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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When a Guy is Following You Around

Dear Bro Jo,

I was sitting down to email you and I checked your blog and found the article "Crazy Stalker Guy?" which I hadn't read. After reading it I figured you'd probably say something similar to me, but I still have to ask. What I'm trying to say is - thanks for posting letters for us to learn from, it’s like the talks at conference that seem to answer all our questions.

So thanks :)

I'm a seventeen year old girl in my final weeks of high school. I sit at a table of around 10 people, guys and girls, member and non-member (I am lucky to be one of the people who has around 20 members at my school even though its rare where I live). Anyway, one of the guys is really friendly and likes to look out for people. Somehow he met this guy who I believe must have a problem of some sort, and is very socially awkward. He is one of the few people who actually scare me. He is plain creepy and very angry. This guy now sits with us. The thing is he has a crush or something on me. He tells the guys at my table that he likes me whenever I'm not there.

Whenever I walk up the seat next to him is instantly emptied. And he always stares at me funny.

Last week me and my friend went for a walk during lunch and when we got back he wasn't there. We asked about him and they said he told them he was going to stalk someone. I said it was probably me and he'd be back in ten minutes. Lo and behold ten minutes later he strolls up.

This week we actually saw him stalking us while we were walking. He was about ten metres behind us and every time we stopped he would stop and stare at the sky or at us. Then he hid behind a tree when we got back.

Anyway the point is its verging on the point of scary, I'm afraid to be alone with him. In fact I'm almost afraid to be near him ever. So I'm wondering if there is anything I can do? I don't want to be really mean, because I think he has a mental problem. But I don't want to have to put up with it for much longer. I can if I have to, given I've only got 4 weeks left, but I'd rather not.



Dear Scared,

"Christian Charity" does not require you to be in a situation where you feel endangered.

I think you should talk to him. Grab a trusted friend, one who you know won't gossip or belittle this boy, but someone to just be there as a comfort.

Tell him how you feel, and ask him to stop doing what he's doing that makes you nervous.

To keep from putting him on the defensive, don't use the word "you". For example, instead of saying "you freak me out when you stalk me", say "it makes me uncomfortable when people follow me around". See the difference?

If he won't stop, or becomes argumentative or combative, get adult help right away. Tell someone in authority, but don't go around and gossip about this to everyone.

And tell your parents regardless of what you chose to do or how he reacts. Parents need to be in the loop with this kind of stuff.

He's clearly interested in you and your friends, and one could argue that he's just being shy, but neither of those things makes the behavior acceptable.

Be Safe,

- Bro Jo

PS: I appreciate the compliment, but there's nothing here that comes anywhere close to a Conference Talk.

1 comment:

Laura said...

In my home ward, there were many guys in the youth with varying levels of autism and other mental/social disorders.
I realize this letter is from a few months ago (seeing how she had 4 weeks left of school and it is now September), but for anybody reading this who is in a similar situation, the best thing to do is to talk to the person. Whether it is autism or not, many mental and social problems prevent people from picking up on social cues and/or understanding boundaries with what is and is not acceptable. Often they really just need to be talked to. In a firm, but gentle way.

But sometimes, the person does know better than to do some of the things he/she is doing. It is still important to talk with them. And like Bro Jo said - don't go gossip about them or the situation.