How-To Geek

How to Block Emails from Your Psycho "Ex" in Your Gmail Account

Raise your hand if you have an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend that just won’t stop bugging you… Sure, you’ve changed your phone number and moved 3,000 miles away, but changing your email is out of the question! Today we’ll learn how to auto-delete their psychotic emails from your Gmail account.

Rather than a “Block” button like many email clients have, Gmail has a powerful “Filter” feature which you can use for all sorts of purposes, but for today’s lesson we’ll use a filter to automatically delete messages from a specific (and likely obnoxious) person.

Filtering Emails in Gmail

If you are reading one of the emails from the extremely annoying person you wish you had never met, you can click the arrow next to the Reply button and choose “Filter messages like this” (being very careful not to accidentally reply with @!#$$% and open up a whole other can of worms)


Otherwise you can click the “Create a filter” link right next to the search boxes up near the top of the page…


If you chose “Filter messages like this” the From box will automatically be populated with the person’s email address, though you can write in their email address, or even their name. I’d go with the email address, and then click the “Next Step” button.


On this screen, you can click the “Mark as read” checkbox, and then click on the “Delete it” checkbox. This will send their messages automatically to the trash can.


Clicking the “Create Filter” button will make this filter active, and you’ll find it listed under Settings \ Filters in case you want to edit or delete it.


You’ll notice that the message isn’t permanently deleted, as it will sit in the trash can for 30 days until it empties automatically. Somehow that seems appropriate.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/7/08

Comments (45)

  1. Shoban

    Thanks for the tip!! Looks like some is having trouble with ex-girl friend ;-)

  2. Chris

    Great tip. Sorry to hear about the ex. Can the canned response be used to send back a generic reply stating that she has to let it go? A personal touch may be too intimate.

  3. 1fastbullet

    Actually, Richard, I rather like the “Forward It To” button in the filter options.

    Why not forward the obnoxious emails to that persons Mom, Dad, Boss, pastor? The list is only limited by one’s imagination.

    AND delete it, of course…

  4. The Geek


    That’s a great idea!

    Could also just forward it right back to the same person that sent it… wonder if Gmail would let you do that. Will have to test. What would be even more fun is if you could forward the email back 10x for every one that they sent.

  5. Shoban

    Well you can use outlook for all the above :)

  6. jd2066

    One thing to note about the Forward To idea: Make sure to avoid that on Spam and Phishing emails as the From headers on those are usually forged. Thus either the forward will go to the wrong person or not work at all.

  7. Just Me

    No offense, but some people seem to get really upset about emails from an ex. Send it to her mom or pastor? You seem to have no respect for someone you were once in a relationship with, and by the way it took two people to end the relationship. Not sure why an ex would be hung up over some guys who think too much about themselves. I never email ex’s because if someone breaks up with me I automatically never want to talk to them again.

  8. Jackie

    @Just Me

    You obviously haven’t had to deal with constant harassment from an ex. It gets very frustrating to deal with both mentally and emotionally. You even said you never want to talk to the ex again… well that’s the whole point of blocking their emails!

    This is a great article, I didn’t know how to block people in gmail before. I just made a new account.

  9. ex-lover

    any way to know whether the person you are sending has applied filters or blocks?


  10. Emma

    thank you thank you! not only wont i receive angry messages but i wont even know they are there

  11. dollface

    I’ve done this twice, and it still doesn’t work!!!!!

  12. UpsideDownTire

    Hi All;

    This is an OK approach to dealing with a psycho Ex or even friends that aren’t. But it does not get the idea or implied message acrossed – leave me alone.

    A better approach, if I could have my dream granted, would be not to filter their email and delete it, but instead filter it and bounce back an email message something like this system message:


    “This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

    “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    ” {my_email_account}

    “Technical details of permanent failure:
    “The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try double-checking the recipient’s email address for typos or unnecessary spaces. Learn more at

    ” —– Original message —–

    “MIME-Version: 1.0
    “Received: by with SMTP id k1mr3364036wam.190.1247240902625; Fri,
    ” 10 Jul 2009 08:48:22 -0700 (PDT)
    “Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2009 08:48:22 -0700
    “Subject: {some subject here}
    “From: PsychoEX
    “To: {my_email_address}
    Content-Type: multipart/related; boundary=001636458104f34be1046e5be6d6

    Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=001636458104f34bdd046e5be6d5

    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

  13. KK

    It does not work!!!!!
    There is no next step button!!
    I am so mad!

  14. Pusslaren

    I don’t even use google mail, at least not yet, but my question is: can you block e-mails that begin with something particular? because I receive comment notifications on my blog, but don’t want them when I’ve written the comments myself… If anybody knows, I’d love to be contacted! :]

  15. bullet


    Suppose if i block particular gmail ID. whether it is applicable to google talk as well. ?

    If the person is trying to send mail, what will be messge ( When failure delivery happens)?

    Whether is there any option to blck the mail by using the name of the person?

  16. joanna

    Gmail filter sucks. I wish there was a way to actually BLOCK emails like Yahoo! Mail. Instead of going through all those steps to filter it when the mail is still going through you inbox. Pretty worthless, methinks.

  17. loralyn

    automatic forwarding back to them doesn’t work, in order to set up forwarding the account you are forwarding to has to approve it. i’ve been filtering like this article explains, but it would be nice to be able to send a ‘bounce back’ message as well as filter to a folder. this would allow me to keep the email in case i need a paper trail of crazy but also let the person know i am not accepting their communication. if anyone knows how to accomplish this i’d appreciate!

  18. lulz_lulz_lulz

    Thank you SO much. This idiot in my class kept sending me annoying emails, and blocking didn’t work. I’m now rid of this vermin forever!

  19. toney

    I could not log in to my Gmail account. Help me please, I would like to block my email account. because some one has hacked my account and changed my secret name, passwords and alternate email ID.

  20. a

    There’s a new gmail lab that lets you send a ‘canned message’ to anyone. I created the canned message: “your email has been blocked by …@…”. Then went to filters and set it up as an automatic message to be sent whenever that particular person emails me. You can add the additional filter “send to trash” if you don’t even want to see their email. This way, maybe that person will get the hint that you don’t want them emailing you anymore.

  21. Karena

    Haha it really does work and is easy… Go to labs and enable the canned messages, then go and make a message and leave out the address to send to…

    Then go and save the draft, and save it to the canned messages area on the bottom under the subject line then go and save it again as draft… And then go to the address of you want filtered and click filter then type in the address or they are already there and then check mark canned messages and pick the one you made or want to use for this individual. Dont be too mean on these, you need to make it seem real that it is undeliverable…

    And its done and now your rid of those nasty people you dont want to receive mail from.

  22. sayan

    it dosnot work

  23. amsobored!

    oooh gosh how can i stop my x from sending me mails i get moody when i see his mails cant he leave me alone he is a parasite!!its done its done!i have tried but it doesnt work the messages keep coming :( jeeeeeeeeeeeeeez help here!

  24. LisaSphinx

    You could try telling her you love her, and then drag her to every boring sporting event in existance, and afterwards insist that she watch you play war games on PS3. Cook awful food for her, act hurt if she doesn’t like it, and pass gas constantly. Yell a lot for no good reason, eat lots of onions and garlic, and lick her face whenever possible. Ask for a threeway with her and her monther. Then see how often she emails you.

  25. shouldbestudying

    so helpful thanks! for those on yahoo, it works there too!

    spread the joy.

  26. Saurabh

    Its better if gmail had also provided Block option along with filter as may be we sometimes may not want to have any mail from some Mr/Ms X in our trash folder. Moreover I dont find any harm if gmail provides this option and leave it to us to decide that what we want to do with that mail.

  27. shareeze

    Set Up and Use Email Templates( Canned Messages) in Gmail

    To enable message templates in Gmail:

    -Follow the “Settings” link in Gmail. (right uppermost og the gmail page)
    -Go to “Labs”.
    -Make sure “Enable” is selected for “Canned Responses”.
    -Click “Save Changes”.

    next step……

    Save a Message as a Template(canned Message) in Gmail

    To save an email for future use as a template in Gmail:

    -Compose the message in Gmail.
    -Do leave the signature in place if you want it to appear in messages sent using the template.
    -You can leave both the “Subject:” and “To:” fields empty. They are not saved together with the template. (The subject, if you enter one, is suggested for the template name, though.)
    -Click Canned responses (beneath the Subject line).
    -Select New canned response… under Save.
    -Type the desired name for your template.
    -Click “OK”.
    Create a New Message or Reply Using a Template in Gmail

    To send a canned message or reply:

    -Start a new message or reply.
    -Click Canned responses.
    -Select the desired template under Open.
    -If prompted to overwrite what you have already typed in your message (and if you indeed want to replace it with the boilerplate text), click OK.
    -Make sure you fill the To: and Subject: fields.
    -Edit the message as needed and click Send.
    Note that Gmail will overwrite the entire message with your template. This includes any quoted text from the original email when you reply.

    Have Gmail Send the Canned Replies for You

    Using message filters, you can make Gmail reply with a template automatically.

    Edit a Message Template in Gmail

    To change a template’s content:

    -Start with a new message.
    -Click Canned responses.
    -Select the desired template under Open.
    -Make the desired changes to the message.
    -Click Canned responses again.
    -Select the same template as before, but under Save.
    -Click “OK”.

  28. Dimitri Hendrickx

    THANK YOU!!!! some F****N!!! dumb adverts kept coming through to my gmail account- from some Indian Car Company selling SH*T!


  29. Rhythm

    Oh man, how do I set the trash to be emptied every hour or somethimg? :|
    I know about the filter thingy, but I dont want ‘his’ emails in my trash even, because then I get tempted to go and check it, only to find him abusing me for dumping him !!

  30. Megan

    I’m right there with you, Rhythm! I’ve gone “dumpster diving” a couple times and have found emails from him. It’s hard to resist the urge to check. Wish I could just block them altogether or have the trash emptied more frequently. But from what I’ve read that’s not possible on gmail, unfortunately.

  31. Rogan

    I’m in the same boat. She keeps trying every trick to make me contact her, including suicide threats, coming to my work and trying to get me deported. I check the trash all the time and want to stop, wish you could delete it automatically. Changing email isn’t an option.

  32. Michele

    I keep getting spam type emails from the address of someone I know. I informed him that someone is probably using his account without their knowledge but he refuses to change his password to protect his account. This is not a person I’m remotely friends with; it’s a long story. I do not want any emails from this person, trash or not.

  33. RINA

    actually you can block people on gmail. Sign into your acct

  34. RINA

    ….click on Contacts on the left side of the page, Select the person you’d like to Block, beside show in check list Select Block.

  35. Tanya

    Yay thank you! No more emails from my crazy ex!

  36. Chica

    Rina- where is the Block button? i have tried everything and i can’t find that BLOCK button.


  37. Unknown

    I agree with Chica, Rina where is the Block button?
    This isnt an Ex, just some email from some guy who i dont know.

  38. pirifys

    that’s not blocking, that’s just deleting. I’d want it so the email actually bounces back as though the account no longer exists.

  39. Chris

    Even if the unwanted email goes straight to the trash, the thing is the sender still thinks that u r receiving his/ her emails.
    Blocking is so much different. The sender actually realizes that no contact can be made via emails with u. Come on Gmail….. Just introduce a proper block button & make our life easier.

  40. Bb78

    I agree! This si so ineffective, I don’t want it simply deleted or filtered like spam. i want the sender to realize that he can’t send the emails at all! Where is the block feature????????????????????????????????

  41. radhi

    i dont want to be that person in filters also,any chance?

  42. radhi

    i dont want to get that persons to be visible in filters too

  43. oscarlett

    @Karena Thank you! It does work was a bit tricky how to save the Canned responses it wasn’t just hit draft I figured it out by name it and than it saves it…but it worked and saved me a lot of headache. I couldn’t get the message back that contacted wasn’t wanted till this canned response. Now I have 2 a blocked msg to the point and a message failed for a more suttle approach.
    It be nice iy you said goodbye and people were grown up about it but the fact is there are some unstable people out there and they don’t take the hit when your nice and will still like bad attention than none so this is a safe way and easier way and the stalker/unwanted person/infatuated person can get board and move on…..

  44. oscarlett

    *hint not hit….sorry

  45. New Girl

    shareeze, Thank you!! Works Great!! My husband and his ex have kids together and she uses any excuse to email or call him but she blocked his replies and changed her number. So she emails whenever she wants and calls private over stupid things just to make his (our) lives miserable! And this just makes it very helpful!! So now her private calls and emails are also blocked! I’m pretty sure facebook will be next! Can’t live her life!

    Everyone else, go to Shareeze’s comment and follow the step by step instruction he gave us because it works!!

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