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A twitter follower getting into stalker-uncomfortable territory
May 15, 2014 3:17 PM   Subscribe

I have a follower of my twitter account who's constantly causing alarm bells to go off in my head, and I'm curious how to deal with it.

This is a person who somehow found me and then latched himself on to my account, also making friends with a bunch of people in my social circle. On one hand, he's able to have really in-depth conversations about music and other stuff, sometimes on a surprisingly niche level so that's cool. But then he's pushing buttons all the time, testing my boundaries, and not leaving me any breathing room. For one, he has an "edgy, offensive" sense of humor that always rubs me the wrong way when it's not desperately seeking attention. Sometimes it's offensive to the point of being deeply misogynist or racist, and I then have to call him out. Sometimes he does this in multiple @ conversations with people I really look up to, which is embarrassing.

This person also replies to every. single. tweet. I make, so like if I tweet random ridiculous shit 4 times a day, he can be guaranteed to make a joke in response to each and every one. He has major self-esteem problems and a persecution complex - the world is out to get him, all women consider him unlovable. Yesterday he said that sociopaths don't exist, they're just unloved and determined. He's figured out my first name somehow, even though I run an anonymous account.

I just sent him a direct message telling him to dial it back a bit and not respond so much, I need room to breathe. His response: "I empathize. I'm just looking for validation because I'm very sad and my life is empty. I won't bother you anymore." I told him that I didn't mean to offend. His response: "It's hard not to be offended. You seem like an awesome person and all I wanted was to be friends and for you to like me."

So now on one hand I feel really bad. On the other this feels manipulative.

I consider myself nice to a fault, and I never want to hurt people who seem to be hurting. But twitter is not worth all this drama, yall. Do I just block and close off communication? I fear he might be mentally unhealthy and this could lead to some repercussions, but maybe I'm being melodramatic. The other possibility is he has some (non-platonic) affection for me? Which, how do I deal with that situation exactly.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't talk to him any more.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:23 PM on May 15 [25 favorites]


I am generally against block/ignore/delete responses but have blocked one person on Twitter. I think the way the medium works, it's got less down side than blocking or ignoring in other social media.

If you don't want to do that (yet), reply to him sparingly. Try to focus on replying to things you want to see more of. Some people who are in desperate need of attention will respond to whatever attention they get. Thus, if you give them negative attention for bad behavior, it begets more bad behavior. Also, if he has non-platonic affection, double up on the "I only pay attention to you for behaviors I like" stuff.

You could look up "clicker training" which uses the same basic concept of positive reinforcement for behaviors you want to see more of instead of punishment for things you want stopped.
posted by Michele in California at 3:25 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


You block him. He doesn't respect your boundaries. Your twitter account is there for his benefit, and you are not responsible for his mental state. So you deal with the situation by blocking him.
posted by Linnee at 3:26 PM on May 15 [35 favorites]


It's the internet, you're not friends, you owe him nothing. Block him and move on.
posted by desjardins at 3:27 PM on May 15 [35 favorites]


Block him.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:27 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Any "repercussions" this leads to are this individual's own choice. You are not responsible for other people's actions or emotions.

Block him and save yourself from drama. There are many many people in this world you can be nice to, with the time you save by not engaging with this drama.
posted by Solomon at 3:28 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Just block him. His poor social skills don't have to be your concern.
posted by Aquifer at 3:31 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Block him. The people you admire on Twitter aren't going to care one way or another. If your friends want to engage with him, you can ignore those conversations.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:33 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


You might also consider not following that user. You mentioned you DMed him, that means you are both following each other, right?
posted by mulligan at 3:34 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


The details sort of don't matter. Block if he makes you uncomfortable. Don't DM with him any more. Unfollow him at the minimum.
posted by jessamyn at 3:35 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


It's hard not to be offended. (from his reply)

This line right here is how you can tell he's not approaching this in good faith. If he genuinely didn't intend to overstep your boundaries, he would have apologized, not claimed offense. I'm super awkward and overly forward and have terrible emotional boundaries, but when someone asks me to take a step back, I'm effusively apologetic and want to avoid doing it again at all costs. This guy just wants you to feel bad for him. Block him!
posted by dialetheia at 3:37 PM on May 15 [67 favorites]


I feel like your discomfort is probably telling you something here. You don't owe this guy anything.
posted by SoftRain at 3:37 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Unfollow, block, disengage, do not respond, move on. No drama, no mess. Success!
posted by barnone at 3:38 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


This is 100% manipulation. He's looking for someone who has no boundaries, or who doesn't defend them when pressed. Any repercussions you get for blocking him will be much less than ones you end up with if you keep interacting where you will find out he is at least a creep and possibly dangerous.
posted by jeather at 3:41 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


If he genuinely didn't intend to overstep your boundaries, he would have apologized, not claimed offense.

This was the crux of a recent FPP about how socially awkward isn't an excuse for boundary-crossing behavior. He is hoping to push your boundaries further and further. He is hoping for someone who is afraid of being anything but "nice" so that he can take advantage. If he wasn't, he wouldn't have continued pushing after you asked him to stop. Do not feel bad about protecting yourself from this guy!
posted by brainmouse at 3:47 PM on May 15 [17 favorites]


Block block block. This isn't like shunning a distant cousin at a wedding; this is someone you have no actual social obligations toward. It just feels like you do because he interacts with you in a way that makes you feel like he's a part of your social group. But he is not.

He offends you often and you do not actually like him. Cut him out of your life and environment and never look back.
posted by Andrhia at 3:51 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


"I empathize. I'm just looking for validation because I'm very sad and my life is empty. I won't bother you anymore." I told him that I didn't mean to offend. His response: "It's hard not to be offended. You seem like an awesome person and all I wanted was to be friends and for you to like me."

This certainly reads as manipulative to me.

Don't even give him another chance. Block and move on. Especially since there's no offline interaction with him at all.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:53 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


My finger is tired from clicking like on all the block comments. Unfollow him. Block him. Move on. Be careful.
posted by chasles at 3:57 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


If blocking isn't enough you can always mute him. Just added.
posted by dekathelon at 4:06 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Block and read here http://findouteverything.tumblr.com/post/85851549355/shining-light-on-cutoff-culture . Manipulative and stalking you. Don't engage when he escalates. Take care!
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:33 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Depending on how cross-pollinated your life is, consider asking the mods to make the original post and follow-ups anon. Also, check your memail!
posted by rtha at 5:15 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


He's figured out my first name somehow, even though I run an anonymous account.

This is just a tad creepy. And by just a tad, I mean watch yourself, be careful, this person sounds like a problem.
posted by cashman at 5:51 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


You have good instincts, so pay attention. You've been tolerant, and you made a reasonable request. He responded poorly. You have a responsibility to be decent to people, you were. You are not responsible for his happiness.
posted by theora55 at 6:34 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Seconding rtha. Your internet profiles are very, very interlinked. You link your twitter on your mefi profile; I found myself being bored/procrastinating online and combing through your tweets wondering who in your feed this person was. Unless you're trying to passive-aggressively let this guy know his attention isn't wanted through mefi, you probably want to anonymize this question. And yeah, he is still manipulative and inappropriate, and it's OK to block him and move on.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:37 PM on May 15


Anonymized the question, this is from the OP:
I felt guilty and bad about the whole thing until I read these replies, especially dialethia's. Blocked, thanks everyone.
posted by jessamyn at 8:58 PM on May 15 [11 favorites]


Yeah, as to that that bad feeling? Making you feel bad is Asshole 101. It's strategy. Good for you for blocking him.
Your readers will be happier, too. It's uncomfortable for everyone who sees this happening. People think "why won't she block him? Maybe they're better friends than I thought. But ewww, why would she like that guy?"
posted by Omnomnom at 12:30 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


Uh, anon, I've now forgotten your mefi name, but apologies if I creeped you out with the previous message. It bored clickthroughs, and then I realized 'oh wow, I am at this dude's twitter, that is not cool and the stalker could be doing this too.' Sorry about that. :/
posted by moonlight on vermont at 12:34 AM on May 16


Something that just occurred to me - this person is Typecasting you.
posted by Solomon at 2:49 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


One thing to keep in mind that if you have a public Twitter account, he can always sign out and just go to your page to see your tweets. Blocking should be enough to get the more casual smothering type of follower to back off, but if he really wants to he can still see your tweets. If this is a concern, consider making your account private.

You may also want to mute his username, if the sight of other followers interacting with him in your timeline causes anxiety. There's nothing wrong with this - I do it myself. Not only do I not want this person following me, but I don't want to be reminded of how they infiltrated my whole Twitter social circle.
posted by misskaz at 9:14 AM on May 16


Tweet about your aunt being a ninja, so he knows you're not to be approached physically, and then block him after. You are clearly a compassionate person for even considering his feelings, but he has problems you could only enable with your attention. I hope this will be the end of it for you and you can enjoy twitter again very soon.
posted by Philemon at 11:01 AM on May 16


Please listen to those who said "Block him", your empathy is being engaged and you've reached the point where you are asking us this question. I've had a similar problem and once you get sucked in, it can get nastier than imagined. I've had to mothball my real name twitter account earlier this spring.
posted by infini at 11:25 AM on May 16


misogyny and racism? i would denounce him in a series of vicious tweets to all my other followers, and THEN i would block him.
posted by bruce at 4:18 PM on May 16


bruce : "misogyny and racism? i would denounce him in a series of vicious tweets to all my other followers, and THEN i would block him."

No. Do not engage the drama and possible stalkerishness. Wordlessly block and ignore.
posted by Lexica at 8:51 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


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