Seven signs you might be a stalker

Persistence is an admirable quality — and one that’s key to being successful in any endeavor. But there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a stalker, especially when your persistence involves 17 unanswered text messages, eight e-mails and a stare-down in a club.

Here are seven signs that you may have crossed over into stalker territory:

1. You friend request someone on Facebook….more than once: It’s reasonable to friend request an acquaintance or potential love interest on Facebook. But if they ignore your request, take that as a hint to leave them alone and not a cue to friend request them again. Because that’s just creepy. 

2. You call someone from a private number…because you know if you call from your actual number they won’t answer: This is when you’re clearly entering problem territory. If you have to call from a private number just so your target MIGHT answer, you probably shouldn’t be calling at all.

3. You invite yourself to places your target mentions they’ll be, and proceed to follow them around the venue and stare at them when they talk to other guys: If you ask your crush what they’re up to and they mention that they’re going to be somewhere, that’s not a cue to invite yourself to said location. And text them that you’re at the barber shop getting ready for the event that night. And wait by the door for them to arrive. And follow them around all night. And stare them down when they’re talking to another guy. And actually interrupt the conversation with said guy, eventually forcing them to sneak out of the back of the club because you’re standing by the main exit. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. I really wish I wasn’t.

4. You tell a girl you just met that you’ve been watching her for over an hour, you love her and she must be your girlfriend: Yes, again this actually happened to me. Crazy life, right? I was reviewing a concert in the city and taking notes on my BlackBerry in a cozy corner of the club. After the show, one of the performers came up to me and told me the above. He then dragged me around with him for the rest of the night, and borderline wouldn’t accept no for an answer when I declined (roughly nine times) to go back to his hotel room with him. We’ll call this guy a short-term stalker, because although he pursued me quite doggedly the next day, as soon as his stint in the city was over, I never heard from him again. Bonus!

5. Invite someone you barely know to an event they have no interest in, and then proceed to nag them about responding, telling them that you’re “waiting on them!” Really? Because I’m waiting on you to leave me alone. Last time I checked I didn’t ask you to contact me, and I’m pretty positive I’m not required to respond to you. So why don’t you fall back? Thanks.

6. Leave three voice mails, six emails, four texts and one Twitter direct message, all with no response, and keep trying to make contact. This is where not being able to take a hint bleeds into being clinically stupid. If you are repeatedly contacting someone via multiple channels and they’re not responding, for the love of God, stop. Wake up and realize that you’re the reason call blocking exists.

7. After a series of ignored text messages and awkward in-person exchanges, you call and leave a message, which isn’t returned. So you call the next day and do the same thing. And when you run into your target at a local event, you proceed to talk her ear off, all while she’s shifting uncomfortably and making faces that clearly indicate how uncomfortable she is and how quickly she hopes this conversation ends. And when she finally sneaks outside for a cigarette with one of her actual friends, you follow her outside and proceed to interject yourself into the conversation. This is what is colloquially known as a disaster. You’re out of line and you need to review the norms of social etiquette before you step foot outside the house again.

As previously mentioned, in most situations persistence is a good thing. But when persistence includes repeatedly contacting someone who is clearly not interested in you, then it crosses over into something else entirely. Some people call it annoyance. Other people call it stalking.

Yes, it can be difficult when someone you like doesn’t return your affection. But realize that you have one of two options, neither of which involve contacting them relentlessly and following them around. One is to relax, figure out what they’re actually interested in and switch up your approach to something less frequent and more palatable. This might fall under the term “gentle stalking”: breezy, casual persistence that involves “checking in” to test the waters every so often. If the waters tell you to go away, then do so.

The other option is to simply cut your losses and move on. Yes, it may be hard at first, but you’ll get over it and find someone who does appreciate you for exactly who you are. And you’ll leave with your pride intact, with no chance of becoming the subject of articles like this one. 😉

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