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Blocking Others Online: A Psychological Perspective

Social isolation has several facets, one of which is online rejection. For a variety of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with the person being rejected, people avoid social interaction with others. The online version of social rejection, blocking someone has its justifications.

Scamming, defrauding, or making unwanted overtures and not responding to the “no thank you” signals conveyed by the blocked person are some examples.

In order to safeguard their emotional well-being, many individuals block others. The blocker is unable to inform the blockee that their claimed desire is not reciprocal since the blocker lacks the necessary bravery. To put it another way, much of the online blocking is motivated by the desire to avoid an emotionally hard online engagement (conversation).

As a result, people with poor self-esteem are more prone to keep their thoughts to themselves and avoid expressing their desires or preferences. With self-esteem in the ordinary to high range, however, people are more inclined to share their thoughts and feelings without putting others off.

Why do people block each other?

Social and tribal beings, humans like the company of others, especially those who confirm their worldview. People are rarely eager to investigate, discover, and comprehend alternative points of view. Many individuals try to block out and silence anyone who disagrees with their own perspective.

They’re not interested in hearing it. It’s lot easier to go online and pretend to be deaf than it is to do it in real life. People have the ability to instantaneously tune out whatever perspective they choose not to hear.

If they choose, they can just click and their worldview won’t be questioned or shifted. There is no need for them to be diplomatic or explain why they disagree.

Almost everyone is aware of the importance of gaining social approval. Social rejection, such as blocking another person online, can have a negative influence on the mental health of the individual who is being rejected.

Many a time, the blocker’s goal is to harm or punish the blocker mentally. All of us have felt the sting of social rejection at some point in our lives. The blocker is aware that they are attempting to cause the blockee emotional and psychological distress. regardless of their self-confidence and self-esteem, socially isolated persons endure emotional distress within a short period.

Why is blocking and other social ostracism so harmful?

Because it simultaneously addresses four fundamental human needs:

  • the desire to fit in
  • to be in charge of one’s own destiny
  • to retain one’s self-confidence
  • to have a sense of purpose or significance in your life

Nearly everyone has experienced or heard of the negative consequences of being blocked, socially rejected, or ostracized. Emotional and physical harm are well-documented consequences. There is a strong connection between anxiety and depression and social rejection, abuse, or mental torment.

The proccess leading to blocking

As a kind of psychological torture, ostracism is employed against persons who are unable or unwilling to conform to group standards. Individuals and groups that are dysfunctional are more ready to subject others to psychological torture. There is no justification for banning, isolating, or torturing someone who expresses a different or difficult perspective, even if the other person has done nothing wrong.

It’s much simpler to obstruct or impose harm on someone after they’ve been othered. The blocker(s) decide that someone is “other,” not one of us, or different in some unwelcome way.

Then, the victim of social exclusion who has been othered is deserving of punishment. That is, the blocker goes through a series of conceptual steps before actually blocking.

  • For some, the blockee is distinct from the rest of the pack.
  • Others pose a greater danger (usually in some unspecified way).
  • Action must be taken in response to threats from others.
  • As a result, violence is both justified and carried out.

The reasons behind it

Xenophobia is the fear of individuals who are different, in whatever form. Blocking people online is often motivated by a fear of difference, rather than a dislike of the blockee’s actions. Xenophobic people are more authoritarian and insecure when confronted with members from other groups, according to decades of studies. It’s possible that blockers are more inclined to block persons who don’t belong to their group.

Some blockers have other reasons for doing so. In addition to ego and arrogance, for example. To put it another way, both lead to the following kind of thinking:

  • I’m right, and you’re wrong; it’s that simple
  • You’re terrible, and I’m good
  • My way or the highway
  • Anyone who thinks that way is a [insert the allegation of choice]

There has been no conflict in history in which neither side has not used the other’s deception to mobilize their own people or followers to kill each other. Many leaders appear to understand that inciting people to conflict and war increases the likelihood of conflict and war. Conflict and war may need otherizing as a pre-requisite.

The toxic trio of narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy can cause people to reject and harm others in social situations. They are more prone to reject and injure those individuals who do not worship them or who dare to challenge them, because this boosts their sense of self-worth to reject and harm others.

As long as they achieve what they want, sociopaths and psychopaths don’t give a rat’s behind about the consequences of their actions. The likelihood of their engaging in blocking behavior appears to be substantially higher.

In order to defend their position, even those who aren’t in the toxic triad would block others: “I had to reject X person, that’s how horrible they were,” and so on. Feeling in control of one’s life is a result of engaging in self-validating behavior.

Takeaway

In our need for control, we all have a need for privacy, and blocking allows us to exercise that control over the individuals in our life. Our perspective is protected as a result.

Learning and growing from other people’s perspectives is an important part of becoming a well-balanced individual. Their regard, sensitivity, and knowledge are all displayed via their willingness to hear what others have to say.

Wisdom is best displayed when one is conscious of their ignorance. All of the most accomplished individuals I’ve had the privilege of working with are acutely aware of their own limitations and eager to pick up new skills from everyone. A person’s growth in knowledge is hindered if they are blocked for reasons other than danger.

Let’s give each other a chance before we hit the “block” button. We may ponder the question, ‘What am I trying to accomplish here?’ Exactly how dangerous am I? Is it possible that I’m closing off and ignoring other viewpoints? Are my actions showing the opposite of wisdom by blocking this person?’

Fernanda Avila

Fernanda Avila is a freelance writer who's passionate about providing accurate and helpful mental health content for readers. She believes sharing information can help raise awareness and improve society wellbeing.

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