Dear Uncle Mat,
I have a Facebook and Twitter stalker, and I don’t know what to do. I know him; he is dating a friend of mine. It started out innocently at first, with OK compliments that were totally appropriate … sort of. Except, of course, that he is dating my friend, so I’m not sure why he would compliment her friends’ photos. He seemed really nice so I just kind of ignored it, but soon he was “liking” all of my posts and commenting on every photo of me. Even his girlfriend (i.e., my friend) took notice, but she doesn’t seem jealous — she thinks its cool that he likes her friends.
I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable, though, and now he has started to instant message me at work. Normally I would just tell a guy to buzz off and de-friend him if I had to, but because of who he is, I feel I can’t do that without causing a stir. How should I chase him off? Do I need to say something to his girlfriend (my friend)? Thanks for your help!
You could just quit Facebook, and go out and get a real life in the real world. I’m not saying you don’t have a real life, but how much do you really need Facebook? It’s convenient, but not exactly oxygen or anything. I’m not judging; you’ll find me on Facebook. I use it to track events and birthdays and post all of my latest beach blanket photos, but I also forget to check it for days at a time.
As for Twitter, don’t even get me started. I really don’t need to know whom you just saw at the mall, or who pulled what out of where and when on your mundane bus trip to the office or Walgreens for more sanitary napkins. It’s like reality TV but more boring, and it totally creates a disconnect in your social life. People don’t even talk on the phone anymore. When was the last time you just had coffee with a friend and didn’t fucking tell everyone else what your latte looked like via a mobile post, but paid attention to the words they spoke and the way they smiled or teared up while telling you something personal or endearing?
OK, so my self-loathing, wannabe Luddite-driven rant aside, I suppose you would like some useful advice. Don’t hit the “unlike” button on me yet. I agree that your stalker is behaving questionably at the very least. Does he shadow any of her other friends, or anyone else for that matter? Check out his page and activities. There is the possibility he is just annoying, and not a cyber creep. He might just be a loser and living vicariously through your profoundly more interesting life, and that your exploits are the only thing keeping him alive.
You can try going silent for a week. Stay on, but don’t post anything new on your page. Stalk some friends for yourself. Maybe he will find a new hobby or fantasy.
Now we will put the optimism aside and assume he is planning your forced wedding in his basement with an audience of Star Wars figurines and Care Bears. The next time he messages you, tell him you can’t chat while at work. Period. Tell him if he keeps trying you’ll have to block him just to protect your job. It’s an exaggeration, but not a lie. Then the next time you see him in person, just tell him you appreciate his attention, but that all of the comments and posts are a bit much and you can catch up when you see each other in person with your girlfriend.
Since his over-exuberant Facebook fetish doesn’t threaten your girlfriend, you could approach her too. Don’t tell her you think he is stalking you. Mention you think he’s a nice guy, but you find his online behavior annoying. Ask her to nicely encourage him to lay off a little and let the friendship grow more organically.
It has been my experience that the online world can bring out some of people’s worst social defects and a sense of entitlement. Mine included. Sometimes you just have to cut people off with a “de-friend.”
Much love and luck,
Your Uncle Mat
Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets and art. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.