a question for the panel

So, you’re all my friends (most of you — my regular readers, at least) and I trust you when I’ve got burning questions of how to handle life situations. So I present this one to you for discussion. But first, my situation, as told by poet laureate Rockwell with Michael Jackson.

Anyway, a while back, this friend of a friend (and when I say friend of a friend, he was only her friend because he found her on Yahoo or something …) started reading my MySpace blog. He requested to be my MySpace friend. Still, no problem. Many months pass, he’s not entirely awful, I build enough trust to give him my cell phone number because he was planning a visit to West Virginia.

Bad move. Turns out this guy’s a serial text messager with chain text messages, forwarded text messages, stream of consciousness text messages, etc. That’s fine if you’re one of my friends. In fact, I look forward to my friend Angie’s public transit text messages. However … here’s where things start to get a little creepy.

We’ll call him … Pedro … comes through Charleston for a visit so I agree to meet him for breakfast. BAD idea. The rest of the day was text messages about how beautiful I was. This, mind you, is from a guy with a live in girlfriend who also has a teenage stepdaughter. At least 20 messages.

At that point, I start to distance myself from him a little. I don’t respond to any text messages. I don’t really respond to any e-mails or MySpace messages. Then, he has some psychodrama with this married girl who he can’t let go of and he writes me to crying about something this woman said on her Yahoo 360 blog. Jacque … unloads. Jacque tells Pedro that she’s never in her life seen someone who is well into their 30s act like a bunch of high schoolers and I had no desire to be a part of this high school drama club anymore. Take it elsewhere.

Then the apologizing starts. I think at some point, I put a half-hearted “OK, whatever” back but that’s it. Jacque still ignores text messages. Jacque still ignores e-mails. All of it. Jacque moves to Washington.

And again … it starts. Mind you, I’ve made a solid, deliberate effort to have NO CONTACT with this guy, Pedro, in any way. I start getting long winded e-mails about how he’s sorry he’s not been a good friend and written me more. What?! I don’t respond to any of those. Then the text messages start.

Here are a sampling of text messages from the man with a live-in girlfriend:

“Hello beautiful. Just thinking of your smiling face.”
“Just wanted you to know somebody loves you.”
“Love you my friend”
“Just thinking about how beautiful you are.”

I wish I would have saved them all. They’re precious.

So, it happens that his Facebook is hacked. He is deleted. I use that as an opportunity to NOT re-add him. I also take the opportunity to delete him from MySpace (you have to be my friend on MySpace to see my profile). Since doing that about a month ago, he’s requested friendship at least a dozen times between the two. Every single one denied. I got a MySpace message about a month ago that said “i hope you have a wonderful weekend…havent talked much lately. i just wanted you to know you were on my mind.”

Yes. I haven’t talked to you because you scare me. That’s why.

From two weeks before that one:

“good morning my friend. how are you so far today? *HUGS* you are so beautiful. I just wanted you to know that and hear it today 🙂 ”

Today, he started following me on Twitter. I realize that anybody can follow you on Twitter, but that’s what did it. I’m officially done. I now am more creeped out than I ever have been.

How would you handle this? I’ve never really come out and said “Look, Pedro. I think you’re crazy and I don’t want you to talk to me, contact me or anything ever again.” I would think that constant rejection and silence would be enough to get the message, but I’m clearly wrong. Here’s something else to consider: This is a person I’ve met, in person, for an hour, one time. This isn’t someone I grew up with, dated, etc. I’ve NEVER felt the same kind of connection to this person as he has to me, and it’s just a little unsettling. I have a feeling that Pedro lives his entire life online, so the loss of one of these “online” friends is probably devastating, but still.

In case Pedro reads, and I don’t know that he does, this is why I don’t talk to you. You sufficiently managed to creep me out, and I have a high, high creep out tolerance.

How should I proceed, panel?


15 Responses to “a question for the panel”

  1. October 23, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    So, you’re all my friends (most of you — my regular readers, at least)

    Technically, since I’ve yet to make my pilgrimage to Talk-Show Mecca (AKA College Park, MD), I’m still in the online/on-air category, but since I know Happy Hour loves the black man almost as much as West Virginia does, I’m pretty sure I’m not lumped into the same scary category as this Pedro dude…

    But I’m disappointed in Pedro. He seemed like such a nice guy in Napoleon Dynamite; I was ready to vote for him and everything, especially since he offered me his protection… But it sounds like it might be time for you to have a fireside chat with his ISP; they have specific laws for cyber-stalking these days, so I have to think they would gladly give him the boot for you…

    p.s. It just occurred to me, after Rockwell released “Somebody’s Watching Me” he was never heard from again. Coincidence?

  2. 2 girlofwords
    October 23, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I think the person watching Rockwell finally got to him. BOO. 😦

  3. October 23, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    This sucks. I could talk forever about this, but let me say, I think you have to have the conversation with him. Tell him exactly how you feel and don’t be polite about it. He is freaking you out, thus you have no obligation to sugarcoat your feelings. While I can understand why you don’t want to hurt him, why would you allow his feelings take precedent over your own? If you spell it out that in now uncertain terms that you don’t want to have any contact with him, AND he still keeps trying to make contact, then I’m w/ the TW on the next course of action.
    Sorry Jacq- ;-(

  4. 4 girlofwords
    October 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Yeah, I’ve just never dealt with this before — someone who literally cannot take “no” for an answer.

  5. 5 Ann
    October 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    While wanting you to know you’re loved is quite precious, I believe you need to be strong with all the ignoring, and maybe shoot a short, succinct e-mail that says “this casual friendship has creeped me entirely out, and you need to leave me alone.”
    Good luck, man.

  6. 6 girlofwords
    October 23, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    That seems reasonable. I could do that. Very good idea.

  7. 7 Paige
    October 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    You know he’s already read this a dozen times and is driving South as we type.

  8. 8 girlofwords
    October 23, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Hahaha … It’s good that I live with someone more short fused than John McCain.

  9. October 24, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Shoot him. It would be a mercy killing, putting him out of his creepy misery.

  10. 10 girlofwords
    October 24, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Just as an update — TWO text messages during the game last night just cheering on my team.

    … psycho.

  11. October 24, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I always deal with unwanted _____ with a great deal of direct sarcasm: works every time. In this case, methinks that return text messages in the “happy bunny” vein would be more than appropriate. Maybe something along the lines of, “I’m thinking about you too…..while I slit my wrists,” or, “Wanna help me have a better day? Stop f@($%*g texting me!” It’s all in the subtlety.

    P.S. Congrats in earnest for your fighting couch-burners. Those hicks from northern Alabama always deserve a good butt-whoopin!!!

  12. 12 girlofwords
    October 24, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, that would have been good. Last night when I got the text that said “Good game going on” I could have said “Yeah, and it’d be ever better if you’d just leave me alone forever.”

  13. 13 JR
    October 24, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Seems like you should be able to block people on Twitter. Is that not an option?

  14. October 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Sorry I’m late to this party … I guess I would start getting this onto some sort of legal record. Most municipalities have cyberstalking laws. I would give the D.C. police a log of his messages (let them start accumulating so you can save them), provide them with his name and contact information, and let them give him a call. Harsh? Maybe. But this guy is clearly separated from reality, and more than likely doing the same thing to dozens of women.

    What was your impression of him in person?

  15. 15 girlofwords
    October 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    JR: Yes, I did block him on Twitter and MySpace and every other way I could possibly. His e-mails go directly to my “junk” folder so I don’t even see them come in.

    Jim: He’s seriously disturbed, I think. Seriously. I don’t know if it’s disturbed enough to actually get in the car and kill me, but it’s still unsettling. When I met him in person for the hour that we had breakfast I thought he was OK, kind of fidgety. Nervous, almost. I was really glad it was over.

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