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15 January 2011

Ask Mecha: How Do I Shake This Guy? I do not want to be his friend but he will not leave me alone. Help. [More:]
So in early December I met this guy, we shall call him Dick. He is the lifelong friend of a friend of mine, not a super close friend but someone I've known for some years. Mutual friend kind of set us up on Facebook, saying, oh he has just moved to your neighborhood, you will like him, etc. He seemed interesting enough and therefore when he called to ask me out I said, well, hey, I am meeting a group of people at the local bar, have you been there yet, do you want to come & hang out with us? And he says yes and so we meet at the bar and then we all went on to a big party and by the end of the evening I was all like, EWWW. I do not like this guy. I drop him off at his house - and he does indeed live like 5 blocks from me and he doesn't have a car (I suspect that my car owningness is the real reason he likes me) - thinking, okay, forget that.

So he facebook messages me and I do not answer. Then he starts on the angry facebook messages and the phone messages that are like, "hey call me back! Feel free! What the hell!" which is a bit over the top but in the interests of keeping the peace with mutual friend and thinking perhaps I had been too harsh, I think okay, I will go out with him one more time. So we arrange to all meet up: mutual friend, his wife, my other friend and Dick. This is in mid December. During that evening I realize that no, actually, I don't like this guy and frankly he doesn't even seem that crazy about me, so whatever. I tell him look, my life is insane right now (which is true) and that I am not in a position to date right now (which is also mostly true) and I am not interested in going out at this point (and that is true too.) He seems to get it and says he's going home to DC for the holidays and I think, good, stay there.

No. He came back and he's been calling me every two or three days. I have not been answering his calls or returning them. I only listened to one of his messages and it was him saying he was playing at an open mike that night and he would love it if I could come down. Yeah, well, no. I think to myself, dude, you want a ride home is what you want (there is no public transportation after 9:00 pm in Asheville NC and precious little before then.) So I didn't call him back because a) I'm not interested and b) it was a time specific message and the time had passed. But then two days later he called again. And then again. And just now again.

He won't. Go. Away. I'm sorry, if somebody doesn't answer your calls or call you back or reply to your facebook messages wouldn't you get the hint that they're just not interested? What do I have to do here? I don't like confrontation. I don't want to have to say "I don't like you and I don't want to hang out with you." It's complicated by mutual friend, too, whose feelings I don't want to hurt. I told mutual friend's wife that I was not romantically interested in Dick, thinking she would perhaps pass that along, but the truth is I'm not even nonromantically interested in Dick. I would like to keep him on the casual acquaintance level which is to say, somebody I run into every six months or so and we say hello, how're you and that's that. How do I get this message across?

You can't get that across. You have to do the thing you don't like, and confront him. It will suck. Have wine ready for yourself for after. I'm sorry about the situation.
posted by By the Grace of God 15 January | 18:13
I hear people talking about someone who won't get off their back,and also saying "I'm not answering him, he should know what that means," and I think, "well, *I* wouldn't know." I mean, I'd never know if the messages are getting lost, or if you're someone who doesn't return messages and only answers the phone if caught at the right time, or is just so busy that one has to call repeatedly to finally get a call back.

I'd really need someone to sit me down/call me up/send me an email/something and say, "Hey, here's the deal, I'm not interested in you, and I am not gonna be answering you." That's the only way the message would actually get through: if the message were, you know, actually delivered.
posted by galadriel 15 January | 18:15
It depends, mgl. If you feel remotely stalked, and it sounds like you do, you should not return any messages or calls, or even ask mutual friend to intervene, because any encouragement or response at all will be taken as a sign of interest - even negative attention is good attention, that kind of thing. I dunno, see what people say, or maybe askme.
posted by rainbaby 15 January | 18:21
How much can you lean on your mutual friend? Can your friend tell this guy to leave you alone? If not, I think you have to clearly tell this guy to stop contacting you. And you don't have to justify it- you can send a Facebook message that just says, Please do not contact me. I am not interested in being in contact with you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 15 January | 18:32
I think you gotta tell him, once, and firmly, to stop contacting you. I agree with TPS that you can do it via Facebook message. But don't try to soften the hard truth. You don't have to be mean, but don't say that your life is crazy right now because that leaves the door open down the road. You want to slam that door shut, lock it and toss the key in the river. Try something like what TPS said:

Please don't call me anymore or contact me. I won't be responding to any messages, emails, texts or calls from you.

Don't apologize! Don't put anything in there that gives him the tiniest bit of hope that you're not absolutely resolute on this. And then de-friend him so he can't reply.

Don't worry about the mutual friend (MF) being offended. Just tell MF that Dick was borderline harassing you and you were moving from annoyed to creeped out, and that you'd appreciate MF not discussing you with Dick and not passing along any messages to you from Dick.

Try not to think of it as confrontation so much as standing up firmly for yourself. If you see him out and about, don't say hi. He's the one being a nutcase, not you.

Good luck, what a lousy situation to have to deal with. You don't need this. Please report back on what you do and how it goes.
posted by Kangaroo 15 January | 20:41
Be very clear: "Dick, I'm not interested in pursuing a relationship with you." If he keeps contacting you after that, then you need to take anti-stalker action.
posted by theora55 15 January | 21:59
Yeah. I would go facebook message. "Hi Dick, I'm not interested in making new friends right now. I won't be answering your phone messages or facebook notifications." Then block him from most of your stuff on fb.

It's a little confrontation, but not too full on for a non-confronty-type person? (maybe?)
posted by gaspode 15 January | 22:13
This is because I'm reading The Gift of Fear, but my first thought was DO NOT contact him again. Don't try to explain why you don't want to be friends - you've tried that and it hasn't worked. He's sent you angry messages on Facebook. Every time you contact him, you're giving him what he wants (contact with you), while tell him you don't want contact with him. It's kind of a mixed message and it's going to make it that much harder for you to get rid of him. Never answer if he calls, never call him back, block him from Facebook, block his number from texting you, whatever you have to do to not hear from him again.

Now that I've written it all out, it sounds way over the top, but I hope it helps at least a little.
posted by youngergirl44 15 January | 23:07
Yeah, I'm thinking like yg44 here. I suppose it comes down to trusting your own intuition. It just worries me that you've gotten to the internet forum post place with this issue, so that I lean towards advising no contact, danger danger stranger danger. Yet not being there, I accept other alternatives, etc.
posted by rainbaby 16 January | 01:20
Look for legal help. Find out what free or low cost options are out there. Also find out if the police have someone to talk to about stalker issues. Hopefully you don't need to get the law involved but it would be nice to know your options before hand.

Wishing you well mgl.
posted by arse_hat 16 January | 01:59
Thanks, y'all. I guess I do have to come up with a straightforward go away Facebook message, ugh. I hate this. I think I'm weirded out so much because I've been on the receiving end of the no contact thing and it's only ever taken me maybe two no call backs before I get the message and disappear like smoke. I've always thought of that as kind of painful yeah, but not exactly difficult to interpret. That being the way I am I really don't understand this persistence particularly since there's been nothing between us except hanging out in a group of people - no kiss, no actual date, no nothing. Especially after the conversation we had in mid December, the refusal to stop calling thing is, yes, starting to seriously weird me out.
posted by mygothlaundry 16 January | 14:05
I get where everyone who is worried any contact will encourage him, but my gut says he's clueless, not a stalker. Glad to see you leaning towards a simple, clear (and absolutely unequivocal) "I am not interested in hanging out, or anything else."

If he persists after that, then shut him off. Block his number, drop him from Facebook, stop responding. You don't owe anyone your time.
posted by ivey 16 January | 14:37
Without being in your shoes, it's hard to know whether to send one last unequivocal message with NO softening language and then block/ignore him, or to jump immediately to blocking/ignoring. I suspect I'd do the former, just to be perfectly clear, but your gut is your best guide here. Trust it.

Do NOT trust the little voice that thinks you're being too harsh (if you have that little voice like I did in similar circumstances); it's trying to make nice, but the situation is Not Nice.

No matter what, and of course you know this: if he escalates AT ALL, don't hesitate to get the police involved.
posted by Elsa 16 January | 14:58
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