Signs That Somebody Has Blocked You on Gmail
By Aaron Charles
In the course of doing business in the real world, "blocking" you socially might amount to someone refusing to talk with you on the phone or rejecting offers to meet in person. In the virtual world of Gmail chat, though, the act of someone blocking you isn't as bluntly apparent, although perhaps just as unpleasant.
It's important to distinguish another Google chat application that's similar but different from Gmail Chat, although the two are often confused with each other: Google Talk. Rather than a chat feature within Gmail, Google Talk is a standalone program that lets you have text or voice chats with other Google Talk contacts. One reason why the two are mistaken for each other is that typically the contacts with Google Talk are the same as those in Gmail Chat. However, if someone blocks you in Google Talk, that does not carry over into Gmail Chat, and vice versa
Within Gmail, the biggest indicator that someone has blocked you is from your Gmail Chat contact list. However, you need distinguish between those who have truly blocked you and those who've merely entered Invisible mode. If one of your contacts has entered Invisible mode, you'll still see her name in the contact list, but she'll appear there as someone who's offline rather than available to chat -- even though she might indeed be online and signed into Gmail. To see if she's truly offline, send her a chat message. If she's offline, Gmail will tell you so. If she's not, the message will go through.
If someone has blocked you, you'll notice in your Gmail Chat contact list that while his name used to be there, it isn't now. That's the most immediate indicator that someone has blocked you in Gmail Chat. This means that not only can't you see the contact who blocked you, but also there's no way to "beat the system" and send him a chat message anyway. However, when someone blocks you in Chat you can still send him an email from your Gmail address -- unless he's blocked you via email as well.
There are a few articles floating around the Web claiming that you can tell who's blocking you on Gmail Chat with the help of an outside program -- Pidgin. However, since this program is designed to work with Google Talk, the standalone chat program, and not Gmail Chat, this program won't help you. Overall, then, the clearest, most direct way to know if someone has blocked you via Gmail Chat is to see if she's disappeared from your contact list. If she was never on your contact list, then invite her to join you on Gmail Chat. Her response will another clear indicator of whether she wants to connect with you.
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."