How to Avoid People You Dislike

A conflict has occurred between you and another person and now you want, or need, to avoid him. The

reasons for your disdain can range from minor annoyances to life threatening circumstances. When left to

manage conflict in close proximity to someone you dislike, avoidance can prevent worsening the current

situation and averting future disputes. Managing this in your on-line world, at school, work, and within your

family requires practical strategies that can be learned, if you don’t avoid the call to action.

Managing Online Presence

1. Delete, unfollow and unfriend from social media channels. Each social media outlet allows you to

remove a person from your list of contacts, fans, and friends. This will not only allow you to disconnect from

the person, but it will stop the person from viewing your posts as well.

2. Block e-mails. To prevent communication coming into your inbox delete the person from your address

book. Setting up your spam filters will allow you to monitor if the person attempts to send you an unwanted

e-mail. You can always click the delete button or save the e-mail to a folder if you need to gather evidence of

something more serious such as stalking, cyber-bullying, or harassing.

3. Don’t call or text the person. It may or may not be hard to restrain yourself from calling or texting the

person. You may want to communicate something negative to them, or you might be struggling with the urge

to reconnect. Either way, both calling and texting will lead to additional and potentially unwanted communication

that may worsen the situation.

4. Avoid responding to calls, texts or e-mails. Find the strength to ignore communication from the person.

This might be easy. However, he or she might be trying to seduce you into communicating only to cause you

more harm. Silence will maintain a clean slate of communication and is an absolute way to avoid unwanted


Coping at School

1. Drop or switch the class. If you are unable to maintain composure or you simply need to get away from

the person, then take action. There may be penalties for dropping a class if you are passed any applicable

deadlines. If the circumstances are severe enough, then you need to drop the class.

2. Talk to the instructor or administrator. Discussions should be held in private, so call, e-mail or ask

your instructor for an opportunity to speak. You may need to make an appointment. There may be the

need to speak with an administrator as well. If you are under 18 years of age then a parent will need to be


3. Walk a different path. Most campuses are large and have many paths leading to various destinations on

campus. Find the path of least resistance. If you are familiar with the travel patterns of this person, then plan to

take a different route. Yes, it might take a little more time, but you need to avoid the person.

4. Avoid direct eye contact. There might be times when you unexpectedly come face-to-face with the

individual. Averting your eyes away from the person and moving away as quickly as possible will prevent

additional and unnecessary interaction with this person. Be prepared for the unexpected.

5. Ask your friends to help you. When your friends are looking out for you, it makes life a little easier. A

friend can create a barrier or distraction that allows you to slip away unnoticed. Make sure you trust those who

say they are willing to help.

6. Be ready to use a simple “out” to get out of a situation. There will be times when you need to pretend

to be on the phone, or that you lost your glasses or keys. These tactics can be used on the spot to avoid even

the most annoying people.

7. Appreciate the positive qualities and learning experiences. There are some who believe that people,

even annoying ones, come into our lives to teach us something. Each experience prepares us to be smarter

and more in tune with what we want out of life.

Handling Work Situations

1. Switch jobs. Whether you have the luxury of switching jobs or not, it may be the best choice to avoid

someone at work. Circumstances can range from a petty misunderstanding to something as serious as a

sexual harassment claim. You may want to keep your job because you love it, so you may need to look at

other options.

2. Ask to be moved to a different department, area or supervisor. Office or factory space might be

limited, but if you need to create distance between you and another person, you need to ask. Don’t put

yourself through listening or being around someone you dislike. It will definitely lower your job satisfaction

and likely raise your stress level.

3. Focus on being productive. Concentrating on your job and the things you need to do to be productive

will help you avoid a person at work. You are entitled to have a conflict-free work environment in which you

feel safe. Solitude will prevent interactions with others who might misconstrue your words or behaviors.

4. Work around the person’s schedule. Many employers hire employees to work shifts that vary in length

and days worked per week. If you are in this situation, you can request a different shift. If you work in a

standard 9:00 to 5:00 work environment it is difficult to vary your schedule. However, you can observe and

work around someone’s break schedule, bathroom breaks and lunches.

5. Do not accept invitations. Be discreet, but do not accept invitations to gatherings that the other person

will attend. Depending on the severity of the situation, you don’t want to put yourself into an awkward or harmful


6. Always feel comfortable with removing yourself from any situation. It is awful to feel stuck in a social

situation. You might feel pressure if your boss is there, or you are afraid of what co-workers will think or say

about you. Allow yourself the freedom to say, “Hey you guys, I have to get going. I’ve got a long drive,” or

whatever the reason.

7. Be civil in the event of an unexpected interaction. Chances are, you might have to interact with the

person on a work matter. Use the rule of thumb to remain calm, civil and stick to the task at hand to avoid

conflict. Do not respond to any attempts by the other person to provoke you. #*Maintain your composure

until the interaction is over. Congratulate yourself on a job well done.

8. Gain perspective. It’s important to keep things in perspective. Once you see there is life after a struggle

with someone you can release your feelings of upset and shepherd in feelings of relief. You can let it go and

reframe your priorities.

Dealing With More Serious Matters

1. Define boundaries. Whether you are having a conflict with a mother-in-law, cousin suffering from a drug

addiction, or an uncle who is inappropriate with your child, you need to communicate your intentions and

expectations as best you can. Your decision to avoid this person is likely supported by ongoing problematic


2. Do not attend family gatherings. Many families experience heightened levels of stress and conflict

during family gatherings. If you want to avoid a person who will undoubtedly cause a problem for you, then

make your apologies and do not attend.

3. Make only supervised contact. You may have a relative who you don’t trust for some reason. You

may not want to be alone with this person. Whatever the reason, always bring along a witness if you are

forced to interact with the person. Safety is always a paramount concern.

4. Seek professional help to manage your emotions and thoughts. If you are struggling with the

turmoil of dealing with this person, you may benefit from talking to a counselor. Psychologists and

Psychiatrists are available in your local area and can be located through the American Psychological

Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

5. Seek legal advice if necessary. As situations escalate, you might need the help of an attorney. Conflicts

vary in severity and there might be times when it is in your best interest to avoid any and all interactions with

someone. Law suits, by design, pose one side against the other. Anything you do or say can be detrimental

to your case. Your attorney will guide you through the process.

6. File a restraining order if necessary. The person you are trying to avoid may have serious problems.

If you feel you are in potential danger, seek a restraining order against the person to restrict contact. If he

violates the order, you can call the police to intervene.

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