Dealing with People who Blank You?

Dash of Englishness

Space Monkey
space monkey
Mar 21, 2022
I do believe that when someone doesn't return your hello, that it mostly takes a bit of your positive energy away from you, so it is important to anticipate such behaviour. I would hope that the thread be centred around you giving examples of your own where you've encountered blanking, how to spot it and ways to handle it.

If someone who you know, who usually says hello, blanks you for the first time it can hurt a lot. Or if it's someone you look up to, or perhaps your manager. I think this sort of thing can cause a person to wonder all sorts of things... like "was it the last thing I said?... maybe that sounded slightly offensive, oh gosh that was it wasn't it". One thing to consider when addressing this subject is that sometimes the onus lies more on one person than the other. For example if you enter a room, I think (if anything) the onus is more on you to say hello than the other person. Another thing to ask is what kind of blanker are you dealing with? Are they a consistent blanker, or are they what I call a 'version blanker'? as in someone who's friendly most of the time but that there are then times when they're unexpectedly cold towards you? I have no time for these sorts, as you'll end up wondering what version of them you'll encounter. The view I take with people is that if you hate me Monday, you better hate me every other day of the week too. For example they might blank me on the walk in the door, but I'll have taken note of it... they'll then come up talking to me later but this time I'll be the one to end the interaction, sort of like recommended in this video below. They then know you've them figured out. There are also "use an excuse to blank you" blankers. They might be on the phone for example when you enter the room. You give them a nod and you don't get the nod back. Or they might pretend to talk to someone else at the very moment you say hello.

Another thing I wonder about, is after you have disagreements with people, how often do others have thoughts about how they should handle themselves the next time they pass that person on the street or in the corridor? I assume people do think about these things more than they'd let on, in order to be prepared. It's hard to know how pissed off that person was about that issue, or whether they've forgotten about it completely. So you don't know whether they'll blank you or not, but you've to be prepared. It's hard for me to give generic advice here as it depends on the nuances of that matter. All I can say is that it's always best not to avoid them as it'll be more obvious than what you think, and thus you show you're hand. I see something similar to this in work where people want to request days off from the schedule office where there's about 6 employees (a few assholes in there). Some people will try go up to the office, or ring, at a time when they know the nice guy is there. But that's kind of cowardly and also unfair on that person as it basically means he gets extra work because he's a decent person.

Sometimes there's nothing you can do when you're blanked, which is why it's all the more important to know the times you can pull somebody for it. For example once I worked security in a store where there was an assistant manager that was a blanker. She didn't acknowledge my presence, and it wasn't long before I didn't acknowledge hers. Interestingly she'd often acknowledge ways I'd help around by saying "thanks", but she was allergic to the words hello and goodbye. Anyway one day she came up to me as my back was turned and said "John" and proceeded to ask me something. I interrupted her and firmly said "Casey [pause], would it hurt to say hello?". She basically took it back. I did get slightly carried away when I followed through by saying "don't ever come up to me like that again". Something like this happened with another girl I once worked with... I said hello as she entered the room, and straight away she just asked me something. I lectured her as if she didn't know basic manners and she half took it back. One day she did ask me how I was! I think it was because she'd heard that my grandad had died the day before. When she did, I ended up blanking her! I didn't mean to it's just that I'd sort of spent time training myself not to greet her that I was stuck in that mode. If I were back I'd have said "are you feeling okay?"! The next place I worked security was a lot more friendly than that place and I accidentally ended up blanking one or two people there as a result!! After this I still didn't answer the question and left it for her to re-ask.

As regards how to deal with it, one thing of course which took me a while to figure out, was that it was actually my own curiosity that allowed me to be blanked easily. As in I'd say hello as passing someone, and would then look at them (for that second or two) to see if they'd respond. I'm sure they could see a lot in my eyes in that moment as I'd be thinking "oh come on, please say hello back", and that they'd then see the look of disappointment in me as I'd realise they'd just blanked me. If the person is a possible asshole, I just look away almost immediately after greeting them; so this way I hide my curiosity. This helped a lot. I think the fact that you look away gives them the impression that you've already given up on them, and then they're very quick to greet you back... or effectively say "no, I'm not an asshole". Also, another thing you can do is say after blanked is "you alright?". In other words, if the their blanking you is meant to make you wonder whether you're weird, or whether you've annoyed them, then this is your way of saying "if there's a problem, it's with you, not me". Yes, I would love to see if such people who've blanked me also blank/greet certain others! This would help me put my experiences with them in perspective. But I'll never get that.

Lastly, I'll say once a blanker always a blanker. I remember a girl in college who was a blanker. A year had went by (after she'd last blanked me that is) and one day I bumped into her as she was entering the gym. This was only one month after we both finished the same course, and also about a month since we had been at a class party together. During that party and were in several photos and she asked had me to take photos of her. Basically I thought that at this point she might some how accept me more. I said hi as I exited the gym doorway and she reluctantly gave a sort "hmm uh". It was like as if her plan was to blank me, but she found it hard to do! But this was the same as she'd have done 2 years prior. Nothing had changed. It's often naive to think that you can earn someone's respect. I've sometimes tried to rationalise someone blanking me as being justified due to a mistake I made earlier on, and that therefore people were both the blame. In my experience I think it's most likely that the person just doesn't like the look of you from day one, and it's nothing to do with whatever mistakes you made since then. Don't forget your first impressions of someone! You might be able to tell yourself that it doesn't really mean anything if someone blanks you (and often that's true), but then five minutes later you bump into another acquaintant and they give a big friendly hello, and only then do you properly realise the coldness of the previous person.

Story one - One time it happened with my sister when I was about to leave to go on a two week holiday. She was hoovering as I was about to leave which I thought was a bit strange. I would have always been ready to give her a send off if it was her occasion. She did seem to be in a bitchy mood... I didn't realise why at the time but I think it might have been some comment I passed earlier. My father was also leaving and was dropping me to the airport on his way to a 5 day business trip elsewhere. She was being left to take care of the house for a week. He gave her a hug goodbye while she was holding the hoover in one hand!! I was standing by the door and was not going to go over to give her a hug, but I did say goodbye, which she blanked by pretending to distracted. Ordinarily this wouldn't have been a big deal to blanked like this but it wasn't a nice way to start my holiday. My learning was that if you sense there's something up with the person then best act accordingly, rather than giving the person the benefit of the doubt and realising you were right. In such situations I give myself the right to just walk out in such a way that a person with poor interpersonal skills would do.

Story two - I'm a public service bus driver, and often finishing my shift involves handing the bus over to another driver. I then go back to the depot to where I'd have parked that morning. When finishing, the drivers will often hop on another bus route that passes the depot in order to get back to their car. Anyway there's this one female colleague (driver) of mine who is a blanker! So the other night I hopped on the bus number that goes by the depot (as it was waiting at the terminus) but I only realised as I got in that it was her, the blanker! Even though I knew she'd possibly blank me (which she did) I still said hello, as it's sort of a reflex action for me. The bus took off but the inevitable came later when I'd have leave the bus at the bus stop outside the depot!! Now I would've given a nod, or a thanks or something upon leaving, but having experienced cold behaviour with her before, and having given her the benefit of the doubt other times, I just said "fuck it". Arriving at the depot I rang the bell as if I were just another passenger to be sure she'd stop. I was the only one getting off. I just starred straight ahead as I walked towards the front - making sure not to look at her in the mirror - and then walked straight off! I felt kind of petty doing this! Yes, she also said nothing. I don't know what was going on in her head, but she'd definitely expected me to say some sort of goodbye. Was she thinking "oh my God, how dare he beat me at my own game"? Or was she thinking "finally, he realises he's not supposed to say hello to me."? In any case I'd be under impression that she'll be even more inclined to stay away from me now after this! Now it was harder for me to blank her in that situation than it was for her to blank me... because she was the one doing me the favour; she had to slow down, pull in, open the door, etc. But then that's exactly what I did with for her many months ago when one time I dropped her somewhere! I found it hard to do though. If I did this with anyone else I'd expect them to wonder am I partly autistic! In a way you could say that she still won, as she made me behave in a way I don't naturally do. Yes, I was considering confronting her, or playfully mocking her, but I wasn't in the mood that night. There's the chance that that could backfire. What made it easy for her to blank me this time was that there's an assault screen on the bus that the driver is behind. So you're never 100% sure that they can hear you for example. If I decided to have a go at her when leaving the bus, she might say something back that I mightn't hear properly through the barrier and I'd have to get her to repeat it and it could end up going anyway. If it ended badly I'd definitely end up going home with her in my head. I was tired and just wanted to get home so I didn't bother with any sparring.

Has there been time when this bus driver girl has said hello to me? Yes. I remember her returning my hello when I entered the crew room once. But it was quiet and there was no one else there, so she knew she wouldn't be getting away with it that time. There's been times that I've chatted to her, but always in a group. And guess what, during these times I was nearly fooled into thinking she was completely normal. I'd nearly thought "oh that must have just been a glitch with her the previous times" that I'd met her in passing and that this is the way she really is. But then when I'd say goodbye to the group, she'd be the only one not to respond. The others in the group wouldn't be lightly to notice this. The last time I talked to her was when I was in the canteen. I was sitting at a table by myself and the other tables were full with people. When I looked up and saw her enter she then turned around and went back toward countertop area of the canteen. 5 minutes later a friend of mine - who's also friendly with this girl - joined me. She ended up passing through again somehow (I didn't see) and this guy said "hey Niamh, sit down there". She joined us and acted normal, but I'm not sure where she'd been in that 5 minutes! Interesting! Anyway, it's a big company so I don't bump into her too often. I do wonder why people are like this. Take myself; there's a few people I can think of who I mightn't want to associate with, or mightn't even stop on the street for. But I'll at least say hello to them.

Story three - I once used to work with a security guard during 12 hour night shifts on an industrial site. 80% of the time was spent in an office with not a whole lot to do! There was one guy I worked with, let's call him "fat guy", who was the sort of person who'd blank you if he could afford to blank you. For example, if I entered the office and said hello, and the others also in the room didn't reply, then he'd go with that energy and not reply. But if the others responded "good morning" he'd follow, but being the last to say it. Anyway this same guy had previously told me about another colleague (old guy) who he used to work the twelve hour night shift with, who he'd a falling out with. Old guy wouldn't say one word to him for the whole 12 hours, and this was quite hard for fat guy. "Old guy" and I got off to a bad start too and we didn't talk to each other either. I thought old guy was an ass, but I found him easy to figure out and once I knew where I stood with him and had set my boundaries, I didn't really mind working with him... we'd just say nothing to each other unless it was necessary. Yes, he'd have blanked me if I did, but that was fine because I'd him figured. Eventually fat guy took a turn on me for reasons I won't go into. One night it was me and fat guy on the 12 hour night shift, and he starts giving me the silent treatment. I only found this funny because I knew I could out last him having heard his story about old guy. He thought he was better than me so I should be the one looking for his attention. Eventually he gave in and started talking to me about some hobby of his. It felt like we were friends again but I should've known that he just needed 'something' to talk to and that as soon as someone else was present that he'd drop me like a hat. At 7 am the first change over security guard came in for the day shift "thin guy". Fat guy and thing guy started talking. I'd sort of suspected that they both didn't like me and that they'd gossiped about me before. When leaving (thin guy was my replacement) I felt I had to say goodbye to them on the way out... like as if I didn't that they'd have both looked at each other and said "did he just leave without saying goodbye?!". So I did and they both blanked me. I can imagine that they were probably both looking at each other half expecting the other to say goodbye, but neither took the initiative. Interestingly, if were just thin guy there I think he might have said goodbye, but I reckon thin guy felt some sort of pressure from fat guy. I remember it pissed me off as I was going home to get ready for bed after the night shift, and later waking up with it on my mind.

I'm not saying that I get blanking more from girls than from guys, in spite of my references above. But I do think that the male version of a blanker is a bit easier to deal with. Maybe it's a bit easier to get away with if you're a female. It's somehow easier to put up a barrier with the gender difference. Might be something to do with the fact that you might sense that others might be protective of that female.

Just to be clear, I'm not always annoyed by people blanking me; it's contextual... for example if I'm blanked by a girl who I'm hitting on who doesn't want my attention, then that is different thing. I also would hope that the thread doesn't wander down the road of arguing that people's social skills aren't as good due technology - which may be true - but I think we've all heard enough about that. Fair enough if a lot of you read this and think "wtf was that I just read?". And maybe if I'd a whole load of other fun stuff going on in my life, then stuff like this mightn't bother me as much. But there will be always low points in your life, and you'll need to know how to protect yourself during those times! These are the sort of problems that you can't talk about because you'll be laughed at, and people will then know what hurts you.

Thanks for reading!
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