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How to Avoid People You Don't Want to Talk To

Sometimes you encounter people that you wish to avoid. While you can take measures to avoid this person altogether, it’s not always possible to completely avoid talking to someone. There are several options when it comes to avoiding people you don’t want to interact with from surrounding yourself with people you do want to talk to, to avoiding certain situations.

1
Feeling Comfortable in Your Surroundings

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    Keep a positive attitude. Sometimes you may not want to talk to certain people because you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you are an enjoyable person to be around. Remind yourself that you are entitled to your boundaries and it’s ok to voice your feelings to feel comfortable. [1]
    • Focus on what you want and what will make you happy. Then, try and find people that have a similar attitude as you. Instead of trying to avoid people, which is a negative, focus on surrounding yourself with people like you who make you feel comfortable.
    • Your thoughts contribute to your mood, and even your actions. Smile and take a moment to tell yourself that you are where you are meant to be.
    • Having a positive attitude will help you to attract other positive people.
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    Engage in activities that you enjoy. You won’t always like, or want to talk to everyone everywhere, but doing activities you enjoy is more likely to surround you with people you are comfortable engaging with.
    • If you’re in school, join a group or club that interests you. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, there are plenty of extracurriculars for every type of person. From theatre, to the track team, you can find an activity and a group of people that are like you.
    • Not only will doing something you like give you confidence and let you get to know people like you, but it will give you a way to stay busy and avoid situations and people you’d rather not be around.
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    Focus on enjoying your experiences. Instead of worrying about other people, and how someone may react to you, focus on enjoying yourself. Know that if someone is being mean to you, or trying to make you feel bad, that it’s always not your problem.
    • Oftentimes people will take out frustration on someone else due to personal insecurities.
    • Putting your energy into enjoying what you are doing can make it easier to avoid someone. You won’t have time to deal with someone who isn’t helping your experience.
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    Enjoy the company of your friends. Whether you’re in a social setting, at school, or at work, surrounding yourself with people you get along with is a great way feel more comfortable.
    • If you are often in a situation where you are near rude people or people you don’t want to talk to, enlist your friends to come to your defense.
    • Tell your friends about the person(s) that bother you. Explain why in a calm manner and ask your friends to provide a barrier if this person approaches you.

2
Dealing With Someone You Don’t Want to Talk To

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    Treat everyone with civility. If you encounter someone you don’t want to talk to because this person is rude, or you two have a history, remember to stay polite. Being courteous and not letting someone’s attitude toward you goad you into retaliating is an effective way to keep any conversation short. [2]
    • You won’t always be able to completely avoid someone you don’t want to talk to. However, you can minimize your interactions with this person by keeping a polite poker face.
    • Pause, and take a deep breath. Focus on yourself. Your goal is to end this interaction as quickly as possible.
    • Politely excuse yourself from the conversation. Instead of acting similarly to this other person. Remain calm and say that you have to meet a friend or have an appointment. Then you can leave the situation.
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    Draw your own boundaries. You don’t always have to express what your boundaries are to someone you wish to avoid, but you should know what you are willing to tolerate. Stand your ground and stick to it.[3]
    • These can be both mental and physical boundaries. You have a right to your personal space and it’s ok to be clear about what that space means to you.
    • Whether you’re dealing with a co-worker, schoolmate, or ex, be clear about how and when you are willing to interact with this person. Though it may be difficult, don’t be afraid to be blunt.
    • If someone has a history of invading your personal space, the next time you have an encounter, simply tell this person to give you more space physically. You can also be upfront at the beginning of conversation that you only have a certain amount of time to talk. Additionally, you can inform someone that you prefer to communicate via email or text.
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    Ignore this person. Chances are that you are not the only person who wishes to avoid a certain person. Pay attention to how others deal with someone you wish to avoid. If you’ve tried more upfront methods that haven’t worked, simply ignore this person. Ask other people how to best deal with ignoring this person. [4]
    • Sometimes you have a relationship with someone that just isn’t going to work out. This person can be someone you were in a relationship with, or even a coworker. If you have made attempts to create distance that have not worked out, simply ignore this person.
    • Ignoring someone isn’t always the easiest, especially if this person is insistent, but over time, not giving in can prove effective.
    • Ignoring someone doesn’t mean ridiculing a person or making mean face or gesture. It simply means you act as if this person isn’t around you. Don’t pretend this person isn’t there in an immature way, however. Sometimes ignoring someone means you have to be the bigger person and excuse yourself from an gathering or area.

3
Avoiding Someone Altogether

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    Avoid situations where you might interact with this person. Sometimes you have to make changes to avoid someone you don’t want to talk to. If you know this person is going to be at a party or gathering, don’t go.
    • Unless you’re in a situation where you can’t excuse yourself like school or work, you may have to choose not to attend a function to avoid someone.
    • Tell a close friend that you aren’t going to be attending the event. Be honest with your friend as to why, but don’t be rude.
    • If you are somewhere and you see someone you want to avoid talking to or interacting with, see if you can move elsewhere. If you’re at a party or bar, you may be able to go to another area and avoid running into this person.
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    Ask for help. If you really don’t want to interact with someone but are having a hard time avoiding this person, ask people for help. You can get help from your friends, parents, your boss, or a counselor.
    • If you find that you can’t avoid this person because you have class or work with this individual, consider talking to someone who can help like your boss or a counselor.
    • Calmly explain why you can’t be around this person. Perhaps this individual makes it hard for you to complete your work because you are uncomfortable. Maybe you can’t focus in class because this person won’t leave you alone. Tell an authority figure why you need to be removed from situations where you interact with this person.
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    Cut ties with this person. If you are able to, be upfront and end the relationship. If you have an ex that you don’t want to see or talk to anymore, or someone that might be in your larger friend group, you can simply cut ties with this person. [5]
    • Establish your boundaries once and don’t apologize. Your health and peace of mind are the most important. Though it may be hard, tell this person that you won’t engage in any sort of contact anymore.
    • Stick to your convictions. Some people may not easily leave you alone. But if you’ve stated your intentions, your job is done. Don’t engage anymore.
    • It’s ok to outright say that you don’t want to talk to or see this person again. Sometimes if you are blunt and a little harsh, people will finally get the message. You may feel mean at first, but try and remember, this is better for your personal health.

Tips

  • You don't need to make eye contact, but be polite and let them know you aren't in the mood.
  • Change your route or habits to avoid this person.
  • Be polite enough to let this person know you can't engage at the moment.
  • Be respectful as you are approached. But set boundaries early.
  • If someone is mean to you, take a step out (literally) if it is safe to do so for 3 seconds, think about what to do/say, step back in and take the course of action that is the best for you.

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