Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Stop calling me!
February 17, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Should I pick up the phone or change my number?

I dated this guy about a year ago and I broke it off. (both of us are in our early twenties) He told me he loved me and I never got there with him. When I look back, I don't know what the hell I was thinking (really!!) dating this guy. Sometimes I get nauseous just thinking about the time I had spent with him and what a low-life he is.

Since we broke up we had spoken about two times. None in the past 8 or 9 months. He has called me though, once at home (I wasn't there) and usually once every two months, on my mobile, from a restricted number (I know it's him because no one I know has ever called me from a restricted number but him, and plus he calls twice or three times in a row when he does). He has never left a voicemail, but the other day he did. He left me two and had called me about ten times one right after the other. I NEVER pick up and didn't this time. I don't want to speak to him, hear him and if it were up to me I would erase him from my past. In the voicemail he told me he misses me, asks me why I won't pick up, tells me he remembers the good times we had, blah, blah, blah, and that he won't stop calling me until he hears my voice even if it is to tell him to stop calling him. I just don't know if he will do exactly that, stop calling me, if I decide to pick up when he calls to tell him "Not to call me". He should have gotten the hint already that I don't want to speak to him. For some godforsaken reason he still wants to remain friends and see how I am doing. I don't. Sometimes I get scared that he is going to escalate this and start stalking me or if I bump into him on the street he might go crazy and try and get my attention. So my question is...should I just "change my phone number (fearing he might try to get in touch with me some other way, like showing up at my door, now that he can't call me)" or "keep my number and NEVER pick up" or "pick up when he calls to tell him Not to call me (but fearing he still will call me again)"? Btw..he called again while I was in the middle of typing this. I didn't pick up. This is worrying me a lot, even more now that I'm in a serious relationship in which I am extremely happy in and I don't want this guy popping up and calling.

I need your advice, please. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (51 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Change your number.
posted by Max Power at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2009


Change your number. Absolutely do not encourage his behavior by giving in to his phone calls.
posted by Ugh at 1:52 PM on February 17, 2009


Change your number DEFINITELY!
posted by psylosyren at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2009


Pick up the phone. And call the cops.
posted by trotter at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


He wants your attention. Don't give it to him. Is there some way to block incoming calls from his number?
posted by Mizu at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2009


Were I you, I would suck it up and pick up the phone. As soon as you confirm it's him, be very firm and say "I'm sorry if this hurts you, but please do not call me again."

That first part is optional.
posted by crickets at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


n'thing the above, and you might even want to notify the police that he's harassing you -- the goal isn't so that they do something about it but to have something on record. Keep track of every call he's made, and write down the date and time of each attempt -- it doesn't hurt to keep this information, and it could potentially become useful in the future should he start being more aggressive about his behavior.
posted by spiderskull at 1:55 PM on February 17, 2009


If you have not yet told him explicitly that you do not wish to talk to him and that you want him to stop calling you, I would pick up ONCE and tell him that in no uncertain terms. Do not make it a debate; if he tries to convince you to talk with him, hang up. But I think (and from what I remember of reading the ubiquitous Gift of Fear and other expert opinions, they agree) that it's worth it to briefly, firmly tell him once to leave you alone.

If you have already told him not to call you in the past, or if you hear from him again after doing so, change your number immediately and don't take his calls. If he persists in trying to contact you, keep records of his contacts in case you ever need to show proof that he's obsessive or possibly a danger to you.
posted by decathecting at 1:58 PM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


There's no reason to take his call just to tell him to stop: he knows he has the right number, and knows that you haven't been answering his calls or returning his messages, and yet he keeps calling. That's troubling and unhealthy--not something that can be solved with a polite "no thanks." I think your best option is to change your number.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:59 PM on February 17, 2009


You could just get a random friend to re-record your voicemail message to something generic, so he *thinks* you've changed your number. But, I dunno. I see two options here:

- Never pick up. I actually wouldn't change the number - save all the voicemails he leaves, just in case you ever need to call the cops on him and need the evidence, but just ignore him. Pick up The Gift of Fear and give it a read - it's highly relevant to this situation.

- Pick up just once. If you've never actually told him to eff right off, and he doesn't have a history of being psycho, I'd actually lean this way. Pick up, don't let him get started, just tell him that you don't like him, don't want to be his friend, and will not speak to him again, ever, then hang up. Then implement the first strategy.

I had a friend that just... stopped speaking to me, many years ago. We didn't have a fight, nothing actually went wrong, she just stopped responding to me. It would have been nice if she'd just told me she didn't want to talk to me any more, because as it is I am left to concoct wild stories about her parents threatening to disown her or whatever. Some context for her decision - or at least the information that it *was* a decision - would have been nice. Our parents live two miles apart, and one of these days we're going to run into each other in the grocery store, and it's going to be awkward.

That being said, if you've already told him you don't want to talk, or if you genuinely think that talking to him might cause him to escalate, then just don't pick up. And read that book either way - it's a good one.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:00 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Were I you, I would suck it up and pick up the phone. As soon as you confirm it's him, be very firm and say "I'm sorry if this hurts you, but please do not call me again."

DO NOT PICK UP THE PHONE. No matter what you tell him, it will only encourage him.
posted by changeling at 2:00 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Legally, though, I wonder if you have to explicitly tell him to stop before you can take further action...
posted by spiderskull at 2:01 PM on February 17, 2009


If you want to keep your number, have your boyfriend or another friend pick up the phone next time he calls and tell him that it's not your number anymore. Something like, "Yeah, I got this number a few months ago, when I first got it I got calls for her all the time."
posted by amarynth at 2:07 PM on February 17, 2009


Oh, yeah, I guess that won't work if he heard your outgoing message. I'm an idiot.
posted by amarynth at 2:07 PM on February 17, 2009


Do not, do not, do not pick up the phone. It's a trap.

If it were me, I'd probably try changing my message to the generic robot "you have reached 212-555-5555, you may leave a message after the tone" before going to the hassle of changing my number.

For your cell, if you delete your personal voice greeting, will your cell default to a machine-generated message like this? If it doesn't, get a friend to do robot-voice for you, and for your landline, too.
posted by desuetude at 2:08 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't change your number!!

With a service like YouMail (free), you can customize voicemail messages for different numbers. Set a professional "this phone number has been disconnected" (it's available in the message library) for all calls from blocked numbers, and set the option to DitchMail: they hear the message and then the call is dropped (no option to record anything).

I presume that you are US-based with cell phone service from one of the major providers. Also, YouMail is awesome for a bunch of other reasons, like having all your voicemail instantly emailed to you, which is why I use it.
posted by halogen at 2:09 PM on February 17, 2009 [50 favorites]


Yes, I don't think outside authorities would look very positively on you claiming you were being called against your will if you have never once explicitly expressed your will.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:11 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, your cell phone should already have the option to reject all phone calls from blocked number or send them to voicemail.
posted by halogen at 2:11 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would also answer it once and tell him to never call you again. Or if there's some other way you can contact him (email, facebook, etc) I'd do that. But only if it doesn't open a new channel - for example I wouldn't email him if you've never emailed him becasue then he would have an address for you. But if I'd conducted email correspondence with him before, I'd send him an email telling him not to call. Just the once though so that you've been clear about your wishes.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:16 PM on February 17, 2009


dittos on reading, "The Gift of Fear.
posted by mumstheword at 2:19 PM on February 17, 2009


Sorry for this sucky situation. Lets cover the basics before you do anything:

1. Does he know where you live? I'm not saying he's a stalker or even dangerous (or that he's not), but does he? If so, there IS a chance that if you change your number, he'll try to reach you in person (ie. show up at your door). Actually, he knows your home phone...so he probably does, but he HASN'T visited you (otherwise you would have mentioned it).

2. Boys are dumb. REALLY DUMB. They often think someone likes them more than they actually do just because they received some attention. Have you ever EXPLICITLY told him "do not call me here again"? Not a "hey, i gotta go", or "i'll call you later", but EXPLICITLY. Have you? If not, you have to do that. Police won't do shit if they think you're an ex-girlfriend for whom they can do the dirty work for. You never mention what you said to him last time you spoke/saw him. If you told him "talk to you later", or something like that...yeah...this is what you're gonna get with dumb boys.

3. If at ANY point you are scared in the slightest for your safety, call the police. Thats a whole different animal, and it trumps anything said here.

4. Some phone companies have a policy that if someone is being harassed by phone, they will help them change the number, and remain unlisted without asking the person to pay the fees involved. I know this because at one point, my phone number was a common prefix and ended with "6666". 3am calls from drunks asking if I am the devil suck. I don't think him calling ONCE on your home phone, and once a month qualifies.

If this is a case of "i dont want to talk to him", you really need to be explicit; some boys don't get the picture. If this is a safety issue (a legitimate one...not one that you conjured up after watching an afternoon of lifetime channel movies), then you need to call the cops.

Since you haven't done either so far, I'm guessing its the former, not the latter, and you haven't explicitly told him not to contact you anymore.

Yes, yes...I know I'm going to get a whole bunch of people telling me how wrong I am, and how this dude is a potential rapist, but I really don't see anything that makes me think this dude is dangerous. He left a voicemail ONCE, and had called 10 times that night. That happened ONCE...could it be that he was drunk and stupid just that once.

I'm not defending him at all...I think he's a douche...but dangerous...I don't know. BUT AGAIN...if you EVER fear for your safety...call the cops immediately. It would help your case thought if at some point you told him "hey, i dont want you to try to contact me via any means in the future".

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:20 PM on February 17, 2009


Personally I think a firm one time, "Do not call again", then refer any further calls to the police, or get a restraining order. I believe you have to show that you have made your wish explicit and just ignoring the calls do not do that.
posted by edgeways at 2:20 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, your cell phone should already have the option to reject all phone calls from blocked number or send them to voicemail.

Oh yeah! This! You can also do this on a land line. Do this. It's simpler than changing your number.
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:20 PM on February 17, 2009


Have you even talked to the guy at all? I don't entirely grasp what you've written, but it doesn't seem like you have.

Sometimes when I'm trying to get ahold of someone for whatever reason I can call them a few times in a row. Maybe he doesn't know that you're this scared by the phone when he calls and honestly wants to talk to you. I agree that by now he should have taken the hint that you don't want to talk.

I could see the thought process that could lead to this. Hey, I just saw something that reminded me of her, I should see how she's doing. Hmm, no answer, It'd be kind of awkward to leave a message so I'll try again later. My number's restricted and we haven't talked in a couple of months so she probably wouldn't know it was me. Plus, if she did know, she'd probably have called back by now to see if I wanted something.

Meanwhile your call history is logging each call and making him look a little obsessive. Maybe because I grew up without call ID and call history I don't see repeated calls when you have never answered and told the guy that you don't want to talk to him as clear harassment.

I could even see him getting a little frustrated and leaving that message, "Hey, why do you never answer your phone?" but the bit about not ceasing to call until he hears your voice sounds over the line.

If by low-life you mean that he was abusive, then ignore the benefit of the doubt I'm giving him here. But otherwise, with no clear indication from you, the only message he's could be getting is "She doesn't use her phone or doesn't check her messages."

(On preview, kind of what hal_c_on said)

As far as technological solutions, you might have trouble getting the phone company to block calls from a restricted number. You're better off just changing yours.
posted by ODiV at 2:25 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I know it's him because no one I know has ever called me from a restricted number but him, and plus he calls twice or three times in a row when he does).

Notwithstanding that it might be a good idea to change your cell number, telemarketers also call from blocked numbers. Exes can be pricks, but his leaving two voicemails in nearly a year is not precisely oppressive when, as the game warden says, you apparently have never told him not to contact you.

For some godforsaken reason he still wants to remain friends and see how I am doing.

Not everyone hates all their exes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2009


I know Verizon costs like $5/month to block a number. Just do that
posted by phrakture at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2009


If you have a physical address for him, maybe you could send him a letter with a receipt confimation (certified? not sure). The letter could say, "Stop trying to contact me in any way. I don't want any contact with you" or whatever, and the record of its delivery could be useful if things escalate. That way you'll have a written record showing that you told him to stop. Plus reject his calls; I like the "disconnected" message.

Ricochet biscuit, the OP says he has recently called ten times in a row. That's harassment.
posted by PatoPata at 2:31 PM on February 17, 2009


Plenty of people are recommending The Gift of Fear, and rightfully so. But we should take a look at what it actually says:
Unwanted pursuers may escalate their behavior to include such things as persistent phone calls and messages; showing up uninvited at a woman's work, school, or home; following her; and trying to enlist her friends of family in this campaign. If any of these things happen, assuming that the woman has communicated one explicit rejection, it is very important that no further detectable response be given. (p. 243, emph. mine)
So I agree with the "answer once, and once only, to tell him never to call again" camp.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:35 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, just set the phone to ignore calls from restricted numbers.
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2009


This was me. (Anonymous hoping to keep the ex from following my trail, but I'm comfortable enough at this point to outmyself). Your ex could wind up like that, or maybe not. Regardless, you don't have to put up with it, but you're wise to exercise your options.

In my situation, this went on for nearly nine months, and I did have to get the law involved. I haven't heard from my ex since, although I am not holding my breath. I am prepared to haul him to jail, however.

As others have said, you need to make sure you have explicitly told him not to contact you again. The police WILL NOT HELP YOU unless you can demonstrate that you have told him you want no further contact. Email is a good tool for this; it's what I used. Don't hope he gets the picture, you need to explicitly tell him "Stop calling me. Do not contact me again."

I would not (and did not) change my phone number. You're right, it might escalate to him coming to your door. Your just not answering his calls might do the same thing. You need to explicitly make it clear to him that his contact is unwelcome, and that you will be seeking legal assistance if he continues to contact you. If you have already made it clear to him, then start investigating such legal assistance.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you decide to not change your number there's a service that may help you: Trapcall. It routes unanswered blocked calls to a 1-800 number then back to your phone with the caller-id info. (1-800 numbers don't allow blocked callers so their servers can pick it up as it travels through the server). The paid versions have voicemail transcription and all that, but the free version sends caller ID info and allows "Blacklist Unwanted Callers" that sends them to a fake "number disconnected" sound.

I haven't personally used this service-- just noticed it and thought it might be helpful.
posted by sharkfu at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2009


Not everyone hates all their exes.

I'm really surprised by the responses like this in the thread, implying that the OP somehow owes this guy a response--the OP and this guy broke up a year ago and she has made it clear for the past year (by declining every single attempt he has made to contact her) that she is not interested in being friends or even staying in touch at all. Healthy people know how to take a hint. Maybe she should have--early on--explicitly said "stop calling me," but if she spends a year not taking his calls and he responds by continuing to call and leaving a message that says "I won't stop calling until I hear your voice, even if it is to tell me to stop calling you"? That's a great big flashing red sign that says "do not engage!"
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think your choice depends on the level of anxiety this is all causing you. If you're totally freaked out at this point and terrified of even talking to him once, then by all means change your number at your earliest convenience. Why be forced to continually deal with the fear of answering your phone?

If you feel capable of telling him to leave you alone, I don't know if you think a simple 'don't call me anymore' is sufficient, or if you want to take the opportunity to point out to him what a creep he's being. But if you have a number you know he can be reached at, then maybe it'd be better if you call him. On your terms, right?

On the bright side, changing a phone number is a minor inconvenience.
posted by lizbunny at 3:03 PM on February 17, 2009


Healthy people know how to take a hint.

Healthy people communicate their will, rather than trying to shift the onus onto others to try to figure things out. Avoiding awkward-but-necessary communication is a sign of immaturity.

He's not harassing you until a) he's been told to stop calling, and b) he continues to do so. So the question is how much does it bother you?
If it's just an annoyance, then you can stick with the status quo and just accept the ongoing annoyance.
If it's a BIG annoyance, you can go to the hassle of changing your number and updating your social circles.
If it's scary and you wonder if you might need the police at some point, then you should tell him to stop calling, as they cannot help you until you do.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:42 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Ricochet biscuit, the OP says he has recently called ten times in a row. That's harassment.

The OP says that someone has recently called ten times in a row, and she assumes it is him. That is guesswork.

The post is short on information, and I am absolutely in support of the OP's right to be free from harassment, but all that seems certain is that in almost a year (a) the ex has called her house once, (b) called her cell and left messages twice, and most crucially (c) she has never told him not to contact her. Absent any further information, I am reluctant to join the OMG CALL THE POLICE RIGHT AWAY stampede. If the OP wishes someone not to contact her, step one seems to be "contact him in some fashion -- even through a third party -- and ask him to stop." If the OP is unable take even that step, I think it is overdramatic to complain about someone calling three times in a year.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I recently went through the exact same thing, and was also contemplating changing my number. I bit the bullet and just told her to stop calling me. It worked. I'm so glad I get to keep my phone number.

It's true that sometimes people won't take a hint, but it's also possible that they'll get it if you spell it out for them as if they were a child. The latter shouldn't be necessary, but it's not really any skin of my back either.
posted by randomstriker at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2009


Absent any further information, I am reluctant to join the OMG CALL THE POLICE RIGHT AWAY stampede.

I don't see any stampede here. Most suggestions are to tell the guy to stop contacting her. There's no need to inject a lot of drama and then claim that the OP and commenters are overreacting.
posted by PatoPata at 3:59 PM on February 17, 2009


If you are worried that changing your number will escalate the situation then get a second line and begin using that. Check the messages on the old line periodically (or if it causes you anxiety have a friend check the messages) and delete his messages and forward the important ones to your new number. This allows a smooth transition when changing your number and not being able to have your new number be connected to the old one. After the old number is no longer getting important messages or calls from the ex you can cancel it.
posted by saucysault at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2009


I'm split, because while I agree with others, I've been on the other side of this in two respects. It really depends on the true-life kind of person your boyfriend is, looking at it without the filter of your own personal bias.

I had occasionally tried to reconnect with a girl (on a much more wider timeframe, though: every two or three years), and, finally, she told me explicitly that she had been disquieted. (She stated she never feared for her physical safety or welfare, but wasn't sure why I was doing it. Short answer: with that many years between calls, I was actually forgetting the previous calls and rediscovering her somehow while going through old letters from friends, et cetera.) Learning this, I assured her I wouldn't want to disquiet her for any reason, and that I'd certainly respect her wishes and never contact her again, and I've not. (It turns out she had some suffered sexual attack at some point during college, which may have explained why the interpretation seemingly came out of nowhere.) But, until then, she had never told me explicitly of her disquietude, not giving me a chance to respond with any maturity or to demonstrate that I'd be willing to respect her wishes. Similarly, I had a (different) friendship, a best friendship, in which someone utterly and abruptly stopped speaking to me one day, and this friendship meant a lot to me, and still does. The emotional pain associated with that still causes trust issues this day; if that person, a person I trusted deeply, could turn around and induce pain without any seeming cause, how could I trust anyone else? Trying to stop that emotional pain from eating you up inside can itself almost CAUSE irrationality -- not from any intention to do harm, but from an intention to try to somehow find a resolution that lets you pick up your pieces from a painful event and walk onwards into the future of your life.

No doubt, there are men out there who are so irrational as to be psychotic. I don't think they're a majority or even a large minority, but you may have stumbled across the, I don't know, one in twenty who's a nutball. In that unique and particular case, then I imagine it might be best to speak with a women's violence center of some sort; other people here could probably direct you to them, or Google Maps could probably help you find one. They could help guide you through the appropriate steps in your local justice system to make sure you are protected by law enforcement. That's why I wrote up there at the top that it depends on who your boyfriend is. If he's an abuser or an actual psychotic, I don't want to suggest you walk you down a metaphorical path that leads to you being injured or killed.

But if your boyfriend is one of the majority that can be broken up with without going psychotic and homicidal, then you tell us in your message that you've never spoken with him. And you also mention that he's said that there's a circumstance in which he'll stop calling you: "he won't stop calling me until he hears my voice even if it is to tell him to stop calling [me]." Not clearly telling someone you've broken up with them can cause rather severe emotional pain in and of itself, that pain leading to the kind of irrational behavior that lends itself towards multiple telephone calls, and so on. Unless he's the kind of person for whom it would be really and truly dangerous to do it, I think it's really worthwhile — both as the easiest way of allieving your concerns and for your ex-boyfriend's own mental and emotional welfare — to try to end things with words over the phone.

People seem to quote "The Gift of Fear" all the time in a very casual sense, and I frankly don't understand why, because it seems to be a shorthand way to attempt to dress up with brainy intellectualism a concept I find in and of itself laughable: "your fear of other people's behavior is a survival instinct and always tells the truth!" Our fear of other people's behavior can indeed be useful in circumstances, but I doubt the message is as un-nuanced as these people using it as a reference seem to be passing it off as. One of these I'll have to read it just to find out what the nuances of the author's messages are, to see how these people are misquoting it.
posted by WCityMike at 4:56 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been in this exact position before, and in my experience, nothing you do will avoid sending a message to this guy. Even ignoring him is a response. So, you might as well respond and respond ONCE by telling him not to contact you anymore. If he does it anyway (mine did) then change your number. Now, if your ex makes you feel afraid, then proceed cautiously to the police. My ex wasn't a dangerous guy (just a big baby who didn't understand the word "no"), so the above steps worked for me.
posted by katillathehun at 4:57 PM on February 17, 2009


Don't engage him, this is obviously someone that has an unhealthy view of you (it's not like you broke up with him last week) and this:

"and that he won't stop calling me until he hears my voice even if it is to tell him to stop calling him."

makes me think he's a control freak. Picking up the phone to speak to him once is just giving into his desire to control you. Change your number and make sure you tell someone you know about what's going on. It doesn't have to be the police, just a friend or a relative, but just as long as someone else knows, you're a little safer should he be intending to take this pattern to dangerous levels. If he doesn't, all you've done is take steps to protect yourself.

Someone else said this and I agree: you don't owe him anything.
posted by saturnine at 5:22 PM on February 17, 2009


I'm really surprised by the responses like this in the thread, implying that the OP somehow owes this guy a response--the OP and this guy broke up a year ago and she has made it clear for the past year (by declining every single attempt he has made to contact her) that she is not interested in being friends or even staying in touch at all. Healthy people know how to take a hint.


Dude, I absolutely agree. If I was in the guy's position, I WOULD take that as a sign. BUT, he obviously doesn't. And this might turn into a situation where you want to include the cops, or even the legal system. In order to prepare yourself for that nightmare, you really do want to give them a CLEAR "DO NOT CONTACT ME EVER AGAIN" message.

Again, guys are dumb. Guys get really really dumb when interacting with girls. Every so often I hear a "love at first sight" kinda story where I think "wow...that was bordering on arrestable behavior...why didn't the chick call the cops?". Guys are dumb, they need to be explicitly told things like:

"No"
"I do not want to be romantically involved with you"
"Don't contact me ever again"


The OP sounds like she never made it clear. I wasn't there, so I don't know...but I don't get the feeling that she was thorough in EXPLICITLY telling this dude that she doesn't want him to contact her ever again.

Guys are dumb...they need to be handled like they are dumb.

Sincerely,
Guy
posted by hal_c_on at 6:20 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Agreed: a lot of guys are dumb. Some will take the hint, some will decide not to, and some will not realize there was a hint to be taken. Right now there is now way to tell if this guy is in column B or C, and this is both bad and easy to fix.

Many people cannot even get themselves to do what they want. Trying to get others to do what they want seems a trickier proposition. I am astonished at the number of responders who think that, y'know, communicating what you want is the wrong way to go about it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:38 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why not have the current boyfriend answer one of the calls and deliver the clear "She asked me to answer the phone. She doesn't want to hear from you. Don't contact her again." This serves a dual purpose: The message has been delivered loud and clear, and the ex gets his nose rubbed in the fact that the OP has moved on with her life.
posted by fatbird at 7:08 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just have your current boyfriend answer and say, "Please stop calling this number." He doesn't have to explain why or say who he is, or even if that is your phone number. He'll either think your number is now some dude's, or he'll think that you have a boyfriend. You may want to change your voicemail just to have a generic message without your name.

I don't think you can report him to the cops unless you've asked him not to call you and he keeps doing it anyway. But he should only be told once. My friend's ex stalked her by phone for years. Occasionally she would answer and beg him to leave her alone. The authorities told her that if she was talking to him some of the times she called that they couldn't do anything. She ended up just changing her number because it was easier.
posted by fructose at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2009


He's getting his payoff from hearing your voice, or in the case of a voicemail, imagining your reaction. Take that away from him.

Pick up when he calls. Don't say anything. Put the phone down and walk away. Let him talk into the vacuum. Do it every time.
posted by roshy at 10:57 PM on February 17, 2009


Pick up the phone and say "I do not want to speak to you anymore." Wait until he hangs up. In fact, just put the phone down and wait until you hear the beeping of a disconnected call. Then change your number.

Don't bother the cops, they can't and won't do anything about harassing phone calls. Be on your toes if he escalates it to a stalking situation; pepper spray isn't a bad idea. And if this becomes a legal situation in the future, document everything you can. Save those creepy voicemails and the like.
posted by zardoz at 11:09 PM on February 17, 2009


how about getting a male friend with a nice, deep, serious voice to call him and say
"I'm calling on behalf of (your name here) she asks that you stop calling her. She's not going to answer any of your calls, and if you keep bugging her she'll just change her number, so just stop."

no need for him to say he's your boyfriend or threaten anything, he should just make it clear that you're not going to talk to him and hang up.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:33 PM on February 17, 2009


Why not have the current boyfriend answer one of the calls and deliver the clear "She asked me to answer the phone. She doesn't want to hear from you. Don't contact her again." This serves a dual purpose: The message has been delivered loud and clear, and the ex gets his nose rubbed in the fact that the OP has moved on with her life.

I think it would work better for anonymous to tell old boyfriend herself, rather than having current boyfriend do it.

Reason being, old boyfriend might get some weird idea about the current boyfriend, rather than anonymous's wishes, being behind her not answering his calls. He might think current boyfriend trying to get rid of him, rather than acting at anonymous's request.
posted by Mike1024 at 1:11 AM on February 18, 2009


You could ask the police to just give him a call. This proved highly effective for me. Our final conversation was "I don't want to do this but if you don't stop I will be forced to get the police involved and take further action." Of course the onslaught of harrasment continued so I called the local police station and outlined the situation. I really didn't want to have to get restraining orders and all that sort of crap so I just asked if it would be possible for somebody to maybe call him and say something along the lines of "Look son, the young lady doesn't want to get you in any trouble (because I honest to god didn't) but she really wants all this to stop (which was equally as true) - kinda thing.

They seemed to understand what I was hoping to achieve and said ok. I have no idea what was said but within a few days I knew that that was the end of it. And chance encounters with this person were not awkward, we never spoke of it but I got the impression whoever spoke to him must have handled it really tactfully and effectively conveyed that I wasn't trying to be a bitch about this and he just needed to knock it off. It was so worth that phone call :)

So if I were you I would answer, explain that this is unacceptable and that if he calls again you will be forced to take further action.
The VERY NEXT TIME he calls again (including his private number call 2-3 times routine) call the police. Even if it's 6mths later whatever. (Seriously, he needs to get a clue.) Explain that this joker is continuing his pattern of harrasment dispite your various efforts to just make it stop. :) Hopefully they'll listen and take the 5min to save everyone a lot of greif! Good luck.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 8:38 AM on February 18, 2009


Well, I paid AT&T 6 bucks to block my non-stop caller's number. When he didn't get the hint and harassed me at work, via spoof numbers over VOIP, pay phone, a friend's phone with the number blocked... things escalated.

I eventually filed a restraining order. Harassment is harassment. It was much more than just phone calls after a short while, but those details are not germane to this question. If you can, call your provider, ask if they do some kind of parental monitoring/blocking service, and then you should be able to block up to 15 numbers via Verizon, AT&T, etc.

Otherwise, if he keeps calling, do this on speakerphone:

You: Do NOT call me or contact me via any means again. If you do so, I will press harassment charges. There are witnesses present (have friends present to respond and verify to him they heard you state that he must never contact you again). Then send him a certified letter (or at least an email that contains both of your names, the time and date, or a MySpace message to him that contains a photo of him in the header, that sort of thing) stating the same. Print copies. SAVE THOSE COPIES. DO NOT WRITE ON THEM or they won't be admissible in court later. Color copies are better.

Him: Anything other than "I'm sorry, I'll never call again"... i.e., emails, phone calls, etc. Call 911. Yes, seriously call 911.

Make sure to explain that you are being harassed. If you can, record the call where you state never to make contact again. Make sure you save any emails and print out your phone records should he contact you again by any means. Have the officer come to your home or business and make a report. Show the officer the evidence that you have told him to make no contact with you whatsoever, and then show his number on your phone calling after that date/time and have the witness make his/her statement. If you can get a cop to witness him calling you, even better, as that will go in the police report and cops are the best witnesses you can get.

This works. Trust me. If it doesn't, you can file harassment charges. Just make sure you are keeping evidence, it's very important too that you call 911. Yeah, they handle calls like this every day, don't worry about it.

DO NOT ACCEPT HARASSMENT. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR NUMBER unless you are POSITIVE he can never get it from a mutual friend, networking site, etc. Crazy people find devious ways to contact you. Don't wait, start the paper trail NOW or else you won't be able to prove anything when you need to down the road. Good luck!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:39 AM on February 19, 2009


« Older American movies/TV shows where...   |  The hard drive in my girlfrien... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.