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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crazy Stalker Guy?

Dear Bro. Jo,

I am 18, almost 19, and currently just finishing up my first year of University. I've made some wonderful friends here, both members and non-members, and both at school and at church.

In the fall I had a group of friends, most of which for whatever reason no longer really ALL hang out together. My best friend here is a boy. (No, this is not about "dating" or having feelings for him.) We'll call him "Sven". There is another guy in our little group who we will call "Joe". Joe was always a little strange, but I mainly pegged him for not having very good social skills. As the year progressed though, his behaviour got weirder. He basically was stalking Sven. Like, one day, in the space of a couple hours, Joe texted Sven 19 times, even though Sven didn't reply to any of them. Joe has called him at ridiculous hours of the night wanting to talk, or go get coffee. He has even admitted to driving around Sven's neighbourhood just in case he might see Sven so that he could drive him to school.

Joe has become "friends" with all of Sven's closest friends, tried adding family members and family friends of Sven on social networking websites even though he doesn't know them... He even has all of our class schedules memorized, and knows when and where we all hang out so that he can "accidentally" run into us there.

There are a few of us that are just so terrified of running into him, that we have to plan our hangout times accordingly. There are also speculations that Joe is gay, because he has admitted to being attracted to Sven. I don't really know what to believe, because I was raised not to judge people. But because of this, and because of personal experiences in his early life, Sven is terrified, not only that Joe is stalking him, but also that something bad could happen if they are ever alone together.

My friends always come to me for answers because they know I care enough to listen. I've been dealing with this and with my friends hurt for a long time. Last weekend, I persuaded Sven that he needed to tell Joe to back off and that his behavior made him uncomfortable. He did so, and it was hard, but so far Joe has left him alone. I don't know how long it will last, because this is the third or fourth time he has been told to leave us alone, so I doubt it will have a long-standing impact.

I am trying to be Christ-like. I am trying to love everyone, and be kind, but I don't know what to do about Joe. On the one hand, his actions, and the fact that he is scaring some of my best friends so badly makes me really worried and a little angry. I don't feel comfortable around him. I get strong warning bells when he's around, and I know I need to trust that.

I also know that I need to treat him with respect, and I don't want him to think that I hate him. What troubles me is that one of my friends said that if Jesus had a stalker, he would still love and be friends with him. I looked all through the scriptures and I couldn't find anything that really pertains to this situation. My parents are not always the most helpful either, because they are EXTREMELY protective of me, and I have told them everything. They are not exactly kind in their thoughts towards Joe. They don't have very nice things to say, which makes trying to be Christ-like difficult.

My questions are these:

1) What are your thoughts on the situation?

2) How can I be Christ-like and nice when I hear the warning bells and I know what he's doing is wrong?

3) What should I do when Joe asks to hang out? How can I handle the situation without hurting anyone?

Sorry this is so long. I don't know who else to ask.

-The Student Counselor

Dear Student,

1. I think Joe is one mixed up guy.

2. Being Christ-like does not mean putting yourself in bad situations or danger. Those warning bells you hear are promptings of the Spirit; heed them. You can be polite to people and still not invite them into your home. Does that make sense? Just because there are people in the pub, that doesn't make it a good place to proselyte; just because someone is one of God's children, that doesn't mean you should marry them. Be nice, but keep your standards high.

3. If Joe wants to hang out and you feel it's a bad idea (now write this down) . . . say "no thank you".  And that's it.  If you're nice and he feels hurt, that's his problem, not yours.

- Bro Jo

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