What is 'grey rocking' and how can it keep toxic people out of your life?

Bore them away.

Sometimes, it isn’t as simple as cutting someone out when we can see they aren’t good for us.

Maybe their behaviour is toxic, feels narcissistic, or you’ve just had enough of the drama they bring to your life.

But when they’re a family member, in your friendship group, or a colleague at work, you can’t always just block and delete.

It’s time to try grey rocking.

Psychologists, such as a W. Keith Campbell and Holly Richmond, recommend this as a route to dealing with negative people you can’t quite get rid of.

Grey rocking is making yourself as similar as possible to a lifeless, boring grey rock – uninteresting, uneventful.

The idea being that you bore them off and they get tired of you.

How does it work?

Holly has explained you imagine yourself as an ‘unmoveable rock’.

Engage with the toxic person at a limited level, if at all, and when you do, keep things ‘nonemotional and nondramatic’.

This will come as a shock to the targetted person, because it’s often not how we meet toxic behaviour – people tend to react.

This can be particularly effective when there’s issues of jealousy, controlling qualities and manipulation at play.

Anything designed to get a rise out of you, this can be a good deterrent against.

Disengaging – or ‘grey rocking’ – leaves the abuser devoid of attention, and eventually they might get tired of their interactions with you.

As well as cutting your verbal communication, you can cut down physical communication too, by doing things like avoiding eye-contact and closing off your body language.

It’s worth noting though, this won’t always work – and in some cases, might anger the abuser more.

It’s vital to stay safe and seek other forms of help where needed.

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