How to “Grey Rock” a Narcissist

How to “Grey Rock” a Narcissist

How to Grey Rock a Narcissist

This is a new term for me, and maybe for you too. I’m sharing it because not only is the term apt, the practice of it is important. I know some people right now in serious need of doing this.

First, please note that it is unlike another modern term, “ghosting,” which is when you were participating in a perfectly healthy relationship, and the other for some reason just stops being in touch. This is not appropriate. Instead of ghosting, you should be considerate, and have the uncomfortable, but necessary conversation about the fact that you are moving on.

Grey rocking is very different than blowing someone off without an explanation. It is totally a necessary technique to utilize for self preservation in cases where you are dealing with a narcissist, energy vampires, or other toxic people. Fortunately, I have none of those in my life right now, but we probably all know people who do. It is all too common.

People who feast on drama consider any response a win, even if it is sarcastic, mocking, frustrated, angry, screaming or tearful. Every one of your reactions feeds their energy, and they’ll keep returning for more. It is exhausting, and serves them, but definitely not you. So in order to break that cycle, try “grey rocking,” which is to make yourself so disengaged and uninteresting, they lose out by being unable to provoke you.

Try providing no response at all. Don’t pick up the phone. Don’t even text back. After all, a response is not always required.

If you feel you must respond, offer non-committal one word answers, like “huh,” or “interesting.” But say those things without any inflection, completely flat, without a tone. Any kind of tone, good or bad, fuels these people. Avoid sharing anything emotional. Find the most bland, boring words, like saying you are (or something is) “fine.” Keep conversations as short as possible, and maybe only written, where it is easier to have no tone.

Be direct and practical without getting involved or sucked in. Just dispassionately give the facts, and only if necessary. Don’t offer anything extra. Stick to the barest minimum of what is relevant. Even if they are behaving temporarily better, don’t offer them anything more than the barest, most banal, most lackluster, most efficient, and rare responses.

Also, don’t cave if grey rocking temporarily escalates their behavior. It is not surprising they would panic when a major source of energy that they are used to feasting on dries up. Stay objective and take care of your own energy, for your own purposes, instead of giving it away to someone unworthy, noxious, and self absorbed.

Self-preservation is unapologetically a good thing. Save your energy for your own delights and only offer it to people who truly care about you and kindly support you.

“Grey rock” is a new term that is similar to an old term, “stonewalling,” which means to resist intentionally. The term grey rocking may stem from the durability, dispassionateness, and longevity of a simple grey rock, but I also like to think of how strong it is to build foundations with! Fortresses and walls are built with them, but so are beautiful, gracious mansions.

Prioritize being safe, being strong, and building toward a happy future. Grey rock those that have proved they are too self-focused or toxic to deserve to be in relationship with you. You are not responsible for them. You are responsible for your own thriving.

If you know someone who needs this blog post, please forward it to them. I know who I’ll send it to.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John gregory 3 years ago

    It is always refreshing to know others go through the same or similar experiences as I. Why do I continue to think I am so terminally unique!

    Thanks for your sharing!

  2. Susan 3 years ago

    This is relevant and an excellent way for me to look at some situations I have been in recently.
    Thank you Polly.
    I will continue to benefit…

  3. Gretchen D 3 years ago

    This is wonderful! Very inspiring and helpful to those if us who often feel “steamrolled!” Thank you Polly!

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