There’s Nothing Wrong With Blocking People

Every year I take a break from blogging for the last two weeks of December. I will be sharing some of my old favourites in the meantime and will be back in January with new material.  This post was originally published on March 19, 2015.

One of the reasons why I enjoy following CantrellJason on Twitter so much is that he always has something thought-provoking to say. Today’s blog post is a response to something he wrote earlier this week. To summarize his post in one sentence, he believes that blocking people online has become a way for people to avoid conflict.

There are a lot of things I agree on with him. Most of the people I follow online are politically and socially progressive. This isn’t something that’s restricted to just one group. It’s ridiculously easy for all of us to surround ourselves with so many likeminded people that we never hear other points of view.

Is this necessarily a good thing? No. Every group – whether it’s religious, political, or social in nature- has weak spots. Isolating yourselves from anyone who could point out where and what they are only makes it easier for them spread.

Here’s the thing, though: there are only so many hours in a day. Most of them are already spoken for due to work and family obligations, our biological need for sleep, and the empty shelves in the fridge that make figuring out what to eat for dinner a real chore.

Some people relish the thought of filling those last few hours of the day with longwinded debates. I have several friends who fit into this category. I don’t understand why this appeals to them so much, but I’ve seen them do it for so many years that I just have to assume they’re wired a little differently than me. 🙂

Not all of us are like that. I’ve already spent countless hours explaining my sexual orientation and (lack of) religious beliefs to people both on and off the Internet. Their responses range from hostile to curious to indifferent, and there is no way to predict ahead of time how they will react.

After a while you grow very tired of talking in circles.

Sometimes block buttons are incredibly effective tools for ending conversations that never end on their own. Not everyone in this world will understand or even wants to understand. Some of them just like to argue. Others are convinced they can change you or your opinions if they press hard enough

This isn’t something I do lightly. There are several other steps I walk through first before hitting that block button, especially when the person on the other end is someone I consider a friend.

There’s no shame in dropping the rope.

In certain situations, that’s all you can do.

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0 Responses to There’s Nothing Wrong With Blocking People

  1. tammy

    It’s also good to remind ourselves that only in the last few decades have we had access to many people for discussions. Subtract out the Internet and there will be few late night debates left for us.

  2. Jason Cantrell

    Definitely some good points. There’s a lot of times when it’s just not worth engaging someone. Especially if you KNOW you’re not going to ever convince them of your side, or even just get them to agree to disagree.

    Then some people are just trolls and you don’t want to bother with a single response.

  3. On my Facebook page, I ban any person who posts comments meant to evangelize. On Twitter, I don’t refollow Evangelicals/fundamentalists. On my personal Facebook account, I only friend those I’d share a meal or drink with. On my blog, I tend to give everyone at least one shot at commenting. If they show that they can play well with others, I allow them to continue commenting. Sadly, many Evangelicals never learned to play well with others.

    The reason for doing things this way is simple. I know, on any given day, I have a short window where I am mentally and physically sharp enough to write and interact with others. I ask myself, how do I want to spend this time? Some days, I might have two hours before the pain and fatigue send me to the recliner or bed. A good day is six hours. So, what do I want to do with this time? Thinking this way helps me avoid protracted, worthless debates and arguments with people who really have no interest in my point of view. They are only interested in hearing themselves talk. Armed with certainty, they are there to slay the preacher turned atheist dragon.

    Sometime soon, I plan to create YouTube videos about my journey. The big question for me is what to do about comments. As everyone knows, YouTube comments are the worst of the worst.


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