When Someone Ignores You on Purpose: 9 Ways to Respond

9 Ways to Respond When Someone Ignores You on Purpose

9 Ways to Respond When Someone Ignores You on Purpose

Why do people ignore others on purpose? What is the purpose of the silent treatment?

You may wonder why such people can’t air their grievances and get it over with. Why give them silent treatment and make life miserable for all concerned? The answer to this may be found by studying human psychology. It’s just human behavior.

As we cannot change how others behave with us, the best way to ensure happiness and peace of mind for ourselves is by choosing the right response. If you are being ignored on purpose and subjected to the silent treatment, how can you respond to the situation?

This article deals with this delicate topic and offers you constructive suggestions on how you can frame your response when someone ignores you on purpose. Before we deal with the silent treatment, it would be better if we try to understand the reasons behind such behavior.

Why would someone want to ignore you on purpose?

The dictionary gives the meaning of “ignore” as “refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally”. It means to give no attention to something or someone. In other words, it means avoiding or overlooking your presence. This may happen physically, digitally, or while communicating. In effect, the silent treatment is emotional abuse.

No one would give you the silent treatment or ignore you on purpose without a valid reason in a healthy relationship. Maybe you committed a mistake by ignoring them first, hurting them in some way, or failing to meet their expectations. Or it’s their fault. They are too weak, immature, and/or judgmental.

Sometimes this can happen even when no one is at fault. The other person may be going through tough times. Or you have been separated for too long or they may be too busy with other activities. 

What to do when someone ignores you on purpose?

It isn’t a pleasant experience when someone ignores you on purpose in a healthy relationship. It’s emotional abuse. In all probability, you will take silent treatment as rejection and this will make you crave more attention. You may feel sad, miserable, and even depressed to the point that life will lose its meaning for you. 

Your thoughts will be constantly on this topic. Why would anyone want you to feel unloved, unwanted, and slighted?

Before you go ahead and figure out a response to this situation, you need to first get some basics right. Promise yourself that you will approach the situation with an open mind and keep all the options open on the table. And accept the possibility that things may get better or remain the same. There is always a chance that it can get worse. 

When someone ignores you and you’re aware of the reality, it would be easier for you to manage the situation. One of the most effective ways is to use reverse psychology when someone ignores you.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

1. Acknowledge and accept it

This is easier said than done. When something unpleasant happens to us like emotional abuse, we deliberately ignore it. We are willing to go to any lengths to avoid reality because reality hurts. 

Sometimes you may not have noticed it really. If you are the kind of person who refuses to be tied down and calls yourself a free soul, you may genuinely have missed noticing that you’re being ignored on purpose. If you continue along this path for long, you will lose more people than you care to acknowledge. 

If you want to stem the rot, the first step would be to develop sensitivity. Notice what is happening to you and around you by keeping your mind open. Live in the moment and stay alert. 

Just because you are aware of being given the silent treatment doesn’t mean you have to jump right into action mode. Don’t do anything silly. Take your time to figure out your response. Always bear in mind that you might have got it wrong. You need to make sure that your perception of the situation is right before taking action.

2. Confirm that you are being ignored

You need to think deeply about how you feel about being subjected to the silent treatment. Is it physically, digitally, or in conversations? How long since you realized this? Is it getting worse with time? If your perception is true and there are no signs of the situation improving, you need to respond.

Before that, you can check with a third party to confirm your suspicions about the silent treatment. You may approach a common friend to know their take on the situation. You may even ask them what they think are the reasons for such behavior. 

This information can help you come up with the right response.

3. Ignore that you’re being ignored

This is a simple and effective strategy that really works and resolves the problem in most cases. All you need to do is to act as if you aren’t aware of being ignored. You just need to keep your cool and act naturally. This is bound to trigger curiosity in your ignorer. 

As long as you can hold your patience, your ignorer will be forced to come to you. That will be the end of them ignoring you. If this ploy doesn’t work, you can try to be indifferent to the situation despite openly acknowledging being ignored. Go about your life as if nothing of importance happened. Make it known that you are not sad or worried. You will need a tough mind and mental strength to carry this through.

4. Ignore the person ignoring you

When someone ignores you on purpose, it will affect you only if you give importance to the person ignoring you. By ignoring the person, you are making a statement that they are not important to you. You are turning the tables on this person with this move.

When someone ignores you and this person sees that you are not sad or upset by his behavior, they will be baffled. On top of that, if you ignore them as well, you are totally destroying their plans to destroy you. 

However, you need to be careful with this tactic. You should take it slowly, act realistically, and stay within limits. Or else, you will upset the apple cart. When you ignore your ignorer, their curiosity will be aroused. This will prompt them to come back to you and give you attention. However, if you overdo this, it may make them annoyed. The consequences of this are unpredictable.

It’s better not to take it that far.

5. Approach your ignorer for a friendly chat

If your ignorer is ignoring you for reasons other than malice, you may be able to resolve the stalemate by having a friendly conversation with them. Maybe your ignorer is too shy or feeling ashamed for some reason. Or their ego is preventing them from approaching you. When someone ignores you and you take the first step, it can help resolve the situation.

However, look for the right moment to approach your ignorer, preferably when no one is around. If it’s the ego or shame that is making this person ignore you, they may not be happy about you forcing their hand. They may not want to acknowledge publicly that they climbed down from their position. 

However, if you are tactical, you may be able to score a victory with this move. If your ignorer is searching for a way out of the situation, they will grab this opportunity. 

6. Let them know that they are hurting you

This is to give your ignorer a chance to mend their ways. You tried to have a friendly conversation with them in the hope that they will let go of their cruel and hurtful ways. If that didn’t get you the desired results, you can try this simple and direct strategy.

Tell them straight out that they are being very hurtful and you are finding it hard to carry on like this. You may add that you aren’t sure how long you can continue to cope with this emotional abuse. Don’t say this in a threatening way but in a matter-of-fact manner. 

Someone who ignores you must be well aware of how hurtful their actions are but may be trying to ignore your feelings. By telling them in clear language about how their behavior is making you feel, they will no longer be able to run away from it. At least in some cases, this will work.

7. Confront your ignorer

If none of the above strategies are working, you may try this one. However, be prepared for an acrimonious conversation. The interaction is bound to start on a hostile note with complaints and heated discussions. However, it should move on to explanations, admissions, and understanding. With this, the issue should be resolved. 

It’s not easy to make this happen as the ignorer is already angry and highly agitated. You can help channel this discussion with the right questions and the right attitude.

  • Are you okay?
  • Is there something wrong?
  • Do you want to share something?
  • Are we good?
  • What can we do to make things ok?

While asking these questions or talking to your ignorer, take a confident stand. Don’t act like a victim or blame yourself for what happened. Don’t do or say anything that you would be ashamed of later on. Don’t lose your self-respect. 

This strategy may or may not work. But remember that you need to live with yourself. 

8. Focus on yourself

When someone ignores you, you may feel hurt by it only if you give this person importance in your life. Instead, focus on yourself and forget about this person. This is different from ignoring the person. 

If this person is not giving you the kind of love and attention you deserve, you give it to yourself. Focus on self-care and self-love. When someone ignores you on purpose, it can destroy your mental health. With self-love, you can restore what you lost. 

Let go of everyone and everything that isn’t good for you. And embrace things that are a positive influence in your life. Spoil yourself and believe that you are the best and you deserve the best. As you slip into a new lifestyle, this person will gradually disappear from your life.

9. End your relationship

When someone ignores you and none of the above works, this is it. There is nothing much to explain other than walking away from your tormentor. Just remember not to blame yourself for it. It’s not your fault. You tried everything but unfortunately for you, nothing worked. 

When walking out of the relationship, don’t make it worse by lashing out at your ignorer. Anger can make it difficult for you to recover from this. Remind yourself that the ignorer is the one losing out and not you. You are going to meet better people in the future and live a life overflowing with love and affection. With this kind of mindset, your ignorer is destined to live a miserable and lonely life.


Many people believe that when someone ignores you, it is a sign of disrespect. Whether we like it or not, ignoring someone usually means there is something wrong and that the person has decided to take a certain action - to ignore your attempts at communication and interaction. Ignoring someone can be used as a tool to express disapproval and even contempt. However, it is important to remember that everyone has their own reasons for ignoring people, and being ignored does not necessarily mean you have been disrespected.

Ignoring someone can be a form of manipulation. It can be used to control the conversation and show that one person has more authority or power over the other. Additionally, when someone ignores another person, it can cause them to question their self-worth and make them feel less deserving of respect or attention. It is important to remember that while ignoring someone might seem like a harmless way to get what you want, it can have damaging consequences on relationships and feelings of self-worth.

Psychology has found that being ignored can be very damaging to a person's self-esteem. People who are ignored are likely to feel embarrassed, angry, and worthless. They may also experience feelings of helplessness, confusion, and insecurity. Being ignored can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-worth, and difficulty in forming healthy relationships. Additionally, it can cause people to act out in ways that are harmful to themselves or others in order to get the attention they so desperately seek.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is ignoring you, it can be helpful to distance yourself from them. This could include blocking them on social media, removing yourself from group activities that involve them, or avoiding any activity or conversation where they may be present. Additionally, it may be beneficial to practice self-care and take time for yourself to process your feelings. Finally, confide in friends or family about what has been happening so that you do not feel alone and have support during this difficult time.

Final thoughts when someone ignores you on purpose

You may face this situation in any kind of relationship, even in a healthy relationship. But it will affect you the most in a romantic relationship. You may be able to ignore the ignorer or curtail the relationship easily if it is a platonic one. 

You don’t need to feel intimidated and bullied by those who ignore you on purpose. You have your choices on how you can respond to their devious tactics. No matter how you choose to respond, keep your cool and think smart. Don’t lose your self-respect in the process. 

Even if things don’t go as planned, understand that you became a better, tougher, and more mature person in the process.

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