How Can You Ignore Someone (Instant Messaging And Chat) Without Hurting Their Feelings

You met a person that seems nice online at first, but then he or she starts to annoy you by sending random instant messages at all hours of the day. Now what used to be a fun activity is dreaded because you never know when that next instant message will pop up. The question is do you just want to ignore these instant messages or block the messages completely? In most cases I have not had to block someone and there are a few things you can do to curb unwanted instant messages.

Strategy One: Tell The Person You Are Too Busy To Chat Right Now

This approach may be harder to use in Yahoo! or Myspace chat rooms. Honestly, stay out of Yahoo! chatrooms if you do not want to be solicited with unwanted instant messages because most of this rooms revolve around people looking to "hook up" online or spam bots.

However, the strategy of telling someone you are too busy to chat does work when instant messaging with only one person. Simply tell the person you are sorry, but you are too busy to chat room now. Most people will get the idea and will politely go away. Also, this approach is considerate and kind towards the person initiating conversation because we must remember they are still people whose feelings may be hurt. However, if you are nice about it they will see you are just not in the mood to chat right now and that they should not take this personally.

What if you only want to ignore this person for awhile and maybe talk to him or her later? If this is a friend or acquaintance who tends to disturb your online time, it might be best to be straight forward with this person and tell them that you are just not able to talk right then. Arrange to have certain times during the week when you are available to instant message if you are still interested in talking with this person from time to time.

Strategy Two: Sign On As "Invisible"

If you want to accomplish more online and do not want to be disrupted by instant messages, simply try signing into the Yahoo! or Windows Live Messenger as invisible, which means you can receive instant messages and no one will see that you are online. I suggest this technique because this way no one particular person can ask another person on your list if you are blocking them. Not that I have anything against blocking, but I have heard from friends that the person being blocked can often become upset and start asking other friends what he or she did wrong. So if you just are trying to ignore one person for a short amount of time I would suggest to try signing on as invisible to avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Also, this will allow you to chat with the people you truly want to chat with when you do have free time because an available icon usually means available for chat.

Strategy Three: Set Your Status To Away Or Busy

Often this will prevent people from sending you unwanted instant messages, but it also allows people to send you one or two just to say hi. I like setting my status to busy if I am doing something for a few minutes, but I want people on my messenger list to know I will get back to them later.

Strategy Four: Do Not Sign Into The Instant Messenger

This strategy tends to work best for me if I am really busy and I do not have time to chat. All I have to do is wait to sign into the messenger until I have free time for social networking. Why sign into the instant messenger if you are not interested in chatting anyway?

Strategy Five: Create A Separate Screename For The People You Want To Chat With More Often

I have a few acquaintances who are nice people, but they will bombard me with instant messages if I accidentally sign into my primary screename. However, I decided to create a secondary screename for chatting with people that are close family and friends, which avoids receiving unwanted instant messages. I still like signing in under my primary screename when I want to talk to other people or I am available to chat. Having two screenames is another way to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.

Strategy Six: Avoid Chat Rooms To Avoid Unwanted Messages

As I stated earlier the larger chatrooms tend to be hunting grounds for those who want to:

  • Talk dirty.
  • Hook up in person for the night.
  • Talk to anyone who will listen.
  • Send you spam.

On a rare occasion it is fun to chat in the main chat rooms, but you may have to click ignore if you receive an unwanted message from someone in a Yahoo! chat room. Also, spending time in more specialized chat rooms that are centered around topics such as crafting, sewing, hiking, and the like will cut down on the number of undesirable instant messages you will receive.

Last Resort: Block A Person On The Instant Messenger

As a safety precaution you should always block people who threaten and harass you on in chat rooms or on the instant messenger. However, blocking an old friend or acquaintance that you find to be annoying may hurt his or her feelings. Consider using the other steps before resorting to blocking someone completely off your instant messenger list because you never know when you may want to speak to them again. Would it not be awkward if you started working with that person and you had to say "Oh hi, I am the sorry that blocked you off my list because I think you are boring". This is not fifth grade and we should be adult enough to ask someone to stop talking to us if it bothers us that much, and if they do not respect our wishes it then becomes harassment and we should block their messages. However, it is much more mature to have an adult conversation with someone and discuss with them why you do not want to talk at the moment. However, if you are harassed it is easy to block someone and all you have to do it click on the ignore icon when they send you an instant message. Following the above strategies will prevent having to completely block a person sending you instant messages. I have only had to block two or three people because I try to follow the strategies above before I get to this point. Good luck and be safe when talking to people online!

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Comments 53 comments

PetMemorialWorld profile image

PetMemorialWorld 8 years ago from New Zealand

Heh ...been there

(sorry to anyone reading this who is on block lol)

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

You have the right to block people on the instant messenger.  I just try to avoid it because I have found other things work just as well.  Mostly I do not like to instant message too much anyway. Thanks for visiting!

jacobworld profile image

jacobworld 8 years ago from Ireland

Unfortunately we have to use these programs . Maybe you can write Seth how to talk to these people to discourage them

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Do you mean on your website?

zylla3philippines profile image

zylla3philippines 8 years ago from Anaheim, CA

I just learned to use YM since my niece is here to help me set it up and operate the 3-way calling with my sisters. Phone is really getting rediculously expensive. When I want to learn more I know where to come back...I may need the info here at some later time. Thanks!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I can help you if you have questions. I use Yahoo! and MSN all the time.

Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 8 years ago

Nice hub, sweetiepie. I've been using Yahoo & MSN messenger and luckily never had to ignore or block anyone yet. Maybe because all of them are my close friends. I don't add random people or someone I don't really know to my contact list.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

One reason I love the Internet is because it instantaneously gives me what I used to have to wait weeks to months for, contact with people from other places. As a child I begged my mom to sign me up for a pen pal service and I wrote letters with people from six different countries. Sadly I lost contact with those people over the years, but the Internet has allowed me to develop new online friends from other countries. I also talk with friends on the messenger, but I will talk to people from other places once I have established they are not a weirdo. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Om Paramapoonya!

jyuva profile image

jyuva 8 years ago from Away

Nice Strategy Sweetpie to ignore people Nice hub

But we add only friends to our list.

I think, no need to avoid the people

I never faced this problem till now

Maybe in future don't know

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

This hub was answering a request and usually I do not avoid people on the instant messenger, but there are a couple who send non-stop messages even if I say I am busy. Sometimes it is easier just not to sign into the messenger if you know you will be bombarded with IM's. I used to enjoy instant messaging, but now I prefer email. I still instant message from time to time, but I like to have control over when I decided I want to. Thanks for commenting.

SirDent 8 years ago

This ceratinly is great advice for those who don't know yet. I have most of my contacts blocked. I unblock them only when I want to talk with them. Of course it took me a while to figure out I could block whoever I wanted. At one point I had over 100 contacts on MSN messenger. It started getting kind of scary when I would sign in.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by and commenting SirDent.

SirDent 8 years ago

I love commenting on hubs I can identfiy with. I am thinking about opening a chatroom for hubbers. Going to post in the hangout and see if anyone might be interested.,

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I started a thread about grade school bullies if anyone is interested in that.

SirDent 8 years ago

I read that also, but I wasn't bullied much in school. I was the bully!!!!! :P Not really.

Courtney_CollinsD profile image

Courtney_CollinsD 8 years ago from Las Vegas

I use the away or can't talk right now to most people that tend to annoy me at times, it's truly the best way to go without hurting there feelings and still being able to talk to them every now and then.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I am glad you are not a bully SirDent.

Thanks for commenting Courtney.

Jerrico Usher profile image

Jerrico Usher 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Blocking someone can be detected. If your going to go invisible or block someone specifically (stealth mode) then make sure you go into options and turn off the notifyers that allows them to see when your "typing a message" this notifyer shows up at the bottom of the window when your friend is typing a reply. What most people don't realize is that there is a hole in this feature. If you send out a probe IM (I call it) to see if you’re being ignored you only have to send it out and monitor the bottom of your im window. If this person whom put you on invisible clicks the x to close the unwanted window of your im (to pretend they aren't there) or leaves it open (no way around it) and types into ANY text field i.e. word, url filed on browser etc.. This will activate the "bobbyjoe is typing a message" notifyer on the bottom. This will not go away until they close the im window. So if you get that then nothing ever comes in you know they closed the window (how rude!)..

I discovered this neat trick not to spy on or annoy anyone but when my friends yahoo messenger was not working correctly and she coudlnt get it off of invisible mode. I though this was interesting because every time I sent out a probe IM to say hi you there? it showed that little caption "blah is typing" and I would mess with her.. "I know your there.. I can see you typing..." for weeks she coudlnt figure out how I knew, then I told her and we realized a hidden feature in the program. BUT I didn’t want those morons I didn’t want to talk to to use this against me so I discovered you can turn that notifyer off and you will truly be invisible. Hope this adds value to your hub. Feel free to delete this comment and add this data to your hub if you like.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

It is a free web and you are free to share. However, I would just ignore someone if they were not chatting with you. I have had it the other way around where a guy I liked stopped chatting with me, so I thought if he does not want to chat with me I have better things to do. Most of the time it is not personal, so I did not take it personal when he did not want to chat. In the cases I did not want to chat with certain people it not that they were not nice, but they were asking questions that made me uncomfortable. When we chat we must all feel mutually comfortable. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

washingtonian 8 years ago

I agree, IM can be a big vat of wasted time if you are not careful! And I have been borderline stalked by past high school alum and ex boyfriends via myspace.

Thanks for the post on my Top Chef Hub.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


I read an article someone describing the same thing you were talking about how myspace has enabled people to know too much about their former lovers. One lady looked up her ex-boyfriend on myspace and saw he was engaged, so I guess she felt really sad and sick afterwards. I have not been stalked on myspace, but I sure did receive some weird instant messages from online friends in the past, which is one of the reasons I do some of these things on the hub. Thanks for stopping by.

aneel kumer 8 years ago

hi i am happy with you plz give me your email id i want to chat your if you dont mein pls i waiting for you

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Are you serious? Send me an email through my profile if you want to chat.

guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 8 years ago from India

Good Strategies. I was missing some of them.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Thanks for commenting Guidebaba!

joaojeronimo profile image

joaojeronimo 8 years ago from Maputo, Mozambique

Woow great strategies lol I've used all of them already xD...

I loved your article lol...

I made an article about multi protocol messaging software for every Operating System. You might be interested:

Tana Hamiter profile image

Tana Hamiter 8 years ago

some excellent ideas, I'm still somewhat new to social networking and IM and Skype but already see the problems, your input is useful and doable. Thanks.

ahmed 7 years ago

i am finding friend .only for net chat. i remain free.

choco gal! 7 years ago

heyy nicccee oneee

Cam Anju profile image

Cam Anju 7 years ago from Stoughton, Wisconsin

These are very good tips, I've been there a few times... although it was hard I had to block them because of harrasment. Nice hub... I use the sign in as away trick a lot... works for when I don't feel like talking to someone. :)

WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 7 years ago from Templeton, CA

There was only one friend I ever used to talk to on instant messaging many years ago. He used it rarely, and then he changed his ISP and didn't have it anymore. This was before social networks like Facebook and Twitter were around. I have never knowingly signed on to instant messaging since, but on Facebook I always can see who is on line, so I must be signed in. I think something jumps out at me when I'm on Yahoo, too, but when given an opportunity, I always turn it off. If I want to talk to someone, I want to really talk to them without being in a race to type something back or wait for them to type. I also work at a home computer business and really don't like the distraction of talking to anyone but customers during work time, and work time extends far into the night for me most days. If something is urgent, I pick up the phone. If it isn't, I send an email. Maybe I'm just too old to see the point of IM.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

My grandpa still instant messaged with me and other family members into his nineties, so I suppose it all depends on the person.

danish 7 years ago


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danish 7 years ago


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danish 7 years ago


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Ebower profile image

Ebower 7 years ago from Georgia

really interesting....I've definitely used the invisible or busy/away modes before!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


Personally I do not go invisible anymore, but it is a good feature for those who want to log into the instant messenger, but do not want to be disturbed.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California

Being so new to the Internet and all of it's workings, I've yet to get into the chat mode that much, so this is not a problem, however now I know what to do if I decide to really get into IM. Thanks for the good advice.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I wrote this a couple of years ago and hardly IM anymore, but this is helpful when people do. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Hurting Blogger 7 years ago

I am done trying to blog on the net. I have tried to be cool w/ folks on blogging sites but in the end I only end up getting hurt. When you are hurting and you share that w/ folks you thought you could trust they turn against you. Some people just flat out ignore you when you try to explain yourself to them. But I'm done blogging on the net. Cant trust anyone on the computer.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hurting Blogger,

Sorry you had some bad experiences, but do not give up. My feelings have been hurt online too, but I continue to write and share what I think. At the end of the day some will be mean, but you have to write for you!

ebc 6 years ago

I wonder if deleting someone annoying from my yahoo messenger's contact list will completely cut him/her account to mine? After that, if he/she want to invite me again as his/her ym contact, I could just ignore it. In his/her contact list my name is grayed out with "add request pending". I think perhaps this is more powerful than to put him in ignore list. Do you think so?

nervousGirl 5 years ago

i don't know if anyone will reply anymore, but what if i've just met that person and the person is already bugging me? is it okay to just block him? and even ignore the person in real life because we're going to have to see each other for the next few months due to the same course? is that not fair for the person? i know it hurts but i don't really want to have any association with the person for some reason. i don't hate, but i just don't want to interact with that person, because of the extremely bad first impression the first whole week.

nervousGirl 5 years ago

oh and i forgot to mention, i've already texted something (because i was too annoyed) that probably hurt the person and resulted in hate. i feel mean but i won't be bothered anymore, so i'm kind of in a two-sided tension right now, if that makes any sense..

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Nervous Girl,

I know in the heat of the moment we all want to say something when we are annoyed, but I always have regretted sending an email without taking time to think. I would say just think through a message before you send it, but this hub was more about ignoring people you have only met online. If you know this person upfront you probably should have just explained you wanted to study on your own, or have a new study partner.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks

SweetiePie, thanks. This is very helpful. I have not had any serious problems with adults in these situations, but recently some very small children have asked to be my friends on FB, and some of them simply haven't learned internet etiquette -- or any etiquette at all, and while I do not want to hurt their feelings, I can't allow them to change my use of the FB page, which for me is much more for business purposes than as a way to pass time.

Some of your suggestions look like a good way to sidestep the problem without bruising little egos.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Aya,

You make a good point about how if we use Facebook for business purposes, why we might not want to add certain people who might use it in an unprofessional way. Most of the problems I had in the past were with using the messenger, but mostly I do not use that anymore. I simply used the above steps when I encountered adults who I really did not want to talk to.

Fluffy77 profile image

Fluffy77 5 years ago from Enterprise, OR

Thanks, I do believe we have all had this very problem at one time or another. Great to have tips for a solution here.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Fluffy,

I do believe this article is still relevant for those who chat via instant messaging.

Mina 5 years ago

Hi I need help figuring out some stuff about MSN.

A friend of mine deleted me from his friends list (at least that's what me made me believe,i thought that maybe he had just blocked me and lied because he was angry) but now we're on speaking terms again.

If i'm not mistaken, when someone deletes you but you don't, you can still see them on your friends list but their screen name is their e-mail (which is what i can see nowadays). Does that mean that they haven't added me back?

heeeelp. thanks

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


When someone deletes you, it usually means they will no longer show up on your list. I would not take it personally, and just move on. I had a friend once who pretty much stop talking to me after she moved on to other things in life. I made the mistake of saying I wanted to get together with her more often since we never really saw each other anymore, and she decided my comments were criticizing her. That was not my intention, but I realized after that if someone is not really talking to you are spending time with you, they have moved on to other things in their life. Since then I have learned to just give people space, and back away when someone is sending me clear signals they no longer want to be friends. I say do not worry about this, and move onto people who want to talk to you.

Kristina 5 years ago

I block somebody but somehow they unblocked themselves how can that happen?

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Kristina,

The person did not unblock themselves, they simply made a new account to see why you had block them. I would just block the new account if you do not want to talk to this person.

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