class nags me and calls me a failure. What do I do to ignore them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFocus on your school work and try to make friends outside of school. Don't let your classmates upset you. You only have to see them in school, so having outside friends will help you feel some sense of balance in your life. When you're in school, simply limit or avoid interacting with your classmates. Try sitting at a different table during lunch, and wear headphones in the hallway so you don't have to hear their insults when you're outside of class. Remember: situations like this always get better as you grow up. You won't be in school forever, and once you graduate you'll be able to have a more fulfilling and friend-filled life.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the person gossips about me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIgnore them still. Seriously, shake it off. Don't even worry about it. Don't stoop to their level and try not to associate with such immature individuals.Thanks!
QuestionHow would I ignore them when they brag?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou don't have to stay and listen to it. Find something else to do while that person talks (like playing with your phone, for example) or simply leave the room and come back later.Thanks!
QuestionI try to stay away from places this person might be, but they keep coming to whatever place I am just to bother me. What should I do?Top AnswererIgnore their existence. If they start bothering you, grunt and walk away. You reserve the right to walk away from situations you don't want to be in.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if ignoring people makes them angry and hostile?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it makes them angry, then something is wrong with them. Obviously, the person just wants attention from you, and if they don't get attention from you, whether good or bad, then they are going to think something isn't right. If it makes you feel better to ignore them and it keeps you from harm, then do it. It is the other person's problem that they need to deal with for themselves.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do I find it so hard to ignore people?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSometimes, the person could be a really good friend and it's hard to lose friends. Many times, it is because we're social beings and we know it is unkind to ignore people and to make them feel bad. In some cases it is because you have a deep entanglement with that person, even if you don't like them or what they do, you still feel obliged. Finding it hard to ignore people is normal.Thanks!
How do you ignore your family
- If you ever come across this person in a shop or store, pretend you don't see him or her. Change your walking speed, stop, or turn irrationally. If they say something to you, tell them that you are in a rush and you really must go. If all else fails, just keep quiet.
- Just because someone is related to you, it doesn't mean you have to put up with their negative behavior. If someone makes you feel bad or hurts you, you have every right to politely and respectfully cut ties with that individual.
- Do not be rude or mean back to that person. This will not fix what that person has done to you, and ultimately it makes you a worse person.
- Think about how you would feel if you were them, making sure you consider the other person's emotions as well. For example if you have known them for a long time, then they may be surprised that you are ignoring them, and they may be willing to talk it out and compromise.
- If you decide to really ignore someone for a prolonged period, you must expect that the two of you may never talk again and come to terms with that.
- If the person is an abusive spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend, ignoring them will provoke them, and make the situation worse. Seek professional help and get out of the situation!
- At some point, you may decide that you want to communicate with the person that you have been ignoring in an effort to settle the dispute. Remember that this may not always be possible or reasonable. However, if it's someone you'll be forced to see regularly (like a relative or a colleague), it may be necessary.
Sources and Citations
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