The block button is the ultimate source of dopamine. Use it.

Joan Westenberg
3 min readDec 4, 2023
Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

I’m seeing this debate pop up on Threads and Mastodon, and I’ve speed-run the whole discourse so many times from Twitter to Bluesky that I’m exhausted. But let me be clear. It’s perfectly okay to use the block function on any and every single platform. Block whoever you want. Block liberally. Block joyously. It’s not rude; it’s not an act of censorship, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Our online spaces are not abstract playgrounds but extensions of our personal lives. Our interactions in these spaces profoundly affect us, either positively or negatively. Just as a kind word can brighten our day, a negative, pointless, irritating or toxic encounter — whether it’s outright harassment or simply unwelcome chatter — can drain our energy and significantly impact our mental health. Blocking someone might seem like a petty act. But, fuck it. It’s a way of standing up for your peace of mind.

Think about the parallels in our offline lives. Do you publicly explain why you avoid someone at a party? Do you feel compelled to justify it to the world every time you don’t answer a phone call? Of course not. The same logic should apply to our online interactions. The expectation to justify the use of the block function adds unnecessary emotional labour — and it’s invariably used to bully people into remaining exposed to abuse and bullshit. It’s your right to choose who you interact with digitally, and you don’t need a detailed explanation for your choices. Your online space, your rules.

Boundaries are the only way to maintain a healthy balance and protect our well-being. In the physical world, we set boundaries without a second thought — we lock our doors, choose our friends, and decide who we let in. By using the block function, you’re setting a clear boundary, and in doing so, you’re taking a step towards preserving your mental and emotional well-being.

There’s a crucial difference between silencing someone and choosing not to engage with them. Blocking someone isn’t about denying them their right to speak. It’s about asserting your right not to listen. Consider your social media space like your home. You wouldn’t consider it censorship to close your door to a salesperson. Blocking someone from your digital space is about maintaining your peace and…