One of the most important skills in life is learning how to stop thinking about someone. Everyone wants to forget someone – an ex girlfriend or boyfriend, a toxic friend, an abusive relative, the list goes on. 

Sometimes distractions help, like talking to new, understanding people.

But stopping a nostalgic or resentful train of thought is harder than it seems. Pull the emergency brake and follow these steps for how to stop thinking about someone, both right now and in the long term.

Fast ways to forget about someone

(Pro tip: talking to someone else, like in a 24/7 anonymous chat, is the fastest.)

1. Stop virtual stalking

The last thing you need when you’re figuring out how to stop thinking about someone is constant notifications about them. Unfollow, unsubscribe and unfriend! 

Constantly checking who they’re hanging out with or what they’re up to is only going to slow down your recovery. Regular posts about them can also cause unpleasant flashbacks. Do yourself a favor and remove the temptation by removing them on social media or blocking them. Also remove any of their friends with whom you aren’t close.

2. Toss nostalgic memorabilia 

Physical reminders also make it harder to forget someone. Get rid of all of the items that remind you of them

Maybe it’s a hoodie, a framed picture, or photos on your phone. If these items have financial value and you’re reluctant to throw them away, consider boxing them up and leaving them with a friend. Your emotional connection to them may fade eventually.

3. No contact rule

We’ve all been there — you may feel tempted to contact the person and stir the pot of emotions again. Don’t fall into this trap. Follow the no contact rule

Don’t text, call, or message them, and minimize contact any way you can. This means avoiding places you know they visit often, like their favorite coffee shop. While you may think you want to see or talk to them again, all you’re doing is indulging masochistic drives and torturing yourself.

If you really have to communicate with this person for financial, logistical, or other reasons, consider appointing a friend as a go-between. If this person needs to get you a message, they can send it to your friend, and vice versa.


4. Move your body

Don’t sit at home all day and ruminate about this person. Go out and experience the world by yourself or with other positive people in your life. 

Even better, try some hobbies you couldn’t engage in while this person was around in your life. No matter what you choose to do, engage yourself in something physical and remind yourself that an entire world exists without them. 

5. Transport your mind

If you can’t get up and go out, try some techniques to shift your mind space. This can be as simple as closing your eyes and imagining a place you love to be in. 

If that’s too unstructured for you, try asking a friend if you can help with something on their mind. Attending to others’ problems easily removes you from your immediate world. You can also read an engrossing novel or watch something on Netflix

Let your mind roam where this person doesn’t occupy and can’t intrude. 

6. Imagine a future, when you’ll be with someone who…

  • Loves you most on the days you’re not trying
  • Sees how your mind works
  • Values your quirks
  • Automatically meets you halfway
  • Shares a sense of humor
  • Respects your autonomy
  • Gets to know your friends
  • Hears you out
  • Makes you feel calm
  • Gives you strength

Slow ways to get someone out of your head

7. Forgive to forget

This one is really difficult for many people, but just as essential. This person probably hurt you, bad, in some way. For your own sake, not theirs, don’t wish ill upon them. Fueling yourself with constant anger will make it harder to forget this person.

One way to do this is to imagine yourself sending this person a ball of white light and surrounding them with it. You can also try drafting a letter to them, and achieve closure by releasing emotions.

8. Respect yourself

How to stop thinking about someone that you still love? How about thinking of someone else you still love — yourself!

Often, we put people on pedestals even if they mistreated us, causing obsessive thoughts, self-blame and doubt. You deserve better.

Build yourself up by engaging in empowering activities and thinking about your own emotional needs. One example of this is treating yourself to an entire self care day.

9. Let yourself feel the pain

All of the strategies used to move on only work if you’ve allowed yourself the proper time to grieve. The end of any relationship, even if it was toxic, can be painful.

Trying to move on without validating your emotions can lead to denial and suppression – building up the pressure in a bottle you’ll eventually have to open. 

Before you try to forget, walk yourself through the course of what happened with this person. Let yourself feel the pain and sadness that is due, and then let it go.

10. Avoid substances

In the search for a quick fix brain cleanse, you may consider falling back on alcohol or other substances. While these may offer temporary relief, they also dig you into a deeper pit. 

Substances can also lower your inhibitions, making it easier to contact the person you want to forget – and then you’ll have to start this whole process over again. Put down the shot glasses and find other ways to distract yourself, like talking to understanding strangers.

11. Look forward with excitement

Learn to accept that you can’t go back in time and change what happened. However, this person is not a permanent mark on your life — there’s so much more to come.

Consider sharing your excitement for the future with supportive folks!

You have the ability to mold yourself by learning from past experiences. Whether these experiences were good or bad, each relationship we have gives us wisdom we can apply to the future. You’ve already learned that you deserve better, that you are resilient and that you are capable.

12. Talk to someone else!

Hopefully these tips on how to stop thinking about someone have helped you feel better today. If you’re seeking support and need help distracting yourself from a certain individual, consider reaching out to Supportiv’s peer support network.

Hit Chat Now, enter what’s on your mind, and you’ll be connected with understanding folks in less than a minute. No bots, no personal information – just support.