Whether on a dating app or in real life, sometimes you come across someone and realise that you never, ever want to speak to that person again. Depending on how well you know that person, and if you’re likely to have to interact with them again (colleagues and good friends, significant others, for example), this can either be freeing or an inconvenience. Fortunately, with online dating, it’s much easier to block and remove a person from your life and move on without ever having to think about them again.
Why Would You Block Someone?
Dating apps can feel overwhelming. We know that people, usually (but not exclusively) women, can be harassed online and you might have to spend a fairly considerable amount of time looking and speaking to matches before you meet someone worth connecting with outside of the app. Most people will be boring. Some will be worth a quick drink and a cheeky shag, but nothing long-term. One or two will sweep you off your feet and make your toes curl.
Unfortunately, there are also the creeps. Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of unpleasant folk frequently found on dating sites: people who want to know your sexual history; people who send unsolicited photos of their genitals; people who are aggressive and unnecessarily rude; people who use misogynistic or fetishistic language – even worse if there’s a racial component; or just general unpleasantness that you don’t want in your life. Block them.
But What if They’re Nice, Really?
As a writer, I like to consider the nuance of humanity. Some folks who are incredibly harsh to others often have never received love and affection; people can grow and change and evolve. There is the potential for kindness and compassion in ways that you might never expect, and there are people who have done bad actions and spent the rest of their lives trying to redeem themselves and create good things. We aren’t black and white or shades of grey, we are tapestries full of colour.
Having said all of that, you aren’t obligated to spend time with someone as they complete a redemption arc, get clean or go to therapy. As highly sociable creatures, we might have more time or tolerance for family members or friends who are going through a rough patch, but we don’t have the capacity or desire to try and reform strangers online who have taken time from their lives to make us uncomfortable. That’s when the ‘block’ button looks most appealing, and I urge you to use it.
Oh no! My Match Has a Girlfriend!
There’s also cheating. As one scrolls through Tinder, Hinge or Bumble, there is the creeping awareness that at least some of these people are in supposedly monogamous relationships. If you find out this is the case for one of your matches, block them and go out with your friends instead. There’s nothing but heartbreak and drama waiting for you. You won’t find love and there are better new people to meet.
I think people should be more enthusiastic with the ‘block’ button. You can’t try to reform every person you meet, and sometimes a short, sharp message that their behaviour is unacceptable can be worth more than trying to explain to someone why you never want to interact with them again. It requires much less emotional energy and means you spend less time trying to work out if the world is full of evil morons. Apps have these buttons for a reason: they know that some behaviour is unacceptable. Don’t be afraid to reject it.