Consider the following scenarios:
1. Friend A was in a relationship that ended badly, with the other person continually harassing them. Friend A blocked them on all social network and deleted their number so they may get on with their life.
2. Friend B blocks people on Facebook and other mediums who “annoy” them
3. Friend C had a fight with a friend they had known for years. This resulted in the friend blocking them on everything. Friend C was so upset that they deactivated their Facebook, and went off the radar for a few months.
4. Friend D was in a relationship where their partner had cheated on them. When they confronted their partner, their number was blocked. And they were unable to talk to them.
5. Friend E was receiving messages from someone they didn’t know continually. So they proceeded to block them.
6. There was a meme on Facebook that said in order to get revenge on someone or “hit them where it hurts”, you simply have to unfollow them on Instagram and block them on Facebook.
You know, in this day and age, communication is so easy. There are millions of ways you can talk to someone. And there are ways to know when someone has seen your attempts to contact them. Which is all a good thing really. Because I cannot imagine how agonising it must have been in the days when everyone would communicate through letters. And in the days/weeks that followed sending that letter, wondering whether the other person had received it, had read it, when they would reply, or if they were even alive. There was just no way of knowing.
So it should be a blessing that there are now so many options to reach out to someone else. Your friends/family, etc.
But with anything, there’s a dark side. Off late, I’ve been hearing from people about this whole “blocking” business. As in the act of clicking on someone, going to options, scrolling down and hitting “block this person” on whatever app you use to communicate with them on. Then sitting back and feeling triumph.
And I say that last bit because that’s the kind of blocking I hear about. When websites such as Facebook were first developed, the blocking feature was most relevant to people like friend E. It’s basically a way you can avoid the less than great people in the world you don’t even know. Which is fair enough. And then after that, it was next most relevant to Friend A. Who was being harassed by someone they knew, and wanted it to stop. Also reasonable.
The problems, are with Friends B, C, D, and the meme I mentioned. Blocking someone out of malice. For revenge. Intentionally to hurt that person. Yeah. That’s not cool.
Like yes it means you don’t want to talk to that person in that instance or for the foreseeable future, but essentially what you’re saying is that they meant so little to you that you basically can delete them from your life at the simple click of a button.
And that’s what hurts most people. Of course 20 years ago that wouldn’t have made sense to anyone. And it wouldn’t have been possible anyway. To stop someone communicating with you, you’d usually stop replying to letters, stop answering the phone multiple times when they call, or in extreme cases, move.
But this is slightly different. Blocking is like going out of your way to make it clear to someone that they are no longer privileged to attempt to contact you. To be in your life. In that one click, it’s all literally over.
Which is so weird. We live in a time where this is possible. Friend C had a terrible time. To the point where another friend and I had to go visit her to make sure she was okay. She began to spiral quite a bit and all because her “friend” had blocked her and she was beyond devastated.
I can understand that. The feeling that you spent time/effort/feelings on someone who only cared about you as much as the effort it took to flex the MCP joints of their finger and apply pressure to click the “block” button. And then carry on with their life.
What would motivate someone to do that? Well. As in Friend C’s experience, someone can just be angry and act out by blocking. The equivalent of hanging up or slamming a door in their mind. However, if they perpetuate that, it becomes worse. As adults I think that if you’ve known someone for long enough, you should be able to face them and work through whatever problems you have. That’s not an unreasonable expectation is it?
Unless you’re one of the people that Friend D encountered. Who had clearly done something wrong and chose to deal with it in that pathetic way. By running away from the confrontation. As though that would solve everything. Honestly I can’t imagine what this person was thinking. But the word despicable comes to mind.
And then there’s friend B. Who blocks people who annoy them. Basically friend B told me that if someone posted unnecessary things or messaged them for no reason, they would be blocked. I didn’t quite understand this. They were usually people who friend B didn’t know very well. And yes sometimes people can be extremely annoying on social media. But that’s why websites like Facebook came up with an “unfollow” button. So you don’t see their posts and they don’t know it. That to me, is less damaging then telling someone that you went out of your way to make sure they know they’re so annoying that they are no longer allowed to be a part of your social platform. And they will know. I don’t care what Facebook tells you. If someone’s posts and comments mysteriously disappear, they’ve blocked you.
And the meme suggests that this is actually something you can use to intentionally hurt someone????
Who came up with that?? And why on Earth would people endorse that idea? As though it’s acceptable?? Basically you’re admitting that you are a petty enough person who would resort to revenge and that you’re incredibly immature that you would choose these means to hurt someone, and that you’re cruel enough that you’re okay with doing that.
I’m sorry but I think that’s unacceptable in every sense.
But the more I think about it, it occurs to me that the only reason someone made a meme like that and the reason people continue to do such things is that we all give a lot of importance to this blocking idea. Like friend C who was very hurt. But if you think about it, if someone told you 20 years ago that there was this website where you could talk to someone, but they could “block” you, you’d probably not care very much. And say something to the effect of I’ll call them or go over to their house . And 20 years from now when Facebook becomes obsolete, no one’s ever going to care or remember that person who blocked them.
So really, it’s all a matter of perspective. If you know someone beyond Facebook and you know about them as a person, all of that should matter more than being blocked.
And for those who block people just to hurt them, please remember that karma is a witch. And it’ll come back threefold. You never know who’ll become a serial killer, you never know who’ll be the doctor operating on you someday, and you never know who’ll approve that loan you desperately need. As Ellen Degeneres would say:
Be kind to one another