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To block or not to block...

This is a question I, and many of my clients have wrestled with over the years. Whether it's the act of blocking someone on social media, or choosing to walk away from a 20-year-old friendship the dynamics and how we approach it are the same.

One of the misconceptions in the world is that we need to be friends or friendly to everyone. And while to some degree this is accurate, it doesn't mean we need to allow people into our space.

If we are in a public space, like a park, then yes, a level of friendliness is appropriate. Being mean, vindictive, shaming, attacking, or belittling someone is not appropriate; anywhere, or at any time. So yes, bring a level of friendliness (though not necessarily friendship) to these situations.

It's not really as black and white as friendly or horrible, there are a level of nuances and grey areas between. We can be curteous without going to the level of being kind. We can be compassionate without needing to also be generous.

All of these nuances fit within the different levels of friendship - something I am discussing more deeply at my upcoming event on boundaries.

So, to come back to the original questions - to block or not to block?

There are a few simple criteria to address. 1. Do you want to be in a relationship with this person? This really should be a nice simple Yes, No question, but for many of us who were never taught boundaries, or given the right to choose as children, it becomes more emotional and complicated than just yes or no. If you are able to create a clean No answer it makes this simple. If you don't want a relationship with the person - and something prompted you to ask "Should I block them?" then the answer is Yes - Block them. Sadly, for most of us, it's rarely that clean. We feel like we should be able to be friends with them, or we have to work with them and don't want to create ripples, or they are family and we feel some sense of obligation or guilt when we think about the relationship. This is all too common and you are not alone if these are the thoughts you are experiencing.

So, in this grey area, how do we walk ourselves through deciding whether blocking is the answer or not?

2. We need to look at the cost of our action objectively. Let me explain further: Everything has a cost, or another way to put it is a consequence.

If we block someone on Facebook or remove them from our lives there are consequences. If we keep them on Facebook and in our lives, we see them, we engage with them, there are consequences. Too often when making decisions we weigh up the perceived potential consequences, without taking into consideration the current cost of the existing consequences. For example - when I was considering blocking a family member I weighed up the potential consequences of that action. Now I am HIGHLY pessimistic! I don't see the glass as half empty, I see it as almost entirely empty. And I justify this by identifying that water is mostly made up of space between the atoms, and so if the glass appears to be half full of water, really it is mostly space that we are seeing, and so it is pretty well empty. So I'm sure you can imagine how far I go when I start imagining the possible outcomes of blocking a family member on Facebook. NONE of the scenarios that come to my mind are in a good light. So the first step I, and most of my friends, colleagues, and clients need to remember is to look at both the good and the bad consequences of the future. People, like my husband, who are able to make these decisions more easily, tend to have a more glass is half full (or in his case - completely full - half water/half air) outlook on life. When they weigh up the consequences or costs of an action they only see the good. So, if we are more glass is half full, we want to get objective and look through a number of perspectives. If I, glass is empty girl, can learn to see the light (and not believe it's an oncoming train), then you can too. The way to learn this is to hang with people who can remind you to look at numerous perspectives. Whether it's adding them into your friendship circle, connecting with them in a group, or finding a coach or mentor to support you. We want to start with tapping into some perspective wisdom and looking from a number of angles at the potential consequences, the costs, and the gains, of our action. One of my superpowers (and sometimes hindrance) is my ability to think deeply and see many layers of perspectives. The decision is rarely as simple as simply looking at the pro's and cons there is still grey, and other colours available to address, but it's a good start and hopefully now you are thinking with a more guided perspective than you were previously. If you are a deep thinker and you are curious to explore further, then there are some other key models you may want to learn and add into your perspective as you explore whether to block or not to block, and they are those of boundaries and levels of friendship. Like I said before you can learn more about these and how to add them to your criteria in the upcoming group mentoring call. Click this link to learn more.

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