AIM: can you appear "away" or "offline" to some people but not to others?

So I was in a spot and gave my AOL instant messenger screen name to someone who I…well, who I don’t really want to talk to online. Is there a way I can make it appear to them, and to them only, that I am away or offline when in fact I’m not?

I searched the boards, googled it and searched the AIM website and I didn’t find much useful information. I have version 5.9.3690 (which I think is the latest), if it matters.

You can block people, which will make you invisible to them. Go to “My AIM,” “Edit Options,” “Edit Preferences,” and then “Privacy” and you can enter the names you wish to block. I know a lot of people think of blocking other users as an unfriendly sort of thing to do, but I’ve used it to great effect to temporarily concentrate on a conversation with a specific person without being interrupted by others or having to use an alternate AIM name.

When you block someone, it looks to them as if you’ve gone offline, so unless a mutual friend tells them you’re on, they won’t get hurt feelings.

Brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever blocked someone, because I always assumed that they could tell that you did.

Thanks Legend.

One caveat. If you block someone like this you can’t see them either.

In AOL (not AIM) or at least in earlier versions, you could separately block appearing on a buddy list and being able to IM. If you blocked the buddy list but not IMing, the other person couldn’t see you as on, but you could see them as on. Of course if they tried to IM you even if they didn’t see you, it would go through.

Hm. That’s inconvenient, but I can deal.

So that’s how that works! Cool! I lurk in GQ because of moments like this. :slight_smile:

This only works if they don’t get another screen name and check to see if you’re online that way, fyi.

(learned that the hard way)

You can also go the reverse route and only allow certain people (say, your buddy list) to see you. That gets around the problem of them using a different screen name. I do that when I’m specifically looking for someone and don’t want to spend a half hour talking to someone else.

Yeah, the only way to avoid them making another screen name and logging on with that to see you online, thus finding out you blocked them, is to makeit so that ONLY people on your buddy list can see you online. If you are confortable with the fact that no one else can talk to you, then you can do that.

With the latest version of AIM (5.9 on mine) right about the first group of buddies should be an eye. If you click on it then you are hidden from everyone’s list but you can still see them. It’s like block but without actually blocking anyone. You can still talk to everyone they just won’t know you are online without you talking to them first ya know?

I didn’t think of the “other screen name” option. I’ve had mine set to accept messages only from people on my buddy list for so long, I’ve kind of forgotten all the permutations. SlickRoenick, thanks for that information! I just downloaded the latest version of AIM, and I haven’t gotten around to exploring the new options.