What Is Grey Rocking & How To Do It

What Is It?

Grey Rocking is when you respond to someone in a very uninteresting and bland way.  You are as boring and forgettable as an average grey rock. Your responses are very brief, factual and unemotional.  You do not communicate more than what is absolutely necessary.

When Should I Grey Rock Someone?

Grey Rocking is a way to protect yourself when another person is baiting you into an emotional response. You can use it when someone is being demeaning, humiliating, controlling, gaslighting, manipulative and/or possessive.  These types of behaviors feed off emotional interactions. So the way to get an emotionally toxic person to disengage is to starve them of emotional responses. Without an emotional response, being manipulative, demeaning, etc. is not rewarding and they’ll either stop the behavior or stop talking to you. Either way, you win.

Does It Work?

There is no scholarly research proving Grey Rocking works or doesn’t work.  However, people that use it say that it can be quite effective in the right situation.

How To Do It

  • Offer nothing.

    • Keep your face blank and your response vague.  Use “mmm-hmm” and “uh-huh.”

    • Shrug and give “Meh” without making eye contact.

  • Don’t make eye contact

    • Distract yourself by looking at something else.

  • When you HAVE to communicate, keep it brief.

    • “Yes”

    • “No”

    • “I don’t know”

    • “Maybe”

  • Don’t tell them you’re grey rocking them.

    • If someone knows you’re intentionally trying to be uninteresting, they will use this against you and up the ante.  The goal is to be disengaged, treating them like a stranger.

There Are Risks

  • The perpetrator can escalate rather than lose interest. Physically violent perpetrators do not need an excuse to escalate and will invent justifications for their actions.  With physically violent offenders, it is better to confront abuse, set boundaries and actively protect yourself.

  • There is a risk of becoming disconnected with your own needs and wants.  When you suppress your emotional life for an extended period of time, it becomes the norm.  Take notice if you begin to withdraw from other relationships.

  • If your childhood was filled with unmet needs and feelings, it may trigger these feelings to come up.  Because the core of Grey Rocking is emotional suppression, it can remind you of your childhood and potentially re-traumatize you.  If this is the case, you would be better served to go “no-contact.”

Bottom Line

Ideally, when we encounter emotionally harmful people we should do our best to avoid them. However, this isn’t always possible.  There will be times we are forced to communicate; co-parenting, neighbors, ex partners, in the workplace, or within your family. Grey Rocking can provide short term relief while you figure out an appropriate long term solution.


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