Let me tell you a little story about a guy I met – we’ll call him M.
On a girls weekend in NYC, my cousin and I were having a drink on a Saturday night when some guys asked us to join them for drinks. It turned out to be a group of guys and girls; welcoming, lovely people who were keen to find out what brought us to NYC, what we’d been up to, and full of suggestions for what we should do while visiting.
M seemed like a normal guy. I mean, all these other nice, normal people were his friends, and how can that many people be wrong? On finding out that I would be on my own the next day after my cousin left, he invited me to join them for his birthday celebrations.
Now I admit, sometimes, I’m too trusting. But from years of backpacking, I’m still in the mindset that you have some of the best experiences when you go with the flow. So, possibly naively, I swapped numbers and emails with him. I mean, I wasn’t silly enough to friend him on facebook where he could really see my personal details, right?
The next day, I wasn’t up for it, and when I received his text, I made my excuses and wished him a very happy birthday.
Cue the next week, of him emailing me every single day saying what a pity it was we hadn’t managed to catch up before I left. Of the 7 emails he sent me, I responded to one – to say I hope he had a great birthday, and it was nice to meet him and his friends. What an idiot I was. But who could have foreseen the consequences?
He sent me an email saying how much he really wished he could have shown me more of NYC (by which, I’m guessing he meant his bedroom) and offered to fly me back to do so. WHAT THE? I mean, I can be funny, sometimes even hilarious, but not even I would pay for me to come visit after spending just 30 minutes with me having a drink. On what basis did M feel that we had forged such a connection that he wanted to see me again – and foot the bill?
Obviously, the alarm bells were at full volume. I ignored his email.
The other half will attest to the six months of continuous contact I then experienced over email, text, and whatsapp. To which I responded to NOTHING. Every couple of days I would get a random inoffensive message like “Hey! How are things? It’s M!” As if I didn’t know. I couldn’t block his number without changing my mobile altogether, although I did block his emails.
One day on whatsapp, after receiving yet another “how ya doin’?” message, I decided to try a different tack. “Who is this?” I messaged back. “It’s M, from NY” he wrote. “Sorry mate,” I lied, “think you’ve got the wrong number.” He apologised profusely and I thought to myself smugly that was the end of that.
The next day, he called. Obviously, it went to my voicemail. Whoops. The message he left me went a little something like this: “Hey Christine, it’s M. I think something crazy is happening with your phone. Call me back! Hope you’re well.”
Somehow, the guy finally managed to hack through all privacy controls and friend request me on facebook. I promptly blocked him and received the text message: “Wow Christine, you blocked me on fb? What did I ever do to you?”
I think he finally got the message.
How does a seemingly normal guy, with good social skills, continue trying to contact someone in the face of no reciprocation? What makes a stalker a stalker? What allows them to soldier on, beyond the bounds of normal human rejection? I would love to hear your thoughts, and possible experiences, on what drove M’s behaviour. And in the meantime – don’t go giving your number out to just anyone, y’hear?
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