So you made some small talk with that shy, awkward guy at a friend’s party just to be nice – and now you can’t shake him. How did he get your number, you ask? Someone must have given it to him, you reply. Well, enough of this talking to yourself, girlfriend. It’s time to lose this guy so you can get a good night’s sleep for a change. He may seem harmless enough, but his persistence sure is creepy
Here then are 10 great ways to avoid your stalker:
- Get Help – One of the first things you’ll want to do is talk about this with as many close friends and family as you’re comfortable with. Enlist their help, provide yourself with a sort of human shield, extra pairs of eyes minding your home, etc.
- Be Unpredictable – Try to avoid sticking too closely to a set routine that he can observe. In cases where you have to stick to a set schedule (school, work, yoga class) make arrangements to go with friends. Use different routes to get there. This could be the perfect time to take the plunge and try out that new ‘do or hair color you’ve been eying.
- Change Contact Info – Phone number (unlisted, of course), email accounts; consider using a post office box if you haven’t already got one.
- Learn the Local Laws – Find out what constitutes stalking in your jurisdiction, what your legal recourse is in case you need to take that route.
- Don’t Accept Gifts or Packages – He may not seem the dangerous type at first, but he obviously hasn’t gotten the message that you’re not interested. Accepting any gifts, cards, etc. from him will only send the wrong message. Remember, this whole thing started because you had a harmless conversation at a party, right?
- Avoid Communication – Don’t assume that he’ll respond favorably to rational conversation. The attention just may backfire on you.
- Document All Contacts and Incidents – Initially, and individually, they may not appear threatening or unusual enough to warrant it, but we’re looking for a pattern here. Stalking almost always begins as a harmless encounter. The more you record-keeping you do now, the easier it will be in the future to establish a threatening pattern, and identify an escalation in his actions. This can be invaluable information if you need to take legal action.
- Report All Unusual or Suspicious Activity – Indications of mail tampering, trash cans opened, your stalker repeatedly turning up in places where you go and he normally wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) go
- Cut Ties – Depending upon your level of discomfort and your investment in these activities, you may decide that it’s best for a while to avoid doing the things and going to the places you’ve both got in common. Meet your friends at other hangouts, try new hobbies. Keep in mind, you’re not sacrificing your life, you’re preserving it when it gets to this step. Those other things will always be there to go back to later.
- Self-Defense – Speaking of new hobbies, onsider taking this opportunity to enroll in a self-defense class, kick-boxing, or if you feel threatened enough, arming yourself with pepper spray or a stun gun.
Trust your instincts. They’re generally a reliable barometer for gauging the threat level, and choosing the proper level of response, if any. Common sense and a healthy sense of self-preservation will go a long way in helping you deal with your new “friend”.