The Proper Way to Ignore Someone

Modern Manners Guy explains why ignoring someone isn't necessarily unmannerly.

Richie Frieman
2-minute read

The Proper Way to Ignore Someone

I get a lot of e-mails from people who tell me they have to attend an event (like a wedding or party) and someone they despise will be there as well. Sometimes it's an ex or an old boss, even a distant family member who makes your skin crawl! The main questions people have are how to deal with seeing that person in such an enclosed space and how to talk to said person. To that I say just ignore them. What, MMG? Isn't ignoring someone just being rude to them? No, it's not. And here's why.

For starters, we're all adults. Even the teens that write to me are mature enough to know that if you have nothing nice to say then don't say it. OK, so maybe most teens are still learning this but if you're reading this page, then chances are you're a rather evolved young adult. Regardless, ignoring someone is about being the better person. When you ignore someone that does NOT mean you taunt them, make mean faces, or talk behind their backs. Ignoring someone means you just act as if they aren't there. Now, I don't mean that you get to walk right into them and knock them over because you're "pretending they aren't there"... that is not the same thing. By putting someone "out sight, out of mind" you are simply not letting them get to you. If you pass by them, you can nod, or wave but don't feel like you have to go over and talk to them. Even if you are a social butterfly, leave this person off your list.

Ignoring someone is the proper and mature way to let them know (as I'm sure they are already aware) that you do not want to deal with them but that you are not going to let that negativity ruin your day. What's rude is pretending to like the person and then bad-mouthing them. That is not ignoring them, that is being unmannerly and very immature. In the end, it's about how you see yourself as an adult; can you tolerate the annoyance of having someone around you for a few hours? Or do you cave under the pressure of worrying about how someone you dislike feels about you? Ignoring isn't rude; sometimes it's just the best medicine.

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