Politely tell former co-worker I'm not interested in staying friends?
March 21, 2015 11:48 PM   Subscribe

I left a job recently, and there's a former co-worker who keeps contacting me.

He always sought me out, never the other way around. Among work friends, I considered him a second tier friend, someone I probably wouldn't hang out with outside of work. He'd come around my desk and stay too long, but I attributed that to him not having enough work to do, as I wasn't the only person he liked to visit. While I liked him well enough, and we had things to talk about (I find it easy to converse with most people) when I left the position, I wasn't really interested in keeping the friendship going. I thought it would be easy and natural for things to just fade out.

Instead, he began calling, texting, emailing. He contacts me much more than he ever did when I was at that job. And he's very insistent about wanting to get together, even offering to come see me on weekends. He's married with kids, his wife is ill, and he does not live particularly close to me. Although I'm a bit wary of his intentions, he's never done or said anything overtly inappropriate.

But at the same time there were subtle things, like he'd often comment on my appearance (not in a sleazy way, but about small details the average person wouldn't notice), or he'd talk about thinking about me late at night and wanting to call me (I purposely never told him it would be ok to do so, didn't want to set that precedent).

I don't want to be a jerk, as we'd been friendly, but I also want to set boundaries. I respond maybe every 3rd message or so. I'm polite, but no more than that, and I never agree to meet up, even though he mentions it every time.

He tells me how it's just not the same without me at work, how he misses me; I tell him I've moved on, do not miss anything about my old job and am incredibly busy (hint, hint).

He also brings up that I'm not being responsive to him. Recently he left me message asking why I wasn't responding when he's contacted me so much, that he fears I've given him up. That's when he went from mildly irritating to downright annoying.

Part of me just wants to straight up ignore him, but part of me also feels bad; like maybe I'm just overreacting and he's just a friendly, if obtuse, person?

Before he got pushy, I would've been fine getting together once in awhile for coffee, but now I feel like I'd really prefer no contact at all as he seems to take any response as an invitation to keep going. I'd like to do the fade out, but maybe it's better to be up front and respectfully tell him I'm not interested in being friends at all? It seems harsh, but perhaps necessary?
posted by arbor day to Human Relations (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is there any reason you can't just block his texts and calls and send his emails directly to the trash? Perhaps you can't because you need to maintain some contact for business reasons, but if not, that's what I'd do. It sounds like this married guy with an ill wife is looking for greener pastures, and that officially edges him over from annoying into creepy, in my book.
posted by holborne at 11:55 PM on March 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


Don't feel bad. You have no reason to.

Just text him and say that you enjoyed being friends with him at work, but now your new job and boyfriend and your boyfriends family (hint,hint) are taking up all of your time; and that you don't see yourself being able to bridge a connection between your life as it is now and your old life as it was at the old job.

I know this is not entirely honest, but it's honest enough. Something about this guy's persistence skeeves me out a bit and for some reason I think complete honesty might get you into trouble with this guy. Might be safer to pretend you have a boyfriend and his family and your family around you a lot right now. He shouldn't get the idea that you spend much time alone anywhere. Anyway that's just my hunch. Oh and after you let him know this you've already made things clear so if he continues to contact you- do not respond. Ignore ignore ignore. If he comes to your place unannounced at some point do not let him in. Even if he just wants to "talk".
posted by rancher at 12:29 AM on March 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


he's never done or said anything overtly inappropriate... he'd talk about thinking about me late at night and wanting to call me

Y'know, that definitely crosses over into overtly inappropriate, in my (straight dude) book. I personally would never say that to a work friend. Unless that work friend was someone I genuinely wanted to be more-than-work-friends with, and even then I'd be a ton less intense about it. There's a difference between "Hey, Work Friend, I saw something on my walk home last night that reminded me of that thing that you were talking about, and -- ha ha -- I almost called you," and "I think about you late at night and want to call you."

So, 1) this guy has made it blindingly, annoyingly, clear that he's into you, and you are 2) pretty much tired of trying to pretend -- for the benefit of his ego -- that this doesn't make you uncomfortable.

I feel like someone as pushy as you're describing won't handle frankness (let alone avoidance) all that well, so a pointed but "soft" (but official) goodbye message might be the best initial move. If he's indeed a "friendly, if obtuse" person, something along the lines of rancher's script will probably do the trick. Just be sure to be firm about it; try not to leave things open to interpretation/exploitation on his part (i.e., no "I can't hang out right now, but just "I can't hang out.")

If you think he can handle it -- as in not lash out or escalate, not as in protecting his feelings -- you can try biting the bullet and being totally honest. This might not stop his behavior entirely and immediately (people aren't robots), but some straight talk/reality can frequently jolt people out of negative cycles.
posted by credible hulk at 12:50 AM on March 22, 2015 [27 favorites]


"Do you really want to know why I'm not responding? You are being far too pushy. You are coming across as stalker-ish, to be honest. It makes me very uncomfortable, so please just back off. If I want to be in touch with you, I will contact you."

Then judge him by his response or lack thereof. If he messages you back with excuses or reasons why he wants to be in touch, block him because he values his feelings over yours. If he maintains a respectful silence, give him credit where credit is due, and maybe send him a text in December wishing him a merry Christmas.

Don't tell him you enjoyed your work friendship if you didn't. You are going to have to be blunt to bring this to a head, one way or another. And I think this is one of the situations where you have to be cruel to be kind.

Would you prefer to let him down gently now so that you have to eventually tell him to fuck the hell off because he just will not leave you alone, or politely tell him now that you don't want him constantly contacting you?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:08 AM on March 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


"Hey guy, Just writing you one last time to say good bye. I've started a new life now and I'm pouring all my energy into that. Hope you have a good life! Good bye." And then don't react to increasingly frustrated replies.

Maybe something like that?
posted by Omnomnom at 2:21 AM on March 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm usually the first to say don't jump to conclusions and of course male and female can be just friends, even best friends but I don't think that's what's going on here. He is outright flirting with you, no-one says they're thinking of you late at night and wanting to call you in a friendly way.... honestly the way he's acting makes it seems like he thinks you're already in a relationship - I'm thinking of you and want to call you is something I might say to someone in the early stages of a relationship. And he feels entitled to your time and responsiveness - something you might be entitled to in a relationship, or maybe a very close friendship.
He's not taking the hint, he has in fact escalated so I think you need to be completely blunt with him. If a friend only responded to 1 in 3 attempts at contact, most people would get the hint and dial it back, understand that this person doesn't think about them in the same way or like them as much as they thought, he clearly is not one of those people. Tell him you were only responding to him at all, to be polite, you've never thought of him as anything more than a coworker

It must be hard for him if his wife is sick but you shouldn't in any way encourage him to continue this behavior, even to save his feelings.
posted by missmagenta at 2:21 AM on March 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


No need to make contact. Thats all. If you get more texts/emails/calls than you feel you can deal with, just block that person.

Thats all. I thought this was SOP after leaving any job.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:20 AM on March 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


You are being a social-pleaser to someone who is not socially pleasing you. You don't have to socially function for someone else, in particular a person un-related to you, a former colleague, and someone who is crossing your boundaries, even if they have not been stated. You are realising what those boundaries are - he is inappropriate, insistent, accusatory, pouting - and you are annoyed, confused and avoidant.

In these situations I try to think of a true thing that I could say succinctly to move from being socially pleasing to self pleasing and honouring. In this case I might go with 'X, I'd like you to stop contacting me now that I have ended Y employment please. Z.' because that is the fact of the matter.

You could say a lot of other things to 'soften' things up by pointing at yourself, like 'I'm busy' or 'I've moved on' or whatever, but what's the point?
Or you could justify/escalate tension by pointing at him and saying 'your communication style is intrusive' or 'we weren't that close at work, so I don't get you persisting with these attempts at communication' or 'you don't seem to be taking the slow fade hint' etc but what's the point?

The succinct thing is what you actually need, and that is the communication needs to stop.
posted by honey-barbara at 3:24 AM on March 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


I don't want to be a jerk, as we'd been friendly, but I also want to set boundaries.

You were being cordial to a work colleague. He was hoping to leave his ill wife at home alone with the kids while he sneaked out to bone you behind your boyfriend's back. Who's the jerk?

Cut him off. Block him everywhere. If he still manages to contact you, he's a stalker.
posted by pracowity at 3:32 AM on March 22, 2015 [21 favorites]


"Sorry, it won't be possible for me to hang out with you anymore, or even answer your messages."

Then block him on everything.
posted by zennie at 3:36 AM on March 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


X, I'd like you to stop contacting me now that I have ended Y employment please. Z

If you're going to be that direct, drop the "please".
posted by Omnomnom at 3:49 AM on March 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


This guy's behavior is ringing all kinds of "Gift of Fear" alarm bells for me, especially the bit where he's getting angry that you don't respond. See the chapter "Persistence, Persistence".

I would take Gavin de Becker's advice and send one final, unambiguous message saying you don't want to stay in touch and then block/ignore all his messages from then on.
posted by RubyScarlet at 4:31 AM on March 22, 2015 [36 favorites]


He definitely has a crush on you and has romantic intentions; this isn't about wanting to be ' friends'.
posted by bearette at 5:21 AM on March 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


You are most definitely not over-reacting: the guy sounds like a stalker --- that "thinking about you late at night" bit is downright creepy. Send him one, and only one!, message: skip the 'please', go with a straight 'Do not contact me again'. Do not meet him anywhere (but especially not at your home). Block him on all social media, on your phone or texts and anything else, then never respond to him again.

Please note this: you are not in any way required to be polite, let alone respond to, anyone who feels like contacting you. Not responding does not mean you are rude or mean or impolite, it just means that you don't want to be in contact with that person: no matter how much they might want to be in contact with you, you are not required to respond. (Hell, if anybody is being rude in this situation, it's him, for continuing to bug you!)

The reason to send him just one clear "Do not contact me ever again" message then go totally radio-silent is, there's a thing called an extinction burst. You say you've been responding about every third message, so Mr. Married Creepy has learned that's what he needs to do to get something back from you. If you responded to every tenth message, then he'd ramp up how many he sends to you: you answer his tenth message, he says ahah! and immediately sends ten more to get another response. The only way you can 'win' this is to send him nothing whatsoever: if you sent an exasperated "I told you never to contact me again!" after his one-hundredth, then he's just learned what it takes to get a response --- and getting a response, any response, is exactly what he wants.
posted by easily confused at 5:33 AM on March 22, 2015 [31 favorites]


He is not trying to remain friends. He's aggressively pursuing you. He was attracted to you at work and misinterpreted your friendly responses to mean you were interested in him. Maybe he thinks you kept things friendly because of work, or he's knows he's safe to be vocal about his attraction because on the off-chance he's wrong you can't claim sexual harassment. Whatever the case, unbeknownst to you, you've been a fantasy that he's played out in his head and he's using your exit from work as a reason to get more aggressive. You need to nip this in the bud, stat.

There's actually some science behind this that might help you understand what's going on. I first read about it a few years ago in the NYTimes when they wrote about a study showing how men who haven't had sex in a while can misinterpret a woman's smile as an indication that she wants to have sex. Here's a recent article about this. And another. Basically, men are more likely to interpret a woman's friendliness as "she wants me" and women are more likely to interpret men's sexual interest as "he's just being friendly." Women can make the "he wants me" mistake too, it just doesn't happen as often. The example the article uses is Ryan Gosling, or just think of your absolute favorite movie star. Now imagine that this person whom you would totally marry and procreate with is repeatedly smiling and being friendly to you. You're thinking, "Wow, maybe he likes me? Is it possible? he's being so friendly, just the way he smiles at me!" What's going on in this guy's head is probably more like what his friends might say to him if they saw you smiling at him. "Oh man, she totally wants you. Look at the way she's smiling at you. And now there's no office politics to get in the way so go get her, tiger!" So it's not the smile per se, it's how a guy who really wants this to be true, interprets it. This is what he escalated in his head while you thought you were just being friendly.

The bottom line is he is being both clueless and aggressive and you need to be blunt with him that you were never interested in him, he misinterpreted your friendliness from day one and you will not be responding to his messages in the future. Maybe send him this article on the science and tell him that he needs to wise up. Sometimes a smile is just a smile.
posted by lillian.elmtree at 5:47 AM on March 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm agreeing with everyone above. He either wants to sleep with you or chop you up and keep you in his freezer. It's okay to say no and to ignore. You don't owe him anything.
posted by myselfasme at 5:57 AM on March 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


He's sleazy. Since you don't work together any more, but still don't want to make things uncomfortable, you're his target.

Drop him. Block him.

Politeness not required.
posted by RainyJay at 6:02 AM on March 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I respond maybe every 3rd message or so.

Stop.

Part of me just wants to straight up ignore him, but part of me also feels bad.

Don't feel bad.

He's a little scary. Just stop responding, block him where you can. Don't write an "it's over" note - it could inflame him. Just stop responding and close any open channels.
posted by Miko at 7:16 AM on March 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


There is really no sure-fire won't hurt someone's feelings way to say that you don't want them in your life. Which doesn't at all mean you shouldn't tell him. He doesn't deserve the protection of his feelings you're giving him because he certainly hasn't given a damn about yours. He's been demanding, he's been pushy, he's been a total dick...and that's me putting it mildly.

No more responses. Cut him off completely.
posted by inturnaround at 7:22 AM on March 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


his wife is ill

Also, unless you have independent proof of this, be skeptical. It's a fairly common trope for f'ed up, predatory guys to develop some reason their wife is unavailable or the nature of their relationship with their wife is no longer romantic. I think on some twisted level this is designed to alleviate any guilt their marks might feel, and also to make them seem as though they have tragically unmet needs, to trigger a sympathetic nurturing impulse on the part of the mark.

Of course, she might really be ill, but that is not your problem. It would definitely be a problem for me, though, if my husband were persistently calling and texting someone he formerly worked with and asking to get together. Maybe don't worry so much about letting him down, worry about letting her down by not totally washing your hands of this.
posted by Miko at 7:24 AM on March 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


...he seems to take any response as an invitation to keep going.

That would make sense. You're continuing to engage in conversation and you're not saying flat out, "I'm not interested," so why wouldn't he think you wanted to be friends?

And that's fine and I'm not casting any judgment. We all want to be friendly and pleasant. It's clear that now you want him to leave you alone, so you can either stop responding to him completely and block him or you can send him one message that says, "I'm not interested," and then block him for good.

Either way, block him for good. You had no idea he was going to become creepy.
posted by kinetic at 7:30 AM on March 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Green is rarely this unanimous, OP. You have nothing whatsoever to gain from being ambiguous or even polite to this guy. Radio silence and block/trash is fine; or if you want, one firm "Bob, realistically we are not going to be seeing each other socially, and I'm not interested in continuing to correspond. Best wishes to you; please do not contact me again" and then radio silence and block/trash.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:09 AM on March 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


This happened to me, several years ago, at my workplace. Here's what happened, and here's why you should go no-contact with this guy now. This is also why you should not feel bad by ignoring him and going no contact.

I had just ended a long term relationship, and was working the overtime shift at work to make extra money. After mentioning out loud to a friend that I needed help moving into my new (downsized apartment) that weekend, another guy in the room that I had never met chimed in and offered to help with the move.

Oh, how kind! I thought. So of course I said yes, it would be great to have another pair of hands to help with the move. He came over with two other coworkers who got me all moved me in. After the two other coworkers left, he noticed my vulnerable state (I was visibly depressed, considering all of the changes in my life at that time) and asked if I would like to have dinner with his wife, children and in-laws. I told him I didn't want to impose; he insisted; and he called his family to let them know I would be coming over to eat with them.

Keep in mind, I was not even remotely attracted to this guy. He came across as very friendly and down to earth, even a bit 'harmless', so being a naive woman in her early twenties I thought he was just a nice dude looking to be friends.

I get over to his family's house and come to find out, not only is his wife pregnant, but she has daggers in her eyes for me. He and his wife clearly resented each other, and it started to become obvious that I had been brought there to become a pawn in their hate game. The in-laws were polite, but suspicious of me. It was also pretty awkward because "dinner" was just a bunch of random food matter that they had dropped into the deep frier. And they were all sitting around in big recliners watching some PGA tour with Tiger Woods.

THEN the worst part. He started to compare me, out loud, to his wife.

"Hey [wife], did you know that nightrecordings likes the same music as me?"

"Oh. Wow. Great." says wife, in the most sardonic tone of voice ever.

"Hey [wife], did you know that nightrecordings likes this film director I like, who you happen to not like?"

"Okay." says wife.

(Me, this whole time, mortified.)

There's more to the story, but to keep it as simple as possible: In the following weeks, he started to get very open with me about his unhappiness in his marriage, his mental health, his excessive spending and how it put them in bankruptcy, etc. He would also tell me about another female friend he had, who he said would come over about once a week for dinner and who his wife was "fine with" but then he'd hint that she wasn't fine with it at all, and that it was causing problems for them.

It reached a point where he was not only text messaging me constantly every night, but also sending me social media messages, calling me on my work phone and asking me to have lunch with him, coming over to my desk in the morning before work, et cetera. I took him up on lunch at one point, and he drove us to a nearby restaurant in his car. We had a short chat in the car afterward and went back to work.

This is what led to the final straw. A day or two later he sends me a PM on social media saying, "So, was it just me, or did you feel something between us the other day at lunch when we were in the car?"

I was furious. This guy had a wife, I only wanted to be friends, and was so unattracted to him I couldn't believe it was possible that he'd interpret any of my behavior, words, or body language as anything other than generic friendliness. I shot him back a PM that said, in essence, "How dare you contact me with such an absurd and inappropriate suggestion, and on social media where it's now documented and anyone who wants to get into your account and look at your messages can see it [i.e. the wife]. You're married, and I have had no interest in you other than a workplace friendship and occasional conversation. Do not contact me again."

He freaked and started sending me a billion more PMs to apologize, as well as text messages, etc. He kept trying to contact me at work, including making me a mix CD and bringing it to my desk. This guy worked in my department but his desk was on the other side of the building, so he had no work-related reason to be anywhere near my desk during the day.

After two days, I worked up the guts to go to management and tell them that this guy would not stop contacting me after I had told him to cease all contact with me, and that some of that contact was coming via work email and work telephone. Management pulled him into a room and told him, according to my supervisor anyway, that if he contacted me again he wouldn't have a job. My supervisor also went into Mama Bear mode and kept an eye out to make sure he wasn't walking around anywhere near our side of the building.

I never heard from him again. Rumor has it he eventually transferred to another office and was later diagnosed with cancer. Do I feel bad that he has cancer? Absolutely. Do I feel bad that I asked management to intervene? No. His behavior was inappropriate and ignoring him did not work, because he still had "access" to me at work.

My point is: since you're no longer at a work place with this guy, you don't have the benefit of HR/management to go to and intervene. However, you DO have the benefit of not having to see him in person anymore. And he doesn't live close to you. This makes it much easier to go "no contact" than to "slow fade", the latter of which is not very effective on stalkerish types.

Don't entertain his text messages, emails, phone calls, whatever. Zero contact. Block his numbers, block his email addresses, block him on any and all social media where he can see you.

And remember: if a stalker calls you 31 times, and you ignore the first 30 phone calls but pick up that 31st call, all that teaches a stalker is "If I just call this person 31 times, they will answer." Do not give him anything. You have to teach him that there is nothing that will yield an answer.

Don't pity this guy and talk to him because you feel bad. He is not your ward. He is not your patient. He is not your responsibility. He has his own problems that he needs to work out on his own. If you really want to help him, choose to not enable his behavior. Responding to him enables him because he thinks his behavior works, because it yields a response. He needs to learn that his behavior does not work under any circumstance.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:12 AM on March 22, 2015 [36 favorites]


Thanks, everyone. It seems pretty consistent across the board that he's out of line and I'm not reading too much into things.

Now that I think back on it, there were other odd moments that I tended to disregard. Even him asking for my phone number was just plain weird.

We never communicated outside of work, but one day he asked me for my number, apropos of nothing and he gave me a long, convoluted (and I now suspect, rehearsed) reason. I thought I was imagining it at the time, that he sounded nervous, to the point that I had difficulty following what he was saying.

I was talking to him on my work line about something, and he asked if he could get my personal number. He said he wanted to call me over the weekend because he might be in my city (he lives in the suburbs, and work was also out in the burbs) and would I be around, maybe we could get together, he didn't want to impose, and if not this weekend then maybe another, he was often in the city because he knew a lot of people there.... It was a little strange but nbd, so I gave him my number. He called my mobile as soon as I hung up the other line, and was like, "Now you have my number too," and I thought, I don't want your number, but whatever. But what I did do was add his name immediately and instinctively — in order to screen his calls.

During the summer, he'd sometimes bring me vegetables from his garden. It was a nice gesture and I always thanked him for it, but then one day he said he wanted to stop by on the weekend to bring me vegetables from his garden. He only said "stop by" and never went so far as to say "stop by your place," so at first I was like, stop by where? Work? I'm not at work on the weekends. And then I realized he meant where I lived. It felt odd, like a pretext. THAT felt entirely presumptuous because I'd never told him where I lived, and very little about my personal life. He also lives like an hour away, and he was going to go all that way to drop off some tomatoes with me on the weekend? Why wasn't he spending that time with his family? I told him I was never around.

He would usually venture something — like visiting me on the weekend — and then back off, saying he didn't want to be inappropriate. I think he might've been testing the waters and waiting for me to say, oh no, it's cool, call me at 11 pm, or come by my place here's my address, or come into the city and let's go do something — none of which I ever did. While I was still at that job, he'd bring it up, but he never pursued it, so it seemed innocuous whatever it was.

Part of the reason I gave him the benefit of the doubt was because of his sick wife. He rarely mentioned her and I didn't want to pry but it was known that she was quite ill. I also didn't want to judge. If he found some relief by flirting with women in the office (I'm not the only one), so be it. I don't know what it's like to care for a seriously ill spouse, I imagine it is incredibly difficult, and I thought he was a stand up guy for caring for her. But while that may all be true, it is also not my problem, and my problem is that his overtures were making me increasingly uncomfortable.

When I left, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with him anymore. I'd even started stepping away from my desk whenever I saw him making his rounds of peoples' cubicles.

I never put much this thought into any of it until now, but it all seems to add up to a big red flag.

This is all a very long way of saying, I think everyone is right. I'm going to send him an unambiguous goodbye message and then block him.
posted by arbor day at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2015 [26 favorites]


After reading OP's response, just want to add: sending him an unambiguous good bye message may add fuel to the fire. I say this because then, rather than him responding to the silence by asking why you aren't talking to him - and then hopefully, eventually giving up because of a continued wall of silence - you'll be giving him information that he's going to want to try and refute. Whatever you say, he'll want to argue. More than he has before. But you can't really argue with silence.

You really don't owe this guy anything, including a formal "good bye" or any form of closure.
posted by nightrecordings at 9:40 AM on March 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nightrecordings, you make a good point. Sometimes, though, a stalkee needs to send a final goodbye message as documentation of a clear, unambiguous dismissal. That way, in case the legal system or other forms of organized protection prove necessary, police can't brush off complaints as "lovers' spats" due to lack of written evidence.

It's sexist as hell and counterproductive like you said, but right now it might be the safest thing to do.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:06 AM on March 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ugh, creepy. You made the right decision, OP.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 10:32 AM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


and then back off, saying he didn't want to be inappropriate

In my experience, when people say this, what they mean is "I am aware that I am being inappropriate but I want you to react as though I were not."
posted by KathrynT at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


Yeah, nthing that he desperately wants to fuck you and he needs cutting off if you're not going to.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:15 PM on March 22, 2015


When I left, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with him anymore

Oh yeah. Listen to yourself. Yourself is smart and knows to get away.
posted by Miko at 1:15 PM on March 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does the OP really need to send a "don't contact me" message for legal reasons? Ugh. Given my preferences, I'd block them and just not respond.

If you are going to send them a message, OP, make it harsh and unmistakeable: "Former Coworker, I am not interested in a relationship. You are making me uncomfortable. Stop contacting me."

He will almost certainly respond with a barrage of texts and messages, which you can then block. But then he will hopefully drop it.

If he also escalates, and god forbid, proceeds to actual stalking, I would not only contact the police but your former employer's HR department. Especially if he is using work email or phone to contact you.
posted by emjaybee at 4:19 PM on March 22, 2015


OP should definitely respond with a message saying "do not contact me any more" and document the hell out of that message before blocking him on every possible medium he might use to contact you. If he keeps it up, take it to the cops. Stalkers get scary, even if they're not saying anything overtly threatening.
posted by angelchrys at 6:06 PM on March 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I"m glad you decided on what you have... but don't block him. Just do as you said- send him an unambiguous goodbye and never respond again. Then instead of blocking him, create an email filter where any messages he sends you will automatically go to a separate folder. Archive/Save his messages in case things escalate and you need to prove he has ignored your requests to cease contact. I doubt this will happen, but there are so many stories of people who blocked someone so they had no idea they were still being stalked and by the time they realized they were, they couldn't go to police and show all the messages they had received after asking for no contact because they never got them or saved them.

(FYI This is coming form someone that doesn't have a facebook etc so "block" may mean a different thing on those sites than on email, I don't know.)
posted by rancher at 7:01 AM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree with the suggestion that you not block him immediately -- set up the email filter and all just in case he decides to escalate. God forbid he's the kind of creeper who thinks that a grand gesture like showing up on your doorstep is the way to win your affections. And please be careful.
posted by sarcasticah at 7:47 AM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


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