Blocking annoying relatives on social media and email

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YourLifeChoices member Anne is having troubles with an angry relative and is looking for a way to block their emails and social media comments without offending them.


Q. Anne
I have a family member who continues to be unwittingly aggressive in emails and on social media and this is affecting my health. My friends have told me to simply block the email address and unfriend them on Facebook, but I don’t want them to find out, and I still want to be able to contact them. Is there any way for me to stop seeing all the messages from this person without them knowing?

A. Hi Anne,

Your problem is quite common, and you aren’t the first person to contact us in regards to blocking messages without offending the person in question. The steps I have detailed below will not affect your ability to contact the person at any time, and nor will that person ever know that you have ‘silenced’ them.

Muting Facebook posts
You can unfollow the posts of a friend without them knowing, keeping your Facebook friendship intact.

Open your web browser and go to the Facebook homepage.

In the search bar at the top of the page, type in your friend’s name and search for them. When you find them, click on their name and you will be taken to their Facebook wall.

In the middle-right hand side of the page there will be a number of options, with one showing a tick symbol and the word ‘Following’. Click on this button and click ‘Unfollow’ at the bottom of the options.

Ignore Messenger conversations
Open your web browser and go to the Facebook homepage.

From the Messenger contacts on the right, either click on the contact in question or search for them at the bottom-right in the search field and click on the contact.

Click on the cog in the top-right next to the X symbol and from the drop down click ‘Ignore messages…’.

Mute their emails
The process of muting emails from a recipient is different among the various email clients and online providers. If your client does not provide a ‘Mute’ function, as in the case with Hotmail, then it is recommended that you mark emails from the recipient as Junk so that they end up in your spam folder.

Open your web browser and navigate to your Gmail homepage. Click the tick box next to the latest email from the recipient you want to mute. Now, at the top, below the search bar, click on ‘More’ and then click ‘Mute’.

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 5
  1. 0

    Sounds good but my perennial pest comes from Facebook to my email account. Will the above work for that?

  2. 0

    On Facebook:
    To block someone in your blocking settings:
    Click (the down arrow) at the top right of Facebook and choose Settings.
    Go to the left side of Facebook and click Blocking
    Click Blocking in the left side menu.
    Enter the name of the person you want to block and click Block.
    Select the specific person you want to block from the list that appears and click Block > Block [name].
    People will not be notified when you block them.

  3. 0

    If the family member is being “unwittingly aggressive” (as you put it), then simply ignore it! They’re not trying to hurt you.

  4. 0

    If they comment on a post that you made public, they will surely know if they’ve been blocked because their comment will not be accepted…Unless the system has become so sneaky that they are the only ones who see their comment and it is invisible to everyone else.



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