What Is Blocking

Online Dating

What Is Blocking? How to Safely Remove Someone From Your Dating App Experience

Emma Estrada

Written by: Emma Estrada

Emma Estrada

Emma Estrada is a writer and performer from the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA. She has a bachelor’s in English Literature from UC Berkeley and studied Commedia dell'arte at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. She’s been freelance writing since 2019 and has written, acted, and produced award-winning short films, a web series, and a one-woman comedy show for the 2024 Hollywood Fringe Festival. She still lives in Los Angeles despite repeated efforts to leave.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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If you’ve ever been in a sticky situation on a dating app, don’t want an awkward online run-in with an ex, or just need to get someone off your back, blocking may be the best option.

Sure, it can seem scary, definitive, and maybe harsh, but sometimes it just needs to be done. 

The biggest con of meeting people on dating apps is that you might run into some people you would never want to meet in your daily course of living. That’s when tools like blocking become necessary. They’re your protection in the digital landscape. 

What It Is | How to Block | Safe Online Dating Practices

Knowing When to Block

Almost three-fourths of dating app users (72%) have blocked another user. Nearly half of those users went further to take punitive action by directly reporting a user on the platform, citing explicit or inappropriate behavior. 

When do you take the plunge and go for the block? While the B-word might be scary to some, it’s a very welcome tool to others. Knowing when to block looks different for everyone.

blocking is a useful tool

As Tinder’s head of safety, Rory Kozoll, says, “One person’s flirtation can easily become another person’s offense. Context matters.” 

Let’s break down the reasons why someone might choose to block. 

Red Flags

Online dating red flags that can put you on the road to blocking include:

  • No profile pictures
  • They bash their ex
  • They have a sense of urgency
  • They post provocative photos
  • They’re extremely closed off
  • There are inconsistencies in their stories

Another big red flag is pushing boundaries. If a user continues to message you without you replying, that’s cause for concern. It could signify social issues or potential mental health problems that may need professional attention. 

red flags

Their incessant messaging may be a cry for help and your response isn’t going to solve that for them. 

Other red flags are when a person attempts to get your personal information, gets angry and/or verbally abusive toward you for small things like a late reply or denial of their advances, catfishes you, or when a user repeatedly requests inappropriate things from you against your wishes.

Dealbreakers

Dealbreakers could be red flags, but what you find a dealbreaker might not resonate with someone else. What are the main things you’d walk away from in a heartbeat? Is the person you’re speaking with a heavy drug user, much younger than you, or hates the idea of having babies? 

block

Whatever the case, if this person isn’t someone you could see yourself with long-term, or even short-term, then consider blocking them if they’re being persistent and dismissive.  

Gut Feelings

Sometimes you don’t need verifiable proof to block a person. In many cases, you just know. If you have an instinctual urge to let someone go, dismiss them from your life, or block them, it’s best to listen to that still, small voice.

trust your gut

For example, if a person’s profile seems to be legitimate, kind, open, and attractive, but the way they speak to you is disrespectful, or something they say doesn’t match up, that’s a red flag.

Catfishers and romance scammers can be sneaky when trying to win your trust. Don’t fall prey to a nice story if something feels off. 

Your gut might say, “I don’t think this is a good guy or girl,” while your mind says, “But they have a photo with their mom,” by all means, listen to your gut. Get as far away as you can from Steve with the good smile but bad vibe.

Safety Concerns 

Safety concerns are very real. If you feel like your physical, emotional, or mental safety is in danger, I encourage you to block them right away and report them. You should always feel protected, respected, and safe when navigating dating apps. 

stay safe through blocking

Unsafe behavior from a user includes disrespectful or threatening language, blackmailing, and blatant dishonesty. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Blocking

Blocking looks different on every online dating app and site. Here’s a basic breakdown of how to do the deed and get an unwanted person out of your DMs.

1. Go To the Offending Profile

The first step is to visit the user’s dating profile. You can do that simply by clicking their name in your chats. Unless they’re a premium member on certain apps, they won’t be able to see that you’ve viewed their profile.

2. Hit the Block Button

On some apps, there may be three dots next to the user’s name. Click on the dots and select the option Remove or Block. 

On other apps, simply scroll to the bottom of the user’s profile and click Block (User’s Name). Tap Yes, Block. Blocking a profile is permanent in many cases and cannot be undone, so review the profile carefully before blocking.  

block on different apps

Note that the user won’t be notified if you block them, and it won’t affect your matches. 

3. Block Phone Numbers and Social Profiles, If Applicable

You can also block users based on your contacts and if you know their social profile. For example, if you’re a Hinge user, you can go to your profile settings, select Block List, sync your contacts, and select which people you want to block.

4. Report an Issue in Extreme Cases

Some disturbing cases need to be reported. This is especially true if you don’t want the person continuing their behavior with other users. 

report

You can usually contact the dating app directly by seeking out their email or phone contact info online or directly messaging their customer service or help section through the app. 

How to Communicate Boundaries and Practice Self-Care

Knowing your boundaries is one thing. Communicating them is another. Expressing how you feel, your needs, and your big no’s can help affirm your self-esteem, self-respect, and general happiness. 

I know what you’re thinking. That all sounds great, but how do you do this through a screen with a virtual stranger?

Set Expectations About Your Comfort Zone

Know what you’re comfortable with and what you will not tolerate in the online dating scene.

set expectations

Maybe you’re OK with flirtatious messages, but when they get too explicit, you’ve got to ask them to stop. 

Or maybe you’re cool sharing the city you live in and what you do for a living, but you don’t want to give the names of your family or your address (good idea). 

If you go into conversations and dates knowing what you’re willing to share and receive, you’ll be safer down the line. 

Don’t Tolerate Manipulative Behavior

Manipulative behavior is tricky because it can provoke feelings of shame, guilt, and confusion even before you’ve done anything wrong.

If someone ever gaslights you by making you question your sanity, guilt trips you, or disparages you by cursing at you or disrespecting you by any means, make an action plan to leave the situation. 

Be Honest If You Need Space

If you need space and can’t talk to the person but you don’t want to upset them before you block them, for fear they might act out, then there are strategies you can use. 

be honest

For moderately persistent people, it’s best to say nothing in response. Be silent and let them talk to no one.

Interrupting an aggravated person may provoke them even more. After they’ve stopped or maybe given you some space, you can state your needs and perhaps talk about what the next steps are. 

If they’re extremely persistent, stop their one-sided conversation or their diatribe altogether and assert control. Speak up. Don’t back down when they try to interrupt again. If this doesn’t work, then simply stop communicating with them, or just go straight to blocking. 

Give Yourself Grace

Remember, you don’t owe anything to anyone on the apps.

You’re being kind by even conversing with them in the first place. You’re being kind to yourself when you walk away.

Give yourself compassion. Dating on the apps isn’t easy, and navigating multiple personalities can be a litmus test for love and your boundaries.

Talk to Friends About Your Experiences

Keep your friends in the loop. It’s important to reach out to your friends when you’re in the process of online dating because they are our reflective mirrors. 

talk to friends

Good friends help us stay grounded and clear in romantic or emotionally charged situations.

When you’re in a toxic situation that requires blocking, sometimes you may not recognize it at the outset.

You may need the support of loved ones to pull the trigger and remove a toxic person from your dating life. 

If you aren’t sure how to move forward in an online dating situationship, grab a friend and talk it out.

Block the Haters & Keep It Moving

At the end of the day, your safety and happiness is the priority. After blocking a user, you can take a break from dating to just recoup, or you can continue to seek out other options. There are so many healthy people out there waiting to meet you. 

Don’t let one person or a few ruin those odds for you. If anything, this experience of blocking has probably strengthened your boundaries and communication skills. 

The blocking tool is there for a reason. Use it when you feel unsafe, unheard, disrespected, or in need of some space. It’s there to help you take control of your dating experience so you feel empowered and not a victim. Dating should be fun, and blocking people who don’t contribute to that experience is expected and encouraged.