I really don’t want to hear from my ex ever again. I have deleted every email he’s ever sent, but would like to just automatically have all new messages deleted so I never see them. How can I do that in Gmail?
One of the greatest problems with email and social media is that it’s hard to get someone to leave you alone if they’re persistent. There are a lot more digital stalker than there ever were in-real-life stalkers too, even if most of them are benign and just curious to keep tabs on an old flame or family member who’s otherwise shunned. Still, there are definitely people who can’t take “please leave me alone” and walk away, so it’s no surprise that there are tools in various email programs – and social media sites – to block and ignore others.
Gmail has a sort of half-baked implementation because it has an actual block feature, but you’ll need an email from them as a starting point and you’ll need to be on your mobile device, because Gmail for Mobile has the option, while Gmail for your computer (e.g., in a Web browser) doesn’t. Why that’s the case I cannot answer, but it’s just the way it is. Perhaps someone from the Gmail team will read this article and say “whhaaaa? let’s fix that!” which would be great.
Anyway, you sound like you don’t have an email from your ex laying around, but I’m willing to guess you’re very familiar with their email address and can recite it from memory nonetheless. With that as a starting point, I’m going to show you the Web-based solution for blocking them via a filter first. Log in to your Gmail account, then click on “Settings” from the gear menu:
Now you’re in the poorly designed but super flexible Gmail settings area. There are a bunch of tabs along the top (alright, they don’t actually look like tabs, but that’s what I imagine they’d be with a better user interface). You’ll want to click on ‘Filters and Blocked Addresses‘ then scroll all the way down to the bottom:
You can see one of my filters: Email from Turner Broadcasting (e.g., “*@turner.com”) should never be sent to spam and should be categorized as an update. Turner sends me email, I want to see it!
More importantly, the lower portion shows that I have no email addresses blocked. Since I can’t actually set up one (why isn’t there an “add” button in this area?) that’ll stay empty for now. Instead, click or tap on the “Create a new filter” option just above it.
You’ll have the create filter window pop up:
As you can seem, I’ve already specified the email address that I want to block for this demo: email@example.com. Just in case they decide to email me, ya know. 🙂
That’s all you need to enter on this screen, but you can see that the Gmail filter system is extraordinarily powerful for other tasks. You can filter and organize email by sender, recipient, subject, words, size, whether it has attachments, etc. Handy.
Now don’t click on the blue “Search” button. Click on “Create filter” to proceed.
This brings you to the second filter creation screen that lets you specify what should happen to messages you receive that match the criteria:
As highlighted, I simply specify “Delete it” and we’re done. You can do other things like automatically categorize is as “mail from ex”, say, and have it never go into your inbox and always be automatically marked as read so it’s basically invisibly archived, but sounds like you just don’t want those email messages at all.
Delete it is easy enough. Then click “Create filter” and you’re done. That’s it!
Now you’ll see a new filter appears in the Settings:
Finally, if you do have an email from your ex in your Gmail archive anywhere at all, open it up and tap on the three vertical dots icon on the top right of the mobile version of Gmail only and you’ll see this set of options:
I’m not going to block my colleague Reagan, but you can see the fifth option on the menu that’s popped up is “Block <name>”. Choose that and you’ve created something that is functionally identical to the Gmail filter, but categorizes as a blocked email address. Not too complicated either!
Hope that helps you manage your email inbox and filter out the person or people you’d rather never hear from again.