A photo of a closed door to represent someone 'locked out' or 'blocked'

To me, the representation of the block button is the freedom to move on from connections that are not beneficial for our long term health. Just like making sure I avoid walking through the fizzy drinks aisle (or where those shelves and shelves of chocolates are), succeeding in getting things done is making sure that I don’t unnecessarily put unhelpful ideas in my head. After all, Tim Urban makes a good point about not tempting our Instant Gratification Monkey.

A fellow appreciator of ‘Arrival‘ shared with me that he does not block people at all. I was just amazed at the amount of energy he must require every day to be open to all conversations. Actually that is his struggle: maintaining energy — so maybe the idea of not limiting the amount of people able to reach out to you really takes a toll.

One thing I actually look forward to in the near future (thanks to ‘Upload‘) is the ability to be able to block people in real life. What would it mean? Well…it would mean that when one person is at the supermarket, another cannot enter until either the ‘blocker’ or the ‘blockee’ leave. To make sure that that privilege is not abused there should be something like a 30-60 minute buffer. The idea is if I’m at the cinema and the person who blocked me wanted to catch a film, then she would have to wait.

I know…the mechanics of the whole thing is a bit challenging (not to mention it having to rely on something similar to what Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ used to identify individuals), and probably the best thing is to just find ways forward rather than wishing what could be. At the moment I am able to block unsavoury callers and note ones that are automated (have you experienced the ones that leave random voice messages?)

What about those times when you can’t avoid contact with a specific person? My strategy: formulate an exit plan (or path). Lets say you come across a toxic person (he just is unable to see your point of view), and suddenly this person wants to talk about his godchild. See if you can contribute to the help he’s asking for (is he looking for a childcare facility?), then finish with grabbing his Wire handle to make sure you can send the information securely.

He doesn’t have Wire? Oh well…that’s going to be easy isn’t it? You can just wait until your paths cross again and get it (though you might get lucky that he still doesn’t have it). The idea is to make sure to leave him the impression that he isn’t there to dictate when you spend time on.

“Each project matters, and the only degrading part is giving less than one is capable of giving.”

Ryan Holiday

I think the biggest reason that I’d want to unblock someone (or not use the ‘block button’) is the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO). Thoughts like these would plague me if I don’t make a decision:

  • “What if he no longer has the same view and is wanting to apologise!?“
  • “I might forget about him if I block him!”
  • “What if I change my mind and miss a message?”
  • “My sales will decrease once people find out I block people”

So, I return back to Derek’s advice and rephrase it specifically for me: Do I want to be a 8/10 or a 4/10? Should I spend two hours watching ‘Molly’s Game‘ or ‘Criminal‘? I can easily see the 8s because I’m not wasting all that energy accepting 4s.


What’s your rule of thumb on when decide to block a contact? I look forward to your thoughts via Twitter!

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Note: For the source of Raphael’s photo, head to this page.