“My Brother’s Friend is Stalking Me”

I am 25 and my friend, “John,” is 33. I’ve known John since I was 8 years old. He was my brother’s best friend growing up and was considered a family friend. After going through a pretty tough time in his early-mid 20s, John began to visit my family at least once a week and would stay for a few hours to talk. Often, it was just me and John at home when he came over as my brother no longer lived at home and my parents worked late. He continued to come to the house whenever he liked for years.

Our friendship has continued this way although he doesn’t see much of the rest of my family anymore. The issue is John has become particularly demanding of my time and attention recently. Two and a half years ago I moved overseas, so contact with John was limited to the occasional email. I returned home a few months ago and now live on my own. John started turning up at my house whenever he felt like it, and within a month of my being home he told me he has had feelings for me for a long time and wanted us to be together. I have no romantic interest in him whatsoever and told him so (but a bit more nicely than that).

I thought I might see less of John after this most recent event, given how embarrassing it was. But instead he actually started showing up at my house more often — two or three times a week. I’ve now told him I’d prefer he ask my permission if he wants to come over. But after my saying this to him, he seems to want more contact. He now calls me a couple of times a week, as well as asking to see me throughout the week. It’s exhausting. He will sulk or get emotional if I tell him I can’t talk or that I am busy. Last week when I said I didn’t feel like visitors, he called me trying to persuade me to let him come over.

I have no problems with boundaries within other relationships, but I’m at a loss here. I don’t know what to do. I now feel very uncomfortable around him and I really don’t want to see him or talk to him several times a week anymore, but, after knowing him for 17 years, how do I make that happen? — Friend of John’s

You need to change the way you think of this guy. John is not your friend, no matter how long you may have known each other. He’s a stalker. At best, he’s a former family friend, with emphasis on former since it doesn’t sound like he has much to do with the rest of your family anymore. And just because you’ve known the guy for a long time doesn’t mean you’re under any obligation to be nice to him or put up with him or treat him any differently than you’d treat any, well, John who refused to stop turning up at your home uninvited and against your explicit requests that he stop.

I’d say you need to completely cut off all communication with John. Stop answering his phone calls, stop letting him into your home when he knocks, and stop engaging him completely. He has definitely crossed a line by harassing you and, if you don’t let him know in a very clear way that you will not tolerate that kind of behavior, he will only continue pushing your limits. To be on the safe side, I’d alert your brother and family to not discuss you or your private life with John, and I’d even make a cursory search on how to obtain a restraining order in your area. Hopefully, you won’t ever need one, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least have an idea how to go about getting one if you begin to feel that your privacy and safety is in jeopardy.

If I’m making this sound more serious than you think it is, it’s only because I want you to understand that it IS serious. That discomfort you feel around John is a warning sign, and I hope you won’t ignore it. You’ve been in denial for a long time about the relationship between you and John, and he has taken advantage of your politeness and kindness. Now is no longer the time to be kind and polite. It’s time to protect yourself.

John is not your friend. He is a menace and a stalker and not someone you can casually let be in your life. Cut off all ties with him and alert your support network — especially everyone who knows John — of the potential danger you’re facing. Hopefully, in time John will get bored and move on. But with 17 years invested in pursuing you it may take a while, so be prepared to be diligent in your separation from this person. Good luck.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. I haven’t dealt with this kind of behavior or know anyone else who has, so I’m curious what other people think about this. I’d be inclined to send one final piece of communication, in writing, explaining why the LW doesn’t want to see John anymore and why this is a direct result of his actions. I.e: “You have repeatedly come to my house uninvited and ignored my requests for privacy. This is inappropriate and a breach of my privacy and now request that you cease all communication. This means: do not stop by my house or drive down my street, do not attempt to contact me via phone, text, email, facebook or other social media and do not respond to this letter.”

    That way, he can’t come by your house or bother you for an explanation of why you stopped responding to him (although, given his past behavior he probably will do this anyway). You also would have a dated letter telling him you no longer wanted contact in case you have to go to the police later if he refuses to leave you alone.

    1. RavageMaladie says:

      Sounds like a very sensible thing to do, if you ask me.

    2. Megan_A_Mess says:

      WWS. But also, what you said too, Leah. It’s good to get it all out, lay it all down, in clear, concise, detailed instructions, why you don’t want to see him anymore. Like you said, date it, and make a copy. Make ten. Have a digital and a hard copy. And then just don’t communicate with him after the letter was sent/given. If he continues to harass you, you can then take it to the cops and explain the situation. Show them the letter and then show them your phone, about how many times he’s called/texted you since then.
      I was stalked by an ex once, and it was terrible. He showed the warning signs of this while we were together, which is why I broke it off. I had to get the cops involved, and they called him to tell him not to contact me in any way (e-mail, call, text, social media, no contacting my family or friends, etc.) and if he did, that I would then be able to file a formal complaint against him. That in turn, would then allow me to get a PPO against him. (But that was just the law in my county of residence, in order to get a PPO or restraining order, you needed to have evidence/paperwork on the person, and that they were causing you problems.)
      And to the LW, please take Wendy’s advice seriously, and please be safe.

    3. Since you haven’t dealt with this behavior, what you’re not getting is, you can’t engage a stalker. They’ll take ANY communication they can get. They feed off of that, even if it’s a letter saying “leave me alone”. She doesn’t owe him an explanation as to why she’s not answering his calls. He knows deep down anyway. She should just.stop.answering. Cut off communication now. No need to send a “here is my reasoning, goodbye” letter.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree with you completely about not engaging a stalker even to say go away, however, I think this situation is very different than that of a stalker so I would say its ok here.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        I totally agree. With a stalker it’s totally different. But this guy isn’t a stalker. He’s a real pest, to be sure. And a problem that must be dealt with… But the use of the word Stalker is just over the top here and simply not accurate.

      3. I don’t think we know that yet, at least from the letter. It seems borderline situation and could develop in a sinister way in the future.

        On the slight chance that this guy is not going to become a real stalker, there are 2 things I would recommend the LW should do:
        1. Tell him in a clear way–email, written, and perhaps verbal (one last time on the phone) that she is cutting off all contact. Tell him to leave her alone.
        2. Tell her family and friends about this. Also try to tell “John”‘s family and friends in case she knows them well.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Why “on the slight chance?” I am seriously surprised at the reactions to this letter. This LW never once said she was scared of this guy, or even that she never wanted to see/hear from him again. But now the guy is deemed very likely to stalk and potential physically harm her? I’m wondering how many of you are this scared of people in real life.

  2. pamplemousse says:

    I hope the LW takes Wendy’s advice seriously. It’s surprising how quickly that vague sense of discomfort can turn into danger. I experienced something similar (albeit, not with a family friend – but a “friendly” new neighbor) and at first I just felt awkward and tried to be polite, but then it quickly turned into the guy letting himself into my home without warning. LW – keep your doors locked at all times.

    1. We (humans) haven’t been in the wild for a while so we tend to disregard gut feelings, sixth senses, and intuition about people and situations so we don’t seem nuts, but often it is what keeps us out of harms way. Those warning bells in your head exist for a reason even if you don’t know what it is yet or can’t put your finger on it!

      1. ele4phant says:

        Does the LW have a gut feeling though? It sounds like some of us do, but according to the letter, she’ annoyed and exhausted at his persistent behavior, not scared, threatened or weird ed out. I may have felt inclined to agree with Wendy’s advice if a feeling of fear was articulated in the letter. But it wasn’t, that was interjected by others.

      2. She did say she was feeling uncomfortable being around him

  3. I agree that this behavior is bizarre and perhaps alarming. However, I believe that most states, if not all, will not issue a restraining order for annoying behavior. You would probably need to show at least two acts of violence.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I have friends who have gotten restraining orders for men calling repeatedly, showing up in odd places where they are, and following them home. I don’t think it takes too much.

      1. No, it doesn’t. In CA, the behavior just has to be “annoying” or “harassing”. It also has to be persistent, which means more than once. No violence need be involved.

      2. Assuming CA = California, I agree. I forget what this restraining order is called, but you can get one pretty easily. Call the local court for guidance.

    2. It really does depend on the state. My sister went through something similar with a “fan” of her band several years ago, and it was a nightmare. The state of IL was really slow in dragging its feet. However, I know that at least some states have something similar to a “civil order of protection,” which is less strong than a restraining order, but at least it’s something.

      1. Most places have really upped their game recently, though. Even 10 years ago stalking was not taken seriously almost anywhere and now almost all 50 states have laws against it. I wouldn’t rely on what was the status quo “several years ago.”

  4. That’s a difficult situation. I think Wendy’s advice is spot-on. What concerns me is that John seems to have become even more stalkerish since you’ve told him to ask you for permission when he comes over, and that you don’t want a romantic relationship with him, rather than relenting (which would be the normal reaction). This makes it seem likely that he won’t accept your “No’s” even if they become more forceful and that it’s best to ignore him completely from now on, just as Wendy said. But the problem in situations like this is precisely that you can’t control a stalker’s behavior. It may sound extreme, but if he continues to knock on your door etc. I’d consider moving (and getting a restraining order, too). Just do anything you can to feel safe again, because having a stalker can quickly turn into living hell.

  5. artsygirl says:

    While Wendy’s advice does sound harsh, there are dozens of cases where women just brushed off harassing behavior and ended up hurt or killed. I imagine John is hoping that by constantly showing up that the LW will suddenly develop feelings for him. He also might be checking up on her to make sure she does not date anyone else. After all, if he comes to her house every Friday and Saturday she will not be able to make plans to go on dates with other people.

  6. a_different_Wendy says:

    WWS. Seriously.
    I was in a situation very similar to this a few years ago, with a guy from my work. He demanded my constant attention, would get very sulky when I would tell him I was busy. It got to the point where he crossed a very big line (insisted that since he bought me a birthday gift, I owed it to him to let him spend the night with me), and I asked him to stop contacting me. After that, he only got worse.
    LW, block him in every way you know. Give him one last letter telling him to cease contact. Stop answering his calls, don’t open the door when he shows up unexpectedly. If he continues harassing you, inform the police of the situation. I got in contact with a very nice officer who helped out a lot, and gave me his number to call at any time if he kept bothering me. It took two years for him to finally stop trying to contact me, but as soon as you start taking steps to remove him from your life you will feel a huge weight off. Good luck

    1. If he wants to pay for sex then he should visit a prostitute, not try to turn his coworker into one.

      1. Um yeah it wasn’t that simple.

      2. “insisted that since he bought me a birthday gift, I owed it to him to let him spend the night with me”

        Sounds like trying to pay for sex to me.

    2. Moneypenny says:

      I completely agree with this!!
      I had a very similar experience 3 years ago, but with a guy I met at a Russian festival…
      After hanging out one time, he decided that he was in love with me and quickly became stalkerish (calling me 20 times in as many minutes, constant texting, emails, sending me photos…). The final nail in the coffin was when he got into my building (which is a secure building with a key fob) and came to my door, and pleaded with me for an hour (I was very very nice, unfortunately) that we were meant to be together, blah blah blah. He even prevented my closing the door in his face with his foot. Which I promptly grabbed and pushed him out of the way and slammed the door shut.
      I went to the police, but all they could do was have me file a police report. I couldn’t file a restraining order unless he had actually threatened me or had done something physical. I just had to turn my phone to silent and redirect his emails to spam, and after a few months he stopped contacting me. I was constantly looking over my shoulder when I would be walking home. Thankfully he never came back to my door. I would have really enlisted the police then!

  7. SweetPeaG says:

    I heard once (no idea where) that sometimes people’s ingrained societal rules to be polite overcome even our most basic survival instincts. We are taught from such a young age not to be rude, that we have a tough time denying it.

    For a time, I lived in a really rough neighborhood. My work was only a few minutes away, so I’d often walk. There were so many times people would try to talk to me (ask for cigarettes, money, etc.) and sometimes it would give me an uneasy feeling. Mind you, I’m not saying everyone in a bad neighborhood is bad. But, there were some shady characters (I lived next door to a pimp/prostitute couple and across from what I can only assume was a den of crackheads). My desire to be polite often overrode that little voice in my head that says “KEEP WALKING”. It’s crazy how that works.

    LW, you do need to let go of any feelings that you have to be nice to this guy. You have been nice for a long time. You don’t owe him anything. I understand how you probably feel. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve hurt someone’s feelings. Wait- I take that back! There is one thing much worse than that- getting hurt yourself!! I’m not saying this guy is definitely dangerous, but don’t take the risk that he is. Cut ties and don’t feel bad about it. Good luck and be safe!

    1. I’ve read that too, about how we get a bad gut feeling that we really should listen to for our own safety and ignore it because we don’t want to seem rude or racist/sexist/whatever. It’s very dangerous. I think I read it in Cosmo in one of those scare-the-crap-out-of-you articles about a woman being killed by a stalker who was mad that she rejected his advances and didn’t want anyone else to have her if he couldn’t.

      I agree that the LW should firmly tell John not to contact her anymore and alert her family and friends of his shady behavior so they can help protect her. There’s no concrete proof that he’s dangerous and going to harm her but why take the risk? Especially if he’s making her uncomfortable and she’s not enjoying hanging out with him but rather doing it out of a feeling of obligation. If he refuses to leave her alone, I agree with Wendy that it might be time to consider a restraining order/protective order of some kind.

    2. This is especially true for women, who are taught that they should always be polite and never hurt someone’s feelings, much more so than men are taught.

    3. The whole “being polite even if it’s putting yourself in danger” thing makes me think of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    4. This is exactly what the gift of fear is about. We override our instinct. We are taught to be nice and polite and things can get scary.

    5. If he gets in contact with you again, break out your bitch side on his ass! Seriously, he is mistaking your kindness for weakness, and this type of personality will prey upon you. Be a bitch! Raise your voice, tell him to grow the fuck up and get over himself, the world does not revolve around him and let him know YOU WILL take legal action if he comes near you again. Have some attitude in your voice when you tell him, too!! I’ve had a couple of exes get a little stalkery, and once I unleashed my Bitch on them, I never saw or heard from them again. In my limited experience, (being a B.I.T.C.H. and all that keeps the weirdos away!, lol) it seems stalker types can’t handle a strong woman who will tell them the harsh truth about their unacceptable behavior. Be a bitch ( you can channel me, if you must!) THEN cease all contact. Good Luck! (Rrrooooaaaarrr!)

      1. … i want to start ending all my posts in rrrooooaaarrrr too!!!


      2. I totally agree! There are times to be nice and times to be a bitch. It is time to be a bitch.

      3. bittergaymark says:

        Yeah, nobody ever got killed for being a bitch to some unstable psycho. This is perhaps the DUMBEST, most horrible advice yet — I’ve ever seen on Dear Wendy. And that’s REALLY saying a lot. I’d be nice. And firm.

      4. No, because she has been nice. Trying to save his feelings and it hasn’t worked. She needs to be strong, step up, and cut this off. He isn’t an unstable psycho he is lonely and creeping in too close. Huge difference.

      5. bittergaymark says:

        Actually, my response here was more for Miss V…

      6. Sometimes being nice just isn’t gonna cut it, tho I do see where you are coming from. Perhaps people in general should just be more honest, straight up, even if it hurts. The truth may hurt, but it does also set you free!

      7. I agree- she needs to be FIRM and direct, not a bitch.

    6. You say that your desire to be polite overrode the “voice in [your] head that says ‘KEEP WALKING'”, but you don’t mention how it turned out. Were you robbed? Attacked? Harmed in some way?

      My point is this: The inappropriately high level of confidence that people have in their inutition is usually based on some combination of confirmation bias, naturalistic fallacy, and arrogance. Intuition is wrong incredibly often. The sentiment that “if you feel something it is probably right” is simply untrue and based on mountains of bias. Actually, you just remember being right more often because it fits in with your construction of yourself as being intelligent, talented, etc. It would be more appropriate to say that you generally feel something for a reason, and you should assess what that reason is (the reason can be off base or wrong, that happens a lot). Intuition is wrong at least as often as (I would argue more often than) it is right. For every instance of someone coming to harm for ignoring her gut feeling there are likely many people that gained something positive (maybe a friend, or the opportunity to help someone) by ignoring that same gut feeling.

      How does this apply to the letter? The guy used to stop by unannounced, this was apparently ok. He professed romantic interest and found that it was unreciprocated. It is no longer ok for him to stop by unannounced, so she asked him to stop that. He did as she asked. He now calls to try to get her to spend time with him. These are the full extent of his actions. He is clingy and apparently lacks some social awareness. He appears to be lonely based on his desire to spend time with someone who doesn’t like him. However, this doesn’t make him a stalker. Nothing here seems dangerous or unhinged. He’s just a guy that is awkward and hasn’t taken the hint (HINT, not clearly conveyed desire).

      It is probably in the best interest of the letter writer to make her desire for little to no contact very clear. It’s a courtesy that costs her nothing and allows her to continue to treat other people with respect and kindness. She should not say that she is too busy or doesn’t feel like having visitors; but that she doesn’t want to see him, and would like to hear from him less/not at all. I think it is fair (and safe) to allow him to to actually ignore her request or go against her clear wishes before she treats him like a stalker. It is unlikely that he would go from whiny nuissance to violence without any period of noticable change in between. If he doesn’t respect her wishes, then I think it is much more reasonable to treat him as potentially dangerous from that instance on.

      The gut feeling may be a nice alarm to raise your conciousness to a situation, but it shouldn’t be an outright replacement for your ability to assess whether you’re in a spot where something bad is likely to happen. Unless you’re in imminent danger your intuition is really best used as a cue to look deeper, not as irrefutable evidence that someone is terrible.

      1. I find this kind of advice often comes from men who don’t have any frame of reference for dealing with stalking and menacing behavior nearly as often if ever. It doesn’t need to come to violence for a person to know that someone who is pursuing them relentlessly is off balance. Do you know what a man does? A gentleman? He takes no for an answer. The LW wrote that she told John to ask permission or call before coming over. He didn’t. Not a huge deal in an of itself, but a great and (I’ve found) infallible indicator of the type of person a man is. A person who does not understand or respect the word no is dangerous and it is that kind of person we as women HAVE to be aware of and yes, fear. Where did this idea come from that we need to be “nice” all the time, or that because a man “thinks” his advances are welcome, the woman must treat his feelings gingerly and err on the side of caution in reference to the man’s illusions. No. She doesn’t OWE him anything. For what? Seeking her out inappropriately over the years?

        This is not to say that I think the TRO is the right way to go either. This man has over a decade invested in seeking out the LW in some way and it seems that a TRO would likely make the situation worse. As someone who is very experienced in situations like this, I would like to advise the LW to make a quick phone call (John can pretend/delude himself into believing he never received a letter) saying that no matter what John thinks, the LW is not and never will be interested in a romantic relationship. After leaving no room for a “someday maybe” kind of hope for John to cling to, the LW simply has to let go. If you don’t want anymore contact with John…stop having contact with John.

        If John isn’t breaking in or being that level of aggressive, simply ignore him. Be aware that he may show up unannounced and prepare yourself to ignore him and refuse him entry to your home. Don’t have a half hour conversation through the door, simply pretend he’s a bible salesman you don’t want anything to do with and go about your life. I would also recommend some self defense classes. While this isn’t an “imminent threat” kind of scenario, they’re a good idea and I’ve never met a woman who regrets taking up martial arts or simply learning a few great self defense techniques.

      2. When she asked him to call before coming over he DID start calling first. From the letter: “I’ve now told him I’d prefer he ask my permission if he wants to come over. But after my saying this to him, he seems to want more contact. He now calls me a couple of times a week, as well as asking to see me throughout the week.” That’s exactly my point, he hasn’t shown any signs of being potentially dangerous yet. He did what she asked, he now calls and asks to see her. Obviously he’s socially awkward and unable (or unwilling) to take a hint, but that’s why my advice stated that the hinting should end. Simply stating things outright is likely to end the whole situation here. If it doesn’t, then you take the next step. It seems reasonable to give people the chance to do the right thing before you act as if they did the wrong thing.

        You don’t OWE anyone anything. Why be nice to anyone? When the clerk at the grocery store tells you to have a nice day why not respond, “go fuck yourself”? You don’t owe her anything. It’s not about women being nice to men, it’s about being nice to people in general, respecting them as real people with feelings.

        You’re right that it doesn’t need to actually come to violence to know there is a problem, but there should be some signs that there’s a problem before you start treating people poorly. You seem to be advocating that people “just know”, once again with the inappropriately high level of confidence in intuition. How do you know? In all things in life, knowing why/how you know something is as important as knowing it.

        You ultimately gave the same advice I did.
        “It is probably in the best interest of the letter writer to make her desire for little to no contact very clear… She should not say that she is too busy or doesn’t feel like having visitors; but that she doesn’t want to see him, and would like to hear from him less/not at all… If he doesn’t respect her wishes, then I think it is much more reasonable to treat him as potentially dangerous from that instance on.”
        “I would like to advise the LW to make a quick phone call (John can pretend/delude himself into believing he never received a letter) saying that no matter what John thinks, the LW is not and never will be interested in a romantic relationship. After leaving no room for a “someday maybe” kind of hope for John to cling to, the LW simply has to let go. If you don’t want anymore contact with John…stop having contact with John.
        If John isn’t breaking in or being that level of aggressive, simply ignore him.”

        I think your post tried to make a gender issue out of something that isn’t. It’s just not necessary. My post is more about jumping to conclusions, overestimating how accurate intuition is, and considering the feelings of more people than yourself. That’s it. This isn’t a gender issue. Being a man doesn’t make me suddenly unable to understand the situation. And “this kind of advice” was pretty much the same as your kind of advice. In fact, if anything, my advice was more cautious; because I told her to actually take action as if he’s dangerous if he ignores her explicit wishes. Not just to ignore him.

  8. I only have one thing to adf. When you send your letter for him to cease contact, don’t just email it. Send it certified mail with a signature required sp you have proof he got it. Then document any contact he makes after that. This will come in handy should you need a restraining order.

    1. *add (I don’t think adf is a word)

  9. I have dealt with a situation like this. You do have to make it explicitly clear that a) his behavior is unacceptable; b) you want it to stop; and c) you will take action if it doesn’t. Then, as Wendy says, cut off all contact – ALL – contact. If he persists, get a restraining order – without speaking to him. A policeman showing up at his door is the only response you need give. Do be aware, though, that the restraining order itself is not an invincibilty shield. You will still have to be diligent in case he decides to test your limits. The suggestion to send the letter certified mail is a good one. I’ll pass on another piece of advice I got from a police officer: document everything. Keep a journal of every time this guy contacts you: dates, times, how he contacted you, what was said, the result, etc. This will be very useful if you need to get a restraining order.

    1. Oops, just saw redessa’s post above. Sorry for the repeat.

  10. Friend of Beagles says:

    Not to be alarmist, but it may help the LW to read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, if only for ways of dealing with someone who is ignoring boundaries.

    1. I was going to recommend this, too. Useful for so many situations in life!

    2. ReginaRey says:

      YES. Please, please read this book, LW. I’m going to talk more about it below!

    3. I was going to suggest this!

    4. Tinywormhole says:

      Ditto on “the Gift of Fear” recommendation, I was thinking about the book as I read this letter. Truly a necessary read for someone in this situation.

  11. applescruff says:

    LW, there’s an app called Circle of Six that might be a good idea for you to download onto your phone, if you have a smart phone. You save six of your contacts into this app, and can quickly send a message asking for someone to come get you or call and pretend they need you. There’s also an icon that will take you to a choice of a couple hotlines. It’s not a bad thing to have on your phone in general, and lets you quickly as for help if you need it. Best of luck with all of this.

  12. I agree with Wendy’s advice and the commenters above. I just have to add one thing based on a friend’s experience. DO let your brother/family/any other mutual contacts know about John’s inappropriate behavior. However, realize that not everyone may agree on the seriousness of the situation (I have seen friends and family be very flippant about stalker behavior until an actual violent event occurs). Of course, that may not happen, and your family may be very supportive. But if they aren’t, don’t let that prevent you from taking the precautions necessary to protect yourself.

    1. This! If someone insists you are overreacting, don’t back down. What that person is really saying is “stop making waves”. You don’t have to try to convince them, but be firm – “he makes me uncomfortable and I need you to not tell him anything about me.”

      I hope your friends and family will be supportive, but be prepared in case someone urges you to see him and “work it out”. Some people just cannot stand conflict or can’t accept that they may have trusted someone who turned out to be a stalker. Stand firm and don’t let them convince you you’re crazy.

  13. lets_be_honest says:

    Wow, am I reading the same letter as everyone else? Sounds to me like LW lead John to believe, for 17 years, that they were close friends, he’s a fan of the pop in, stopped when she asked, and now that maybe LW doesn’t need the constant attention, she’s decided to think he’s a stalker.

    1. The pop-in is pretty common in my immediate family. I agree that he may not be a huge stalker, but once he crossed the line of coming out to her romantically he should have backed off because he did change the nature of their relationship in that moment…which is why his behavior is coming off as creepy.

      1. +1 – that’s probably where things went south.

        My younger sister used to run into situations like this a lot. Some guy would befriend her, hoping to become her boyfriend, and that never worked. They’d make their intentions known, and then she’d be left wondering if his friendship was sincere, and if he persisted his behavior would inevitably come off as creepy – and it often was objectively creepy.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Wendy, I’ve been close friends with this girl for almost 20 years. I’m also close with her whole family. Well, a few weeks ago I told her I had a crush on her, she said she didn’t like me but I still want to have her as a friend. We’ve always seen each other at least once a week, and like to hang out a lot since we’re good friends. She’s been not interested in hanging as much lately, and I’ve stopped popping in after she asked me not to. Is it wrong of me to still call her to try and hang out or should I just give up on this lifelong friendship?

      1. LBH, I think if you assure her that you respect her decision to remain platonic (& act accordingly), the friendship may be salvageable. I’d give her a little space for now, and definitely not come off as flirtatious.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Lol, thank you, but I was just trying to illustrate how John may have written a letter to Wendy and we might have felt differently.

      3. Lol I noticed further down you were putting yourself in his place 🙂 ok that advice would be for LW’s creeper.

    3. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

      I dunno, LBH, I think it’s a little more complicated than that. I think the big thing is that after she told him that she isn’t interested in him romantically, the visits and called increased significantly, which worried her.

      1. yeah i agree, things changed once he told her he liked her and she let him know that wasn’t going to happen. increasing the number of visits and calling and trying to persuade her to let him visit are also kind of odd.

      2. Also what seemed like emotional manipulation, trying to make her feel guilty, that is a red flag.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m just not seeing twice a week as a big deal. Hey, I could be totally wrong and this guy could be a psycho murderer, I’m just not seeing it from this letter. I’ve had close friends profess their love, me say I’m not interested, and we still hang just like we did. I’ve also had friends try to talk me into wanting to hang out when I’m not in the mood a million times.

      4. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        But, LBH, you were cool with hanging out after the love-professing, and I’m guessing you got to dictate when and where the hanging out would take place. She isn’t comfortable with the home visits anymore and I think that her uneasiness is coming from the feeling that she isn’t getting to dictate the parameters of the relationship anymore (how many phone calls, the ability to not hang out without being guilted).

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        As far as he knows, so is she. When she turned him down, she doesn’t mention she also said I never want to see or hear from you again. She also hasn’t mentioned that he has ignored her requests to stop the pop ins.

      6. Jessibel5 says:

        I think the red flag is in the “He will sulk or get emotional if I tell him I can’t talk or that I am busy” part. That’s not a normal reaction.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Really none of you have ever tried to pursuade a friend to hang out before? Maybe I’m a stalker, but I know I’ve certainly done this and have had it done to me. I’m not saying I burst into tears and beg like a dog, but I’ve definitely not accepted ‘I’m too tired’ before and gone on to say, Oh, come on, we’ll have fun.

      8. Jessibel5 says:

        Well, yeah, sure, I’ve tried to persuade friends to hang out before, but never got sulky and emotional over them saying “I can’t” or “I’m too busy”. I’d probably just pull a “are you sure?!” or “Boo, you whore!” and probably not call them later in the week attempting again, which I got the sense of from her letter, that he’ll call her multiple times a week. I’d probably tell them to let me know when they’re free and that we’d make plans then.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        She hasn’t said what she deems “sulky and emotional.” For all we know, saying ‘are you sure?!’ is what she thinks is sulky. I imagine if he burst into tears and hysterics every time she said she was busy, she would’ve written that.
        I agree, I might tell my friend to give me a ring when they aren’t busy, but there’s also a good chance I’d call them the next day to see how their busy day was, or make plans.

      10. Jessibel5 says:

        Valid point. I assumed the sulky and emotional wasn’t quite as advanced as hysterics and tears, but more than an “are you sure”. Sulky and emotional doesn’t have to be hysterics, it can be subtle, even just a tone of voice can be sulky. But she’s still bothered enough by his behavior to write into an advice column/site.

        You wrote somewhere else in the comments that she hasn’t told him to stop contacting her, and you’re right. If that’s what she wants, she probably should do that, because you’re totally right that from this letter we can’t tell that she’s actually taken a stand with him about his behavior. All we got is that she gave him a boundary that he’s complying with, but his behavior is still creeping her out. She needs to set a better boundary than just “call before you come over” if she doesn’t want him coming over.

      11. I think you’re missing how important it is to go with your “gut instinct.” If the LW’s gut is telling her something is amiss, there’s a good chance that it is. And, she also seems to make it pretty clear that he’s no longer a close family friend, and hasn’t really been in touch with anyone other than her for a long time.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not dismissing the gut instinct. If she has one (which she does I guess), then she should go with it and tell him never to contact her again. She has yet to do this. And therefore, he has yet to ignore her.

      13. It could also be because he is freaking out that he fucked up their friendship by doing it (which he did) and he is frantically trying to see her to mend it… His response to her when she requests to stop contacting her will be very telling about his “stalker” status.

    4. I thin that the most significant thing is not what he is doing, but it is how he is making her feel… She is creeped out, a d we all have guts and instincts for a reason.

      Did any of the friends who you went through this with creep you out as the situation unfolded? I’m honestly curious.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        You’re true about gut instincts, so its certainly possible I’m completely wrong. Just not seeing anything in her writing to back up her instinct.
        No, I was never creeped out. But then again, I’m not creeped out by anything she has said here, so maybe I’m just not the type to get freaked out until I have good reason.

      2. well but you’re also not in the situation. she’s the one who is dealing with his multiple phone calls and him trying to persuade her to see him. maybe she does need to be more firm before sending a letter in saying, i really need a break from seeing you right now, please stop calling. i think we shouldn’t immediately disregard the way he is acting is making her feel. if she’s uncomfortable with it, she needs to let him know.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Obviously I’m not in the situation, I’m just surprised people are jumping to call him a stalker and suggest a restraining order after reading the same letter I did.

        From what I’ve read, the LW has not even yet told him she doesn’t want to see him. How the hell should he know he should stop talking/contacting his long term friend without her telling him? If she doesn’t ever want to see him again, she needs to say that first, not just serve him with an order from the court saying so. That is crazy.

        The easy, normal solution in my mind would be her saying Hey buddy, I’m uncomfortable you’re still wanting to be my friend and hang out so much after I told you I didn’t like you romantically. Can you chill out til I get my thoughts straight? I just need a break.

      4. well and i don’t think a restraining order should be the next step either. but, i think if she feels uncomfortable being around him now and with his multiple phone calls, etc then she should do something about how she’s feeling. which, i get you are saying the same thing. however, she has from what she says let him know when he calls that she doesn’t want to see him.

        and i think that’s what people are getting from the letter. that part is odd. i mean, at some point you would think he would kind of get the point. if she consistently says, i really don’t feel like seeing you today, and then says the same thing again and again you might back off some. not get emotional and try and persuade her to let you come over. that just comes off kind of weird.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        OK, this is can agree with more. I’m glad you say “kind of weird” and not “he’s obviously a stalker” which is what I felt like everyone was saying.
        That brings me to this thought-LW, if you’re honestly creeped out, why didn’t you just tell him you don’t want to see him anymore rather than write a whole letter to Wendy about how to tell someone you are creeped out by them. This is supposedly a friend of 20 years. You should be comfortable telling him that.

      6. yeah, after reading again at the ages of the two involved and the fact that he started as a family friend i wonder how ‘close’ they really are. it went from him coming to her family home, to her going overseas and exchanging emails, to this. and she would have been about 16/17 when he first started coming over to their house. i’m thinking maybe he had more invested in the ‘friendship’ than she did, which might be where some of the awkwardness is coming from.

        and no i definitely don’t think he’s obviously a stalker, kind of weird, but not yet in stalker territory.

      7. i disagree that she hasnt told him she doesnt want to see him… she told him to start asking before coming over, and he started getting emotional and trying to persuade her into seeing him.. that is not a normal dynamic.. normally, people dont try to basically emotionally manipulate one another into seeing them, especially friends… you want to see friends, you know? you shouldnt have to talk them into it..

        i think she has tried to gently tell him that he cant do what he is doing anymore, and it seems that he is getting all emotional and bothered by that.. and that to me is the start, atleast of a dangerous path…

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Saying please call first is very, very different than saying never call me again.

      9. oh yea, i agree with you on that..

        i just mean that his reaction to what she laid out is telling… like RR said below, he might take that as, ok, i cant just show up at her house whenever i want, now i just have to call her 30 times before i can show up at her house… and that is still bad. the obsessive, emotional, off kind of behavior is still there, even if he is technically doing what she asked.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Sure, if we’re looking into the future, that could be true. But we aren’t. She isn’t saying he’s calling 30 times a day. If she tells him clearly to back off and he doesn’t, then I agree with everyone saying to take serious precautions. I just think she hasn’t told him not to contact her yet, so let’s have her do that first, you know, before determining with certainty that this guy is a grade a stalker.

      11. agreed.

        i think she needs to still do some work herself before she goes to the police or anything, but i do think that she needs to listen to her gut when it tells her this isnt right… she shouldnt just ignore this because he is a “family friend”. thats more why i think she should take this seriously.. i feel like she feels guilty because he has been in her life for so long, but creepy is creepy.

      12. Everything that everyone is describing here might be normal if they were a bunch of 16-20 year olds, but at 33 this guy does sounds a little out there, and unstable, and it probably has to do with his past, and his parents, but at 33 he needs to learn how to deal with boundries better, and that has to be tough for him since this is probably the only person he ever felt comfortable going to. This could be a Nicholas Sparks book if this guy looked like Ryan Gosling, but he must not so it just turns out to be creepy.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess just putting myself in this guy’s shoes and giving him the benefit of the doubt, I’d be shocked and very hurt if a guy I was friends with for 20 years sent me a certified letter seemingly out of the blue telling me to never contact him again because I told him I had a crush on him.

      14. yea, i understand that… also, this guy might not understand acceptable ways to express a friendship, you know? some people just do weird things and think that its normal to conduct life that way… they just dont get it.

      15. painted_lady says:

        Lbh, normal people – *nice* people – don’t react this way. Most people, when told “I would like to see less of you,” or “I would like x to happen before we hang out,” or “I dont feel like company,” would say “Oh, okay. I hate that you feel that way,” AND THEN THEY DO IT. They might get angry or defensive at being rejected, but they respect it. You would do that. And this man has decided he knows better than her who she gets to have in her life and how. Anyone who ignores that to this degree isn’t a nice person. And that letter? It wouldn’t be out of the blue. It would be a letter sent following several requests for boundaries, which he has ignored.

        I know we get a lot of drama on here, and LWs who overreact, but this LW Isn’t overreacting. She gets to say she doesn’t feel right about this, and she should be believed.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        All I read was that she asked him to call before coming over. And he respected that and stopped popping in.

        Telling him she didn’t feel like company a few nights says nothing to me. That’s normal. I don’t assume my friends no longer want me around when they say they aren’t up to hanging a few times.

        I agree if she is saying she has a gut feeling this guy’s dangerous, then tell him to stay away and see what happens. She has not done that though. She just hasn’t.

      17. Skyblossom says:

        Sulking and getting emotional to try and make her let him come over is manipulative or incredibly immature or both. Contacting her to the point of being exhausting is also way too much contact. She shouldn’t have to expend so much energy telling someone they can’t come over. He shouldn’t contact repeatedly. That’s why he is coming off as a stalker. When she says no he can’t come over he sulks and gets emotional and calls lots more times. She doesn’t say how many times but its enough that she’s finding it exhausting.

      18. lets_be_honest says:

        I think cproski said it well below. She needs to put her big girl panties on and tell him clearly what she wants/doesn’t want. She really hasn’t done this yet. If she had, maybe she wouldn’t be so “exhausted.”

      19. painted_lady says:

        I agree that she definitely needs to tell him to buzz off. I’m not 100% sure that he *is* a stalker, but I figure better safe than sorry and to treat him as though he will probably go in that direction. Not a restraining order yet, if ever, but start keeping a record of the contact, because if this is what’s going on, he’s going to escalate as soon as she tells him she doesn’t swans contact from him again.

        And while yes, she should trust her own instincts, it is incredibly difficult to do something extreme like cut off all contact with someone when you’ve got people around you saying, “I don’t know, he doesn’t seem unsafe *enough* to cut off contact. Really, he just calls you a lot? And you feel threatened? If you feel that threatened, why haven’t you said something yet?” And yes, buck up and all that, I know, but I’m sure she’s got people in her life who are both doubting that this guy’s a threat and also using the fact that she hasn’t given him a firm “no” yet as evidence that she must be overreacting. Which is such a mixed message!!!

        I know, I know, no kid gloves, but encouraging someone to say no (“Dude, this guy? No good. Tell him to fuck off.”) and telling them to do so couched in criticism (“Oh my god, just say NO already, you wimp! What is *wrong* with women?!”) are two sides of the same coin. One is empowering, and one is exhausting.

      20. I was also concerned that in enlisting the support of her family and friends, the LW would encounter reactions like, “Oh, well, he’s lonely, he just needs a friend”, or solutions like “Schedule one night a week to see him and stick to the limitation firmly”—-basically minimizing her concerns, for the same reasons that some on the comment thread are. Because it’s hard to tell exactly how explicit she’s been (in tone as well as words) in her attempts to establish boundaries, and also because as an ‘old family friend’, he may be very dear to those who haven’t dealt with him recently in his new (?) creepiness.

        I’ve had this happen before, where I was absolutely convinced that I needed to get away from someone for my own safety or peace, and had others believe I should just step up out of kindness or mitzvah, as if the problem was that this person was merely a drag and a downer rather than what I considered a threat.

        And I’m kind of getting the vibe that the LW is very gentle, very thoughtful, and because of that, a little more passive than she might need to be to get results. Also out of her desire to give this guy the benefit of the doubt and some compassion, she may be likely to downplay her discomfort to her brother and parents—which is the worst thing, because she will truly need their fully understanding, unwavering support if this guy doesn’t get the message soon, or his behavior escalates.

        I guess part of the package of us simplifying (which is often helpful) the LWs dilemmas when they write in is hoping or assuming some of those crucial steps like obtaining support will be easy. The idea that women are reactive and overly fearful causes a lot of people to drag their feet in stepping up to help in the ways they are asked to. Often I’ve found when I’m scared (and I’m no baby) everyone tries to reason me out of my fear, to talk me down from the ledge of it, rather than HEAR me and believe me that I am reading the situation more accurately than they could, since I’m the one living it.

      21. painted_lady says:

        “Often I’ve found when I’m scared (and I’m no baby) everyone tries to reason me out of my fear, to talk me down from the ledge of it, rather than HEAR me and believe me that I am reading the situation more accurately than they could, since I’m the one living it.”

        Good lord, YES. I’m pretty unafraid to speak my mind these days, but I wasn’t always. If someone did or said something that made me feel unsafe, I might tell a few people, “Hey, this thing? Weird and off, right?” If whoever I was telling minimized my concerns in any way, I would automatically default to “I’m overreacting.” It took years, and one or two scary situations where I had ignored my instincts to learn to speak up more, and once I discovered using my voice is powerful and useful, it was nothing I was ever afraid to do. But I needed some encouragement. Some people do.

      22. That’s a really simplistic way to look at it. He does not respect the boundaries of the relationship. Yes, he does now call for permission, but when the LW says she doesn’t feel like visitors he calls her to try and guilt her into letting him come over. He calls several times a week and acts all hurt (she says ’emotional’) if she says ‘no’; that is not a person who respects her choices. I think that’s different from a friend saying “oh come on let’s go out”. And there’s something about pressuring someone to be allowed to come to their home that creeps me out and sets this apart from “come oooon, come to the bar!” type behaviour. How many of your friends call you twice or more per week wanting to come over and then sulking if you say no? That’s a huge red flag to me.

        But regardless, even if his intentions are spun out of gold, he’s making the LW uncomfortable (as he should – someone who ignores your no needs to be put on notice). She has every right to have her boundaries respected and every right to cut off contact with this guy despite any hurt feelings on his part. Her comfort trumps his hurt feelings.

      23. LBH, me, too! How did this guy go from an old family friend who asked the LW out to a crazy stalker dead set on killing her? What? He asked her out. She’s now embarrassed. She doesn’t want to see him anymore, but hasn’t told him that yet. And now we’re advising her to do the following:

        1. Get a restraining order

        2. Document all communication he has with her to use as evidence.

        3. Tell his family and friends that he’s a creeper who is stalking her.

        4. Tell her neighbors that he’s dangerous and to be on the look out.

        5. Change her email, twitter and facebook passwords.

        6. Be afraid. Be very, very, very afraid.

        An old, trusted friend asked the LW out and she said no, people. That’s it. And now she’s in the awkward position of not wanting to be his friend anymore because it’s “embarrassing” that he has feelings for her and she doesn’t want to have to tell him that, but he’s just not picking up on her hints. If this guy was a habitual weirdo or was crossing inappropriate boundaries with the LW, she’d have (a) mentioned it; (b) probably not have been friends with him for nearly 20 years and (c) not have extended an open invitation to her home to him for most of those years. He’s not a stalker just because he had the audacity to ask the LW out and still wants to maintain their friendship. He’s an old friend who is now not picking up on the fact that the LW wants to end their decades-long friendship, primarily because she hasn’t actually told him that she does. Let’s start with the actual communication first.

      24. lets_be_honest says:

        Omg, when you break it down like that it sounds even more laughable!

        People are writing in with stalker stories about some guy they met once who then actually stalked them. Are we really not able to see the massive differences here?! And yea, if he was actually a really creepy stalker type, LW would’ve mentioned it.

        Its like if I gave you blueberries for breakfast every day and you took them happily, only to come back years later and tell me I tried to kill you because you were allergic but never once told me…

      25. bittergaymark says:

        And women wonder why many guys don’t ask them out… They wonder why guys get scared and what could possibly be holding them back…

      26. lets_be_honest says:

        You know, I really didn’t want to make what I felt was an obvious and glaring comparison to “boys who cry wolf”…

      27. bittergaymark says:

        This does have a lot to do with why people often don’t take women who have REAL stalkers very seriously. Because we’ve simply been bombarded with hilariously overblown “stalker” tales in the past and now just go… “Uh-huh, yeah. Sure. Whatever…”

      28. lets_be_honest says:

        Hey, you said it, not me. 🙂

      29. bittergaymark says:

        I’ll take the bullet here, sure.

      30. This plus the fact that I’m batting 1000 for head case, game players…I know not all women are like that but jeez…my odds are not good, haha.

      31. clarification – that only includes the women I have met since my last LTR

      32. bittergaymark says:

        There always is another, as of yet, untried option… 😉

      33. I seriously don’t get it Budj, what kind of Outer Limits type place do you live in? Not only are you super duper handsome, but you play in a really cool band, have a college degree and a job, seem to be super knowledgeable about loads of things and are tight with your family. If you were here, yenta Lili has 10 women she’d LOVE for you to meet. Each one of these girls is top grade a wife material.

      34. lol thanks Lili. It is most likely the area and working in science makes it hard to meet young women through work. Everyone here marries quickly.

        Lots of families live here…loads of high populated schools…but that isn’t my age bracket and most of the kids my age are doing the big city thing or just found employment elsewhere. If I ever get laid off and my band dies out I will highly consider a relocation.

    5. Yeah, I don’t really see him as a stalker–more of someone who is being needy and appears creepy. But he also shows some controlling behavior with the LW, so I think it has scared her, which is justifiable, because she is the one who is increasingly worried. It may be irrational, but likely it’s her intuition telling her to place an extra guard around this guy. It’s very likely he is not harmful and dangerous to her (based on statistics), but because she *feels* that way, it’s important for her to follow extra precautions mentioned here (as necessary). It’s hard to tell what is really going on here, but I think it’s all about one’s perception of his/her own safety, not what others deem as safe or not safe.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Excellent comment.

      2. I heard a quote that said “there is a fine line between snuggling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.” It is hard to know where the line is.

      3. Haha, I love that quote.

    6. I totally agree that this guy is probably harmless. They say that relationships are push and pull. So if someone is pulling back, the other naturally tries to cover the distance. I think this girl needs to learn to be strong and confront this hard. I feel like everyone has had to learn how to deal with tough, uncomfortable situations.

      But, I think she shouldn’t test this either. She shouldn’t think it is probably nothing and let this go on. She needs to put on her big girl panties and deal with this. say no means no and confront this assertively just like you are saying here.

    7. I agree with you that calling him a stalker is quite the overreaction. I don’t think SHE’S decided he’s a stalker, though; I think Wendy and a lot of the comments have decided that. I think she needs to do what some people have been saying in other posts: actually tell him that she doesn’t want a relationship anymore because he makes her uncomfortable and exhausted. She needs to listen to her gut but crying stalker when he isn’t being one will only make it that much harder if he becomes one. So tell him to leave her alone and THEN act on a lot of the suggestions if he doesn’t listen.

    8. bittergaymark says:

      I will say, that yeah, if you spend hours and hours talking to somebody who was always welcome in your house for years and years, it seems a wee bit disingenuous to be surprised that this person might come to like you. And if somebody spent hours and hours talking to me, yeah, I might assume that they like me…

      This letter is strange. And everybody’s reaction to it is even more interesting…

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        The only thing stranger is us agreeing so much lately.

      2. bittergaymark says:

        Indeed. For some reason, I would have guessed you’d have swung the other way on this issue. Then again, with your legal background, your stance here makes a lot of sense.

      3. DW Twilight Zone!! Can we all disagree about something soon?! Those days are kinda fun too 😉 But for now, I enjoy all the food talks which turn into pornoish chats.

      4. ele4phant says:

        Me too! I feel like I usually always agree with BGM. But not today.

        As someone who’s admittedly never been stalked, I none-the-less feel she’s not being stalked. The guy seems awkward and blind to unspoken social cues, but he’s abiding by the boundaries she sets for him. I think a genuine stalker would not do that.

        She has every right to demand additional boundaries or to rescale their friendship down (or get rid of it entirely), but I don’t feel he’s behaving towards her in a threatening manner.

      5. bittergaymark says:

        Huh? It seems today we are in agreement…

      6. I think she meant she usually disagrees with you…. Stupid typos.

      7. ele4phant says:

        Yes yes, today we agree. Usually we do not.

      8. 6napkinburger says:

        Same here! I’m not sure BGM and I have EVER agreed. And I do here, especially with LBH above. Tell him that you don’t want to see him anymore.

        No one’s ever said to a good friend “Come on!!! You cancelled 4 times in a row and I miss you!! Let’s go out!!” before without being a manipulator?

        Though I’ll give the caveat — if she feels uncomfortable, she should feel free take reasonable steps to make herself feel more comfortable as long as it does not unfairly malign him. If an extra lock would make her feel better, then go for it.

        Not to mention that there is no chance of her getting a restraining order based on what she has written.

      9. I do agree with you BGM, there are many people who, thinking they don’t wanna be rude on the one hand, can end up unintentionally misleading others. Whenever I’ve felt unwanted interest from a friend, I’m always kind but upfront about my feelings, and I’ll watch my body language as well. Being rather developed at a young age, I quickly learned how to “turn on the ice” so to speak, (no lingering eye contact, no convo that can be misconstrued, not flirting, and of course, the ass-out-back-pat hug!) In other words, I won’t be a dick tease! When nipped in the bud right away, it saves everyone from unnecessary stress or hurt. 98% of the time, I’ve remained friends with exes or crushes by being up front.

    9. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I totally agree with you, LBH. The LW hasn’t told him what she wants exactly, so she can’t expect him to be a mind reader. He’s doing exactly what he thinks is appropriate right now, and as someone else said, he’s probably freaking out that he might be losing a friend after confessing his feelings, so he’s overcompensating. I just can’t demonize this guy for over-stepping boundaries when he was never told what those boundaries were in the first place.

      LW, figure out what you actually want with him, tell him that EXACTLY (no hoping that he gets the “hint” allowed), and if he persistently breaks the rules, THEN you get worried and take the situation seriously.

  14. Avatar photo caitie_didnt says:

    I’m betting that the first thing this guy will do once you send him a letter ceasing contact (which you absolutely should do) is start showing up at your work. So once you send the letter, change your phone number and advise friends and family of the situation and that under no circumstances should John be given your new number. If you don’t have caller ID, get it now, just in case. If you have security at your workplace, tell them what’s going on- maybe even bring them a picture of John and a description of his car/license plate. If you have an administrative assistant or something at your office, they should also know that no calls or visits from him are allowed. Although you might not have enough documented information to get a restraining order yet, if you file a report with the police and include the letter you send, you can update the file with any subsequent phone calls/drive-bys/emails/work visits so that you have documented evidence if the need for a restraining order arises.

    1. Perfect advice. You need to make your network of family, friends, and coworkers aware of the situation and proceed as Caitie advised. Also, you might want to change your important passwords and make a new email that he does not have, ensuring that anyone you know will not give it to him. Then keep the old one to record any emails he sends you. He could, at some point, try breaking into your accounts or email, so it’s good to be proactive about the passwords and such.

  15. I have never posted on this website, but I had a friend go through something very similar recently and I had to respond. I am not sure if this guy is a stalker-it probably depends on if he can respect her saying no firmly. It sounds like he stopped popping in unannounced which makes me feel that he isn’t a stalker, but incredibly misguided. I would probably start with a discussion on the phone where I told him that I need a break from our friendship for a month and explicitly tell him that means no visits or phone calls because this friendship is too overwhelming. If he then leaves her alone for a month, he’s most likely not a stalker and she can redefine her friendship boundary lines with him at the end of the month. If he doesn’t, then she needs to take the advice above and cut off all contact. My friend ended up with a stalker that was his old roommate and his biggest problem was that he kept trying to reason with her even after the point where she was clearly crossing major lines. No contact has to mean no contact at all.

  16. All I would tell this LW is to watch any of the real life re-telling crime shows… The ones where they explain how the crime happened and how they caught the guy and everything. Almost always they were “family friends” or “old aquantinces” or whatever… And it is a fact that most guns bought for protection are used against family members… Ect. So don’t think violence is beneath this guy just because you’ve known him forever.

    And also, it doesn’t matter if someone is a family member, old friend, or if you met them 5 minutes ago. If they creep you out, take steps to protect yourself.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      “…most guns bought for protection are used against family members.” I totally do not believe that. Most people who buy guns for protection do not end up turning them on their family members. I could believe it if you had said “most guns that are bought for protection and used against someone are used against family members.” Most of those guns end up sitting in a gun cabinet or someone’s night stand drawer.

      1. Yea, as lili pointed out, there have been some alarming studies done…

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Katie, Lili’s studies are very different from what you said. See my above reply to Lili.

      3. The suicide increase alone makes me never want to own guns or live in a home where guns are present. I mean, I’m not trying to be political, I just find it terrifying to think that a weapon of destruction is just kept at home. And who knows what deadly combo of depression, pills, drinks etc can drive a person to end their life with a gun so easily accessible. Suicide in other manners are options as well, but the gun, its just…so permanent. The gift of fear-our book of the day-actually talks about the two boys who shot themselves in the church yard after listening to a lot of death metal. Honestly, I thought that the suit their families brought against Judas Priest was a little bit of a reach, why not sue the gun maker? Oh thats right, its not going to get far with all the Anti Gun Control politicos.

      4. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Haha, Lili, I respect that you fear guns. I can understand that. But most people who own guns go about their lives without any extra issues from them. My family has about twelve guns, and they’ve only ever been used for hunting, target practice, and shooting the moles and rabbits that tear up our garden. They’ve allowed us to protect our livelihood because they protect our garden from animals that harm it, and they’ve allowed us to eat meat when we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford it. At all other times, they are locked up in a safe place, and it is a privilege to know where the key is. Only my parents and myself know where the key is. My mentally unstable brother does not. When I was suicidal some years ago while I still lived with them, the guns were removed from the house. Also, no one is allowed to touch the guns until they have a thorough (and extreme) gun safety lecture. My dad uses his former Marine scary voice to drive gun safety into everyone, and if you prove that you can’t follow even one of the rules, you’re no longer even allowed around while other people are using them. They serve a very important purpose, but yes, it takes some extra steps to ensure safety with guns.

      5. Yeah, I think I’m a little scarred by the shootings we had recently by a mentally unstable man who shot and killed quite a few people.

        Sorry to hear you were suicidal, but glad your parents took steps to protect you and removed them entirely!

      6. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That is really scary, Lili! I can understand why you would be shaken up by that. Incidentally, if I read that story, I never would have even made a connection that the gun was the problem there. I would have blamed the man’s instability and not thought a second over the gun-ownership. This conversation is really interesting to me since we both have such different immediate reactions to the topic. It’s like I’m learning about a new culture!

        And the suicidal thing – it’s fine really. I never would have used a gun anyway, because I didn’t want my parents to blame themselves. My plan was something that would have looked like an accident (though I won’t post it here because there’s no reason to give anyone else any ideas). But either way, my point was that it does take some conscious thought to remember that guns are a risk and to take precautions at all times.

      7. Lifeswap!! Haha no really it’d be interesting I bet for you to go hang with my sorority sister girl friends and pay for ridic pricey ‘gourmet’ drink concoctions while trying to be seen by the one straight guy who’s cute and single at this week’s IT bar. And then attending a ‘social justice anti rape culture’ talk another night and eating whatever healthy (but not tasty 🙁 ) vegetarian food my friend Dee is making me eat. Then doing yoga and bootcamp. All this living tires me out, that is why sundays (or saturdays too, it just depends on my other plans) becomes my day to pamper myself and my skin, watch bad tv and sip wine at home while flipping through all the fashion mags and us weeklies I haven’t read. Muumuu is optional, since its kinda hot now.

        And I want to be small town southern for a week.

      8. bittergaymark says:

        Yeah, if I had a gun in the apartment the past few months there is a very good chance I wouldn’t still be here…

      9. Rather than conferring protection, guns in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance. Source: Arthur L. Kellerman et al., “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home,” 329 New Eng. J. Med. 1084 (1993).


        Living in a home where there are guns increases the risk of homicide by 40 to 170% and the risk of suicide by 90 to 460%. Source: Garen J. Wintemute, “Guns, Fear, the Constitution, and the Public’s Health,” 358 New England J. Med. 1421-1424 (April 3, 2008)


      10. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I won’t argue that it increases the risk of homicide and suicide. That’s obviously true. But I DO take issue with the statement that most guns that are bought for protection are used against a family member. Those are two VERY different statements.

        Let me put it in perspective a bit: Almost every family I know owns guns for protection (Seriously, I might know two families without them out of the hundreds that I know). Out of all of those people, a couple of them have had family issues where the guns became involved. Everyone else’s guns just sit there waiting to be used, or they also use them for hunting or target practice. So in a completely non-scientific evaluation, 2 families out of hundreds certainly does not make up “most” of the guns bought for protection. Katie’s statement erroneously suggested that most of the guns intended for protection (spanning almost every family in the South, many in the Midwest, and lots in other places too) end up being turned against a family member. Most families do not turn their guns on each other, and most guns are not used against loved ones. That’s just absurd.

      11. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Maybe that wasn’t clear. Hypothetically, let’s say that Katie’s statement is true. That would mean that all of these families (seriously, almost EVERYONE in the South) are pointing guns at each other, even multiple times in order to mean that most guns are used that way. Considering that the vast majority of us don’t do that, her statement can’t be true. But you’re definitely right that guns increase violent crimes. Of the people that DO use them against others (again, not the majority of families who own guns), it is much easier for them to harm someone than it is for someone without a gun. But considering how many people own guns and don’t point them at each other, the increased danger from owning guns is still found within a small population of people who do own guns. Not the majority of gun-owners OR the majority of guns that are owned.

      12. I see your point, and I’ll also concede that your sample is (hopefully!) a segment of society where violence within the family is rare as well. But what about with the DV victims you worked with? How many of them had family owned guns used against them? I’m forgetting what the stats were here at the shelter I worked with…but I think it was a common factor if the couple owned guns, which admittedly is more rare in Seattle than where you live I’m sure.

      13. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I have had a few clients who’ve been shot by their significant others. But even within the DV community, that’s an extreme reaction. I mean, most domestic violence in my experience isn’t intended to kill or permanently injure, like with a gunshot. The majority of the domestic violence I’ve worked with hasn’t been that extreme. I would most definitely assume that a large portion of my clients have guns in their homes, but not many of them are used that way. And yeah, you and I are from VERY different parts of the country. In the South, it’s much easier to see that guns are frequently used very safely. In a place like Seattle where they’re rare, I’m guessing not many people just own them for the sake of owning them, so it changes the composition of the gun-owning community.

      14. I wish there was some sort of like ‘life swap’ program people could sign up for. I would LOVE to live a week in the life of ‘theattack’ and i’m sure it’d be interesting for you to see what my typical work and weekend days are like. Including the same rituals, like you’d have to spend Sunday doing the same intensive skin care stuff I do while sipping sangria and watching some Kardashian show and I’d have to spend it in the typical southern way (i’m guess thats in church). I’m sure we’d both come out of it more broad minded people!

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Haha, That would seriously be amazing! If you ever end up in the South, you HAVE to let me give you a tour of things like our potlucks and get-togethers so you can see Southern-style “etiquette” in action! I’ll let you avoid the guns though, since that does seem to bother you.

        I would LOVE to visit Seattle! I always thought it would be a good fit for me because I’m very much a liberal rebel down here. If I ever take my dream trip up there, I’ll be paying you a visit!

      16. I’ll touch the gun, but only if you have on hand a psychologist to handle any trauma I might feel and a medic team in case I shoot someone since i’m the worlds klutziest person-seriously, I don’t own many sharp knives and I only buy pre-sliced everything. Oh dear, I’m sounding like my high maintenance self. Which would defeat the lifeswap purpose of becoming a better person…hmm.

      17. i love that you guys brought up the different “cultures” thing.. i think that is such a HUGE part of why guns get mis-used so much..

        so i have lived in the country and in the city, and there is a marked difference in the thought of guns.. like theattack said, in the country, guns are a tool. they are used on the farm as a tool. and then in the city, guns are looked at as a death-bringer to humans. thats it. their only use is to kill another person… ive seen those attitudes many times in the places i have lived, and i think it plays a huge difference in why what happens, happens. obviously, there will be people in the city who can have guns safely, and there will be people in the country who kill each other with them, but i think that those different outlooks on the use of guns does play a role, and it was definitely interesting to see them actually played out by people I knew..

      18. 6napkinburger says:

        You guys are talking past each other.

        Let’s define “use” as fired in the vicinity of a human for non-hunting reasons.

        Let’s define the world of guns we are talking about as guns that are purchased to for protection.

        Premise 1: Most such guns are NOT USED (ever). (theattack’s point – they sit in drawers).
        Premise 2: Most guns that are USED are used against family members. (Lilli’s underlying point; theattack’s actual point).

        If a gun is not used, it can not be used against a family member. Thus, most guns are not used against family members. However, premise 2 can still be true in this scenario.

        You are just saying it differently (and some less carefully than others.)

      19. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Haha, Yes, thank you, 6napkin. Do you ever have days where you have a really good point but can’t really connect the points into words clearly?

      20. Nice mediation! Btw this made me think of the idiom: all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs 🙂

  17. BipperBopper says:

    This is my first time commenting, but this letter really resonated with me. LW, you need to be very careful handling this situation, Wendy is completely right. Things can escalate very quickly. You need to let everyone in your life know what is going on, and cut off all contact with him. If he continues to contact you, I recommend getting a restraining order. That feeling of discomfort you have is your body telling you that something is wrong!

    I had a stalker who I was trying to be nice to (we had dated off and on), and he would often show up at my house uninvited, and either angry or in tears. He hit me with his car once, because he was angry with me! Finally, I found out he was trying to convince my friends and family that I was suicidal, and even called 911 to report that I had attempted suicide. I spent a night in the hospital, trying to convince everyone that I hadn’t eaten a bottle of Vicodin. The very next day I went and got a restraining order. I didn’t know how easy it was to get one. At least in my state, they have domestic violence counselors at the courthouse who walk you through every step of the process. Everyone was so helpful, from the counselor, to the judge, to the police officer who served him with the paperwork.

    I just wish that I had gotten a RO sooner, before all the trauma I went through with him. They explained to me that the excessive phone calls and showing up at my house uninvited at random times would have been enough to warrant a RO. To get a temporary RO, you often don’t even have to go to court, a judge will interview you privately before signing the order. If you want to make it permanent, you will have to go to court, but the counselor should be able to recommend free or low-cost legal services available in your state. I ended up with a totally free, experienced attorney who handled my case very well. I didn’t even have to testify! She just spoke with my stalker’s lawyer, who acquiesced to her demands (she said we had a pretty strong case, and I had several witnesses) and the judge signed the permanent restraining order, and I’ve only had a couple of encounters with the bastard in almost two years.

    Please be safe, and good luck!

    1. Becareful, once you start commenting it gets addicting!

  18. lets_be_honest says:

    Re: restraining orders generally – It always surprises me how people think these are so useful. Do you really think that a piece of paper is really going to stop a dangerous person who wants to hurt you? Someone you deem so terrifying that you will get a restraining order against them. I’m curious what the stats are on how many times the fact that the victim got one and it pissed off the person so much that they increased their violent behavior.
    I understand its just a precaution with a threat of possible, very minimal jailtime, but I don’t think they are effective most of the time. Maybe I’ve just read too many articles or cases about women who have been killed by someone they have a restraining order against.

    1. BipperBopper says:

      I used to think the same thing, until the day I needed one. As it was explained to me, I could have him arrested for something as small as sending me (and a short list of friends, family and co-workers) an e-mail. And that’s the same way it was explained to him. Then again, my stalker was very susceptible to the pressure of public opinion (before everything went down, everyone thought he was the nicest, most polite person), so I could see how the threat of being arrested would get to him. Also, he moved back in with his parents, and I’m sure they contributed to quashing his behavior.

      Honestly, a piece of paper isn’t going to protect you from a stalker, but it sets it up so that the police WILL take action immediately. It’s actually pretty amazing, how different the police treat the situation, once you have a restraining order.

      1. I also feel that obtaining restraining orders (or cease-and-desist letters, or whatever) won’t prevent an obsessed and dangerous and committed person from harming you. However, they do help to differentiate the ‘real’ stalkers from the ‘accidental’ stalkers. Occasionally someone really doesn’t quite get the boundaries, or thinks they are starring in a romantic drama when they throw stones up at your balcony window, and have no intention to harm you. They just need a reality check, and a little shake of the shoulders to say, “This behavior is not normal or appropriate”.
        If you file some sort of order or let someone know you’ve contacted/filed with the police, and they react by immediately backing off, apologizing, or hanging their head in shame, and changing their ways, congrats, you’ve got an ‘accidental stalker’. I’m not trying to condone their behavior or lessen it. A relatively normal/stable person would respond to the intervention of authorities with fear and submission.
        If after official action of some kind, you get even one phone call, or catch them anywhere near you, then you know you are dealing with a different kind of stalking: the kind where you abandon your home and job and f*cking run, or get squad cars parked in front of your house, etc.

        In the sense that it may clarify his seriousness/sanity a bit for you, it’s worth getting, having a better gauge of any situation will bring you peace of mind and the power to figure out your next moves.

    2. This, I agree with– I think everybody has given sound, well-informed advice, but unfortunately, I don’t know how effective a cease-and-desist letter or restraining order would be in real life. If his response was to INCREASE communication after her first rejection (when he professed romantic feelings), I can only imagine he’d double advances once told “officially” to stop contacting her.

      LW, does he not speak with your brother at all? If you tell your brother about John’s disturbing behavior, maybe he could step up & tell him to chill out? It sounds like John doesn’t have much going on in his life & has become unhealthily fixated on you.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        See, I have to defend the increase in hanging out after the romantic rejection. She didn’t reject him as a friend too and say I’d like to never see you again. So I’m really not seeing why everything thinks that’s what should’ve happened. Am I the only person who can remain friends with someone after rejected love?
        Everyone is just assuming that he will triple his “stalking” if she says stop calling me. Why? We have zero proof of that. All we know at this point is that she has NEVER told him to not contact her.

      2. I guess it’s hard to believe, based on his behavior pattern, that this guy is just casually all “I still want to be friends, though!” He gets sulky and emotional whenever she says she’s busy or can’t talk. I’d assume that he’d at least try to play it more cool, especially after a romantic rejection. But he’s not– it shows a lack of control, which is worrisome.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        At most I’d say sure, this guy is clingy (just like, cough-cough, many of our LWs). I don’t think clingy people are stalkers though. And wanting to still be friends after a romantic rejection doesn’t tell me he lacks control.

      4. Not to belabor the point, but…clingy people DO become stalkers. What we think of as typical “clingy” behavior can easily teeter over into “stalker” territory, depending on how unstable the person already is.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Agreed, but not always (which is what you said). When this guy demostrates actual stalker behavior, go for a R.O.

      6. camorzilla says:

        Um, yeah it’s VERY hard to believe.

      7. I’m with Fabelle. If I professed feelings for someone and they rejected me, I’d want to lay low for a while and try to be casual (even though I’d probably end up being totally awkward). I’m not saying I couldn’t remain friends with the person, but I’d take a step back.

        That his response was to iniate MORE contact – calling her more, wanting to come over more – has an off vibe about it. And the part about him trying to persuade her to let him come over, sure, I’ve tried to talk someone into something “hey, let’s go to a movie… come on…. it’ll be fun….” But I don’t get “emotional” if the other person really doesn’t want to. I might be dissappointed but I’m not going to sulk about it.

        Whether he’s “just” clingy or veering into possessive stalker territory may just be a matter of degree. Either way, if he’s making the LW uncomfortable he needs to be told in very clear terms that his attention is no longer welcome. If her telling him isn’t enough, then yes, she needs to step up to certified mail and then possibly even a restraining order. I don’t think she needs to jump right to that, but she should understand the steps in case it does get to that point.

    3. this is very true… and i wonder about the stats as well. i guess though you could apply this to anything- why do you think that something as silly as a law is going to stop everyone from doing X? which is a true statement, because people break laws everyday…

      i do think (or atleast hope..?) that if a restraining order is used and then some act of violence is committed, the penalty is more severe.. it goes from breaking and entering to violating a restrainging order while breaking and entering or something… also, i would hope that having a restraining order would sway a judge to be harsher on the bad guy, because he would be able to see that the victim has actually taken steps to protect themselves..

    4. For sure, it can be a bit of a crapshoot. Gavin de Becker has a part in the book Gift of Fear about which kind of creeper-types can actually be scared off by a restraining order and which it will encourage to up the ante. It doesn’t help that in some areas they are poorly enforced.

    5. What I was told by a police officer after dealing with a year of harassing behavior from an ex-friend, is that keeping a record of everything and filing police reports comes in handy for if/when violence does actually occur. That way, they’ll have someone to at least go after. It makes it less likely he will hurt her and get away with it.

      Also, I was told by the same officer that I needed to make reports on everything because “What happens when she has you in a corner, and you kill her in self defense? The police don’t know she’s been harassing you. You go to jail.” – this is a different situation, obviously, but that’s what I was told.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        YES! It makes it less likely that he will hurt her and get away with it. Not that he won’t hurt her, but just that they will know who killed her if she turns up dead. That’s not that comforting to me. But it is something I guess.

    6. After a quick google search:

      If you don’t have time to read the articale, it says that they are in fact effective, especially in cases where it is easier to obtain them. So, restraining orders, while not perfect, are useful for many reasons. Including the intended one.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I said there was a purpose served, but my point was that if someone truly wants to bring harm on another, a piece of paper isn’t going to stop them, in fact, it may even piss them off more.

      2. That’s true; I’m not arguing with you there. But you said you were curious about the stats of how often they incite violence. While this only deals with that in a round-about way, it does speak to how effective they are at decreasing communication and violence, statistically. A lot of people in the comments are saying they’re close to useless (not saying you are, but some people are), and that’s just not true, statistically speaking.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Agree. They can serve a purpose, and I wouldn’t tell someone NOT to get one unless they really believe this person will retaliate (at which point they should document this anyway, and contact the police about it).

      4. I totally agree with you on all points 1-that he’s not really a stalker, just kinda creppy/icky and 2-that restraining orders against guys like him (not threatening physical violence, but making the person uncomfortable) are pointless because ‘the system’ is SO over run (in big cities anyway) of actual cases of violence that most of the police force will have little manpower to help enforce. BUT, i’ll defend all the people out there advocating them because getting one is like an added sense of security. it may be a false sense of security, but its there. We do a number of essentially pointless things in our daily life that make us ‘feel better’ but have little to do with actually being safe. Personally, I trust my gut A LOT. And the minute a person I just met says something off putting (like gays are gross or I think everyone should carry weapons at all times) I tend to abruptly end the conversation and move on. I thought this was common, but after observing some girlfriends interacting with (in my opinion) super creepy men, I realized that everyone is not in fact like me who writes off creeps ASAP. I wish I could empower more women to feel ok in saying NO thanks. And walking away at the first instinct. But, we’re all socialized to be nice and agreeable, so its an uphill battle.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh no, sounds like you are about to say be careful when you go out drinking! Sorry, I had to.
        Totally agree with what you’re saying.

      6. Hahaha! The only thing I ever say is Have Fun 🙂 But who knows, maybe some of my friends find the whole talking to and then rejecting the creeps ‘fun’ HA.

    7. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I’ve worked in a domestic violence shelter, and trust me, the orders of protection DID just piss off the abusers in almost all of the cases.

      There’s also a section about this in The Gift of Fear (which is interesting, because a lot of the same people who recommend that book are overlooking this majorly important part of it). These orders are only helpful against people who already have a respect for the law. If they are generally rebels, or don’t care about the rules, then it’s not going to help at all, and it’s just going to make them angry. As you can imagine, most abusers are not exactly law-abiding citizens unless they missed the part that assault or stalking is illegal.

  19. I agree with Wendy. And with the others who say to let him know that you don’t plan to have any contact anymore. I do think he’s super creepy, but there are clingy guys who don’t realize they are being so menacing. So, if this can be resolved by him thinking, “Wow, she’s serious,” then it’ll save a lot of energy and worry. I also say this because the LW doesn’t really mention any serious talks about his behavior beyond pretending to be busy, so maybe all he needs is to be told.

  20. Jessibel5 says:

    WWS. Especially the “This guy is NOT your friend” part.

    The only thing that makes me nervous though about cutting off all contact with the guy from now on though is that if you do find it necessary to get a restraining order, you might need irrefutable proof that he’s harrassing you. I’d strongly suggest that you call the police and ask to speak to a detective, tell him/her the story and ask what they think regarding one final contact (dated, preferably an e-mail) letting John know that you would like him to stop contacting you and dropping by. This will most likely enrage the guy, but then at least there can be no doubt as to the fact that you are being harrassed because you asked him to stop and he continued. That may make it easier to get a restraining order, and even if the detective says no, don’t send a final email, then you’d at least have documentation that you called a detective to speak about it (they will write up documentation).

    This happened to me in HS, where this guy who sat behind me in math class and I had mutual friends. My best friend was over at his house one day and saw that this guy, who at first they just thought had a crush on me, had a mini shrine to me in his bedroom, with pictures of me from yearbooks and the local paper and school paper on the wall above his desk. I wasn’t popular in HS, so at first I was flattered, but it quickly got creepy. He was talking about asking me to prom, and when my best friend said “Dude, I really don’t think she’ll go to prom with you” he destroyed his bedroom, tearing down posters and throwing chairs and stuff. I was told this and TERRIFIED. Luckily, my dad’s best friend is a detective (and was a cop at the time) and he would make sure he was around the school every day at the end of the schoolday to make sure I was getting where I needed to go without this guy harrassing me. The guy apparently had a thing for freshman girls though, because when I became a sophomore, he abandoned his crush on me and started obsessing over a new freshman. When I was a junior, he abandoned that now sophomore girl and found interest in another freshman. Nothing bad ever happened, but until he left for college, the town police definitely had him on their radar just in case.

  21. I don’t know what to say. While I think Wendy’s advice has a bit of an alarmist approach, I hope the LW does take this advice seriously if he does not listen when you cut off all communication.

    More often than not, he will back down, but there are times when that won’t work. And then, and only then do I think one should even consider an order of protection or a restraining order. I’ve been stalked by 3 guys before, and I’ve never gone to the point of filing a restraining order. The important part is documenting things, telling security and people you interact with about the situation, and telling the police what has been happening–without filing any orders of protecion. I also know someone who was killed by her ex boyfriend when she got a restraining order–it’s rare, but doing something that provokes is not a good idea in my opinion. And realize that police are not as helpful as you may think in these cases, so I wouldn’t rely on filing a restraining order as your final chess move.

    The problem with how you’re currently handling the situation LW is that you’ve already given him too much control. You told him you would prefer he asks for permission to come over. Instead of him seeing that as you not wanting him to come over at all, he sees that as a loophole in your boundaries to continue to bother you even more. And for this work, you need to cut off all communication, and don’t give in to that under any circumstances. And since he knows where you live, if you feel that it’s still escalating at that point, there is nothing wrong with letting a neighbor know what is going on or even asking the police for extra surveillance of the neighborhood. But really, once you stop paying attention to this guy’s antics, he will very most likely stop. It no longer becomes satisfying for him. It’s the rare, crazy cases where the guy doesn’t stop that gets all the attention, so don’t let that scare you. And don’t play into his emotions if he starts getting more worked up and emotional. People like this love to convince someone that they only want one more minute to talk, or they just need to see you one last time. But don’t fall for any of that. It can be hard sometimes, but just remember to keep ignoring, and eventually it will go away. If not, then you should definitely consider talking to the police for a next step of what to do.

    1. Jessibel5 says:

      Oooh, great advice, about letting a neighbor know! Then maybe they’ll check on you every once in a while.

  22. I’m not sure I understand this – if you don’t LIKE John why have you put up with him all this time? If you want nothing to do with him then do what the other posters have said – send the letter/email telling him the friendship is over and to stay away. If you actually like John as a person but want him to dial it all the way back then meet him for coffee somewhere public and tell him your relationship has to change. You are only prepared to be a friend to him – not his best or only friend. Tell him what that means in practical terms – you’ll see him twice a month (outside of your home is best if he has feelings for you) and email weekly or whatever you are comfortable with – and let him know that if he can’t abide by the terms then you have to part ways – that this is all you have room in your life for now.
    It seems odd to me that you would spend as much time as you have together without getting something of value from the relationship yourself but if all you have been is held hostage all this time then get out, document any infractions and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Otherwise set the boundaries you need to set and enforce them.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I like this 🙂

    2. Jessibel5 says:

      I have a “friend” (coincidentally named John) who I can’t stand anymore, but still engage in conversation with him because I feel terrible just cutting off all communication. He’s whiny, annoying as hell, and says inappropriate things, and thinks he’s the next big thing, and obsesses over girls and writes them into his screenplays/poems/songs, which he’s convinced are going to get him movie deals. But he’s had a horrible life and I just really feel terrible being just yet again another person to abandon him. I know I should cut ties, but I just feel awful about it, so I can understand where the letter writer’s coming from on this one. She mentioned that they have a long history and he had some bad stuff happen to him too, so maybe that’s where she’s coming from. Granted, now that he’s veered into territory that makes her uncomfortable she should kick him to the curb, but, well…yeah. It’s hard.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        This! This is exactly how I am picturing John. Would you call this friend of yours a stalker? No, probably not. But I do agree that if you, or LW, are made to feel uncomfortable, you really should say so and set limits.

      2. Jessibel5 says:

        If he starts obsessing over me and putting me as a character in his screenplays, then yeah, I probably would get super creeped out 😛

        But then again, this guy doesn’t show up at my house unannounced (or even know where I live, for that matter) or call me multiple times a week. If he did that, then yeah, I’d probably call him a stalker, or at least say he was venturing into stalker territory.

        He’s mostly annoying, but he did make me feel very uncomfortable once when I got engaged. He kept writing things on Facebook about how come he hasn’t met the guy and he needs to approve and how it’s bittersweet for him because he always thought we’d end up together, and how the next time I visited home I needed to bring the guy by for his approval but we should be careful that my fiance doesn’t leave me and I’ll have to be with him, especially if he tells him about “us”. We had made out ONCE at a party when I first met him like, 10 years prior. It was kind of a veiled threat and made me really uncomfortable at the time.

      3. This is how I picture John too – without social skills. When she said don’t come by – he stopped – and then started calling because he didn’t understand the underlying unspoken message of ‘keep your distance’. It’s true though – if you don’t want someone in your life then put him/her out of it. But at least have a gentle conversation telling him you need to move on before labeling someone a stalker.
        I’ve had friends that were just emotional vampires and really brought nothing to the table and ultimately I faded them out or told them I just don’t have room in my life for them. It does someone no favours in the long term to reinforce bad behaviours they will apply to others as well.

      4. Emotional vampires are the woooooooorst.

      5. Amen

      6. Jessibel5 says:

        Yeah, without more information, he could go either way. Socially awkward vs. stalker, that is. I could see him being unable to understand the social cue of “leave me alone!” because she wasn’t forceful enough.

        It’s like that How I Met Your Mother episode, where they kept saying “I don’t want to be with you….right now” (it was the episode with Carrie Underwood as a pharma rep). They each had people who hung around trying to hang out with them because they never said to them “No, I don’t want to be with you ever!” They felt bad, so they said “I don’t want to be with you…right now” so the people that were following them had hope and kept trying. That is until Marshall made Lily practice saying “NEVER!” to a teacup piglet.

        So if the case is that this guy is just socially awkward and LW doesn’t want this guy around, she needs to tell him in a way that allows for no loopholes. “Call for permission to come over” is a lot different than “stop contacting me!”

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        But for the record, only a heartless asshole would say no to a teacup piglet. Speaking of, I think I just figured out what my 2 month no smoking prize should be!

  23. ReginaRey says:

    LW, someone else mentioned “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker, and I completely second the suggestion that you read it. Not because I think you have a necessarily dangerous situation on your hands, but because I think some of the confusion you feel about how to approach this situation will definitely be alleviated by reading this book.

    The book discusses at length the fact that, especially as women, we tend to try to ignore the uncomfortable gut feelings we often get in order to not appear mean or rude. But the fact that we’re even feeling uncomfortable (or, in more dangerous situations, downright anxiety and fear) is a sign that something isn’t quite right. Subconsciously, you know something is off, even if you haven’t gotten to acknowledging it consciously.

    It also discusses the fact that communication is precisely what stalkers want. Doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative…ANY kind of communication is preferable to none. That’s why, unfortunately, restraining orders often have the opposite effect of what they’re intended to do. A stalker will, in his own warped way, see a restraining order as “See! I have an effect on them. They’re still thinking about me. I get a reaction from this person.”

    The best way to make this behavior go away is to COMPLETELY ignore it. I suspect that may be difficult for you to do, considering the fact that you likely don’t want to appear “mean” or “rude” to this “old family friend.” But the problem is, even if you ignore him *for the most part,* even giving in and allowing him to come over or call you or text you will only teach him the lesson that “OK, so it just takes 30 tries before I get 1 success.” Cut him off completely. Tell your family and friends about what’s going on, and DO NOT respond to ANY communication you receive from him. And if he keeps showing up at your apartment, then you likely will need to contact the authorities. Hopefully he’ll turn his attention to someone else (unfortunately, but that’s just the way it is) when he realizes you’re nothing but a silent, completely incommunicable brick wall.

    And seriously, read that book. People can say that Wendy’s response (and mine) are too severe or too alarmist, but if there was ever a time to be “safe rather than sorry,” this is it.

    1. Addie Pray says:

      How can someone so wise *not* have sex in cars? I don’t get it. You’re an anomoly. A deep, mysterious creature who should — [original thought coming] — definitely become a therapist, for sure. It must be nice to have such a clear calling in life. It’s probably the clear calling I have when my stomach is growling and the cafeteria is open – it feels so nice and anxiety-free. All the other life decisions (for me) have been coming with lots and lots of anxiety lately.

      Anyhoo, I want the world to know that I billed 4.0 hours already today! AP, 1. The Man, 1. My contributions to DW, 0.

    2. ele4phant says:

      I don’t think keeping it in the the back of her mind that this *could* turn into a serious issue is not the same as immediately treating at as those it is.

      I really like some of the comments (particularly Miss J’s) that advise the LW to explicitly lay out to this guy exactly what is okay and what is not. If she does, and he ignores her boundaries, THEN start treating it like a major issue.

  24. LW, this page is also helpful.

    Hopefully you won’t need to go to those extremes, but you really cannot be too careful. Do NOT let this man intimidate you into silently accepting his harassment. You have to show him that you are assertive and willing to take steps to protect yourself. So many women are pushed into awful situations because as a whole, our gender is conditioned to be “nice” to everyone from a young age. You are not a bad person for asserting or protecting yourself.

  25. I’m in the “too little info to call him a stalker” camp. Have you told him what he’s doing makes you feel uncomfortable? That the incessant calling needs to stop? That you want to take a break from the friendship? If not, do it. Tell him he’s making you feel uncomfortable and exhausted. However, it seems like he’s just a lonely, creepy, former family friend from what you’ve written. Hopefully, telling him to leave you alone will, in fact, make him leave you alone.

    IF that doesn’t work or you’ve told him all of this already, THEN you need to follow Wendy’s and many of the other commenters’ advice. Send him a registered letter with one last request to cease all contact. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers about it. Look into getting a restraining order, as they are statistically effective despite what other people have said. Document every time he tries to contact you AFTER YOU TOLD HIM TO STOP.

    He seems lonely and sad with poor social skills from what you’ve written. I know some people like this, and they just don’t realize how creepy they come off until YOU TELL THEM. I also know some emotionally manipulative types like this that could easily morph into a stalker. The reaction you get after you tell him explicitly to back off (which you need to do ASAP) will tell you which type he probably is.

  26. bittergaymark says:

    WWS. Hopefully, the brother can be more help, too… I’d try to be as nice as possible, you know, saying its simply best we cut off all contact as you clearly want more from me than I’m prepared to give… You DON’T want to provoke him and make things worse…

    I gotta admit, though, the word stalker here is not accurate. He’s a huge, huge pest, true. But he’s not shadowing your every move of following you around town. You told him to stop dropping by and now he calls and asks permission to come over? Again, annoying, I imagine. But stalking? No… It simply isn’t that.

    1. SweetsAndBeats says:

      I don’t know about everyone saying he isn’t a stalker. When he was just an old family friend who obviously had too much time on his hands and too few friends, sure, he was just acting like a pest.

      But then he confessed romantic intentions for LW.

      So now, LW has a man who wants to have sex with her, and make her his girlfriend, refusing to stop showing up at her house, and calling her constantly, despite her requests for privacy and respect which he responds to with emotional manipulation.

      That’s stalker-y.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        He never refused to stop showing up. In fact, as soon as she told him not to pop in, he stopped and would call first. She also never said he calls 30 times a day or anything like that, but only a few times a week. Something normal friends do!

      2. bittergaymark says:

        NO, actually he HAS stopped showing up at her house — he stopped after she asked him to call first.

    2. ele4phant says:

      To be fair, we know that sometimes Wendy titles the letters (and it was she who used the term stalker in the response). The LW herself never gives him such a label. It sounds like she wants help figuring out how communicate to him clearer and more reasonable boundaries.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        Yeah, my comments here about the Stalker Label were very much directed at Wendy and the other posters… I think many of you (posters who used the term stalker) REALLY jumped the gun here…

  27. I’m not sure this guy is a stalker, either. He’s a long-time friend who has “popped in” on the LW for nearly 20 years, and she apparently never had a problem with it. From what it appears, she only has a problem with it now because he told her he had romantic feelings for her and she doesn’t return them, so it makes her uncomfortable to be around him, “given how embarrassing it was.” I get that, but that doesn’t make him a stalker for still trying to maintain the exact same friendship they had for 20 years. She’s been trying to pull the friendship fade on him because she’s embarrassed by his feelings for her and, yeah, it sucks for her that he’s not picking up on that. It’s exhausting when someone doesn’t read your mixed signals the way you want them to, i.e. not getting that “call before you come over” really means “don’t call and don’t come over.” And, when you’re embarrassed and annoyed that someone isn’t reading your mind and totally getting it on their own that you just don’t want to see them anymore, I’m sure their confusion can come off as “sulky” and/or “emotional.”

    But, seriously? While, it’s unfortunate for her that she’s going to have to confront the issue head on in what will no doubt be another “embarrassing” conversation, until she tells “John” in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t want to see him, talk to him, or otherwise communicate or hang out for a while (or ever again), I don’t think it’s fair to label him as a stalker or a danger to her.

    And, getting a restraining order without taking that step is just ridiculous. That sort of thing will follow this guy around forever. This isn’t some guy she met 2 months ago who started showing up at her house and where she works. This isn’t some guy she dated and broke up with who is following her around. This is presumably a trusted, and at one time valued, friend that she’s known for 20 years who doesn’t want to let their friendship be ruined because he overstepped the relationship boundary. I think she at least owes him the courtesy of telling him that she doesn’t want to see him anymore before she takes legal action.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Applause! You said it WAY better than when I tried to.

      1. Thanks! I just feel like this is a case of someone writing in for advice as to how to have what will be an inevitably awkward conversation, and it’s turned into this guy possibly plotting to kill her. She doesn’t say she is afraid of him. She doesn’t even say he creeps her out or acts suggestive or hits on her or crosses any lines when they are together. She’s embarrassed about his feelings for her, and exhausted and annoyed that he won’t just take the goddamned hint and stop. calling. her. already, and she wants to know how to get him to stop.

        It’s simple, really. Tell him to stop. Straight-up, plain and simple: “‘John’, I know we have been friends for a long time, but your recent confession that you want more has made me uncomfortable with maintaining our friendship at the level it has been, and I’d appreciate it if you gave me my space for a while.” And then specify what you mean by “space” and “a while.” Nothing is going to make it less uncomfortable, because it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but the LW will feel better when she does it and gets it over with.

        And, if she tells him to stop and he doesn’t, then she should proceed to the steps others have mentioned because that’s where he crosses the line. But, good lord, telling her family (his friends, too) that he told her he had feelings for her and that she’s cutting off all contact with him and that he’s making her uncomfortable and getting neighbors and police and restraining orders involved at this point seems like overkill. Much overkill.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Out of how many comments did it take for someone (you) to give the advice she actually wrote in about…great advice miss mj. I’m sure it isn’t easy to have a convo like that with a long term friend, but its necessary if she wants to end/alter the friendship.

      3. bittergaymark says:

        I agree. Mosts of the posts in thread are simply absurd. Good advice, Miss MJ.

    2. Addie Pray says:

      Oh, those are all good points. LW, follow this advice. If he is still showing up after you were clear and direct — and you really need to be clear and direct about what you want from him (you want “no call and no come over,” not “call before you come over”), then we can talk about stalker laws.

      1. What Addie Said! SO what was for lunch today? And any more sexy emails with the mortgage guy?!

      2. just a swinging limp dick gif.

      3. I’m still waiting for my video of that btw.

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Budj, I can’t stop picturing you doing this…. The image makes me laugh.

        Lili, lunch today was delicious and random: spicy tuna maki, steak/risotta soup, beef lasagne and rice, greek salad, … and, to go, a cookie and a cup of freshly cut fruit (strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, grapes, and melon). And I was “good” because I ate with a coworker so I didn’t do what I usually do, which is eat a whole plate there and then take a whole plate back to my office. Oh, and I had an English muffin with peanut butter and honey around 9 am. MY SUITS ARE FEELING TIGHT. MY SPANXX DOES NOT HAVE SUPER POWERS; IT CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH.

        Re: the mortgage lender, WELL, we exchanged a few emails this morning about another condo I saw and he did some research for me to tell me what the rule is re: new construction and commercial space and blah blah – it was helpful and very nice. So I told him he is the BEST lender I’ve ever had. Then he told me I was the best attorney he had ever had. … So it got kind of inneresting.

      5. as long as in this image my wang is like 9″ limp.

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        8.5. Not bad, not bad.

      7. bittergaymark says:

        Wait, it isn’t?

      8. There goes the end of BGMbudJ 🙁 I’m sorry I couldn’t think of a good celeb couple nickname for you guys. The rule is its always the man first, but I’m confused for you two.

        For the record, its Budjie for Budj and Addie, Budjli for me and Budj, Budjpenny (Budj an Moneypenny) and so on. The short brief Addie Mclovin Drama was McAddie, now i think its McLady.

      9. No no no. McLovin is still mcsingle. Lady is in a very committed relationship. But for the record, doesn’t pretty much anything sound good with *Mc* in front of it?

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        As a fellow irishmen, yes!

      11. It seems I need to order some extenze…haha…

        And stop making me feel like the DW bicycle!!

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        Bicycle? What’s that, the greener version of a train?

      13. You’re the one everyone’s daydreaming about…with that shake shake shake fantasy. Damn. Now I can’t stop thinking about it.

      14. I think for the first time ever In my life, I have penis envy. I can’t shake my dong after a shower. And I really want to.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        All I know is Peter got pretty pissed when I asked him to shake for me last night and when he wasn’t doing it good enough, I told him to do it more like Budj.

      16. haha – i hope your kidding. I don’t need any more bad kharma…haha…it’s all in the hips.

      17. bittergaymark says:

        Lili, it’s BudjGM. Pronounced Bud-jim. And it’s not officially over just yet.

      18. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh, and there were some smiley faces. He said: Well, you’re the best attorney I’ve ever had. 😉

        I’m pretty sure that emoticon meant he wants in my pants, no? I tend to interpret signs in the way I’d like to interpret signs.

      19. I interpret this as he ‘had’ you in a lovely dream and it was so beautiful and real that he thinks it actually happened. And the wink is the best clue.

        Your lunch sounds amazing. I’m off to have some tinga tostados since its the lunch special down the street.

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        Dude, he totally wants you.

      21. I think he likes you. 🙂

      22. I agree. If you love him I can let you go….no hard feelings.

      23. lets_be_honest says:

        This made me think of Casper 🙁

      24. Addie Pray says:

        Nooo, I don’t want you to let me go. The mortgage lender has the added benefit of being tangible but who needs a tangible boyfriend when you have a DW Budj!

      25. lol – yea who needs a real tangible when you have virtual Budj!

      26. yeah Budj–you have a virtual HAREM. So one measly real life girl…meh. I wish I could fb open relationship you! And when your info comes up you’d be in an open relationship with like 5 women and one dude (BudjGM shout out!)

      27. you big ole pimp! And just so you know, AP called me Budj every time we virtually did *it.* At first I was offended, but after the first 300 times or so, I was like, eh, fuck it.

      28. @ Mclovin – I had to x out my browser window I laughed so hard at that I drew attention.

    3. Yeah, I mean, I think that if you tried to get a restraining order, they’d ask if you’d told the person to leave you alone. So, absent of that, as well as any sort of threats or menancing behavior, I’m not sure it would even work. And if so, it might be overkill.

  28. My mother was stalked in college, back when they didn’t even use the word “stalk” to describe that kind of behavior. She was smart about it, and it ended when she graduated and moved to the other end of the country.

    Fast-forward 25 ish years later. The doorbell rings, and as she walks up to the door, she realizes it’s HIM, from decades ago. She runs to the back of the house, and my (six foot two, Glock-toting) father answered the door. Apparently stalker guy had relocated to our area, got our address from my sweet but naive grandparents, and showed up at our doorstep- ostensibly to APOLOGIZE for stalking in the past!!! Needless to say, cops were called and that dude won’t be coming by our house (or our gun safe) anytime soon.

  29. I just reread the letter after reading Wendy’s advice and all the advice from the commenters, and I have to say, I don’t feel like he’s really being a “stalker”, YET.

    First off, the LW needs to STOP ansering his calls. From what she wrote, it sounds to me like she’s still actively engaging in conversation with him when he calls. Stop that and see what happens- Does he get all stalker and crazy like, or does he get the hint and leave you alone??
    The reason he calls you all the time and stops by all the time might be because you’re the only person he’s got who will actually engage him in conversation!

    Let the phone go to voicemail. If he starts calling 20 times a day, then you’ll know you have a problem and you can go ahead and get that restraining order.

  30. lets_be_honest says:

    Woo hoo!! Just got a call from Peter telling me to pack a bag with a bikini and 2 outfits as soon as I get home and bring it to work tomorrow so we can go on a weekend getaway starting at 5 pm. Can you feel my excitedness?!?!

    1. Addie Pray says:

      You’re getting engaged this weekend. Eeeek!

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh jeez. I don’t think so. Ever since we got home Monday, we’ve been fake crying about it. Well, I have been at least. So I think its just that paired with a why the hell not. But thanks AP, I’ll now be spending the vaca weekend freaking out every time he tries to tie his shoelaces.

      2. I spent an entire vacation thinking that he was going to propose… this was 2 years before he actually did propose!! It was horrible!! Just make up your mind that it’s not going to happen, so you don’t freak out the whole time.
        Then if it does happen, you’ll be extra surprised!

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        That must’ve been terrible! I really don’t think he will though.

      4. bittergaymark says:

        He MIGHT if you remember all my tips from yesterday… 😉

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Haha! If he does, I’ll be sure to give you credit.

      6. Avatar photo theattack says:

        bethany makes a really good point. My fiance thought it was a great idea to set up situations and give hints that he was going to propose over the course of a whole year before he actually did, and it really just ended up making me disappointed, frustrated, and sad every time we did something fun. Then when he actually did propose, it wasn’t as much of an amazing moment as it was “Thank God those mind games are over.” It’s best to just not let yourself think that it’s going to happen so you don’t get disappointed and ruin an actual proposal.

        But have fun on your weekend adventures!!!!!!!

  31. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Alright I got bored reading through this thread but I wanted to make a few comments. LBH – you can feel free to stalk me anytime. Okay I guess I only had one comment to make. Carry on.

    1. How can talks of Budj’s shake shake shake bore you?!

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Hmmm must have missed that part. It sounds intriguing. Mostly I just don’t have time to read through 250 comments – but I feel really left out.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      I’ll be stalking the crap out of you then.

  32. RodrigoMarrocos3 says:

    Hi man! What you can try is talk to he more serious and tell the truth about what you feel about this situation. He is your friend for a long time, so he will understand your side. Dont be worried with he say because if you feel good telling truth, nothing matter. Hugs from Brazil.

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