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The fine line between friendly following and being a nuisance

I’m having a rant again. This time about stalking. Or the fine line between friendly following and being a nuisance.

These days I have to say my rants these days are far from aggressive, more that I feel miffed. Many years ago when I did my NLP training I created an anchor on my fingers. It went like this rage, anger, annoyed, miffed. Miffed being well it’s slightly irritating but ho hum, in a gentle your behaviour says more about you than me, way.

There are friendly following behaviours and then ones that are not so nice. Some of them feel as if we are being stalked. We often joke about ‘stalking’ people on social media. Which is reality is following them with good intentions. You would like them to notice you for the right reasons and I guessing you would never be in their face and rude if they did not obey you.

I’m curious about the choice of words I use – did not obey you. You see stalking, being a nuisance in this sense, the not so nice sense is about control. These people want to take away your personal power and for you to bow to their ego’s.

My friends, do not let this happen. Put away your brothel creepers and step away from your computer.

For the psychologists reading this, you will understand better than I why stalking and control can take over someone’s life. I cannot begin to imagine what must have happened in someone’s life to make them feel so insecure that they have to exert their ego onto another.

I have a simple rule about control and inappropriate behaviour. The question I ask myself is this. Do I care enough about you to respond? If the answer is no, then said stalker is removed from my sociaverse. Dumped, blocked, no calls and no connection. I don’t care, you can eff off and I can do this easily.

But what about the people that I do care about? It’s certainly not my place to sit them down and say ‘listen, about your narcissistic tendencies, we need to talk.’ I imagine I might not leave alive.

Telling these to go and get stuffed might seem like a good response in the moment, however, with a bit of emotional intelligence, you can get through this.

Let’s get back to the point in question. The fine line between friendly following and being a nuisance on social media.

A friend talked to me about a woman who’s group she was in. It had all started well and she was getting a lot from it. Then she decided to expand and join a few other groups. In these groups were offers, courses, coaching, e-books and all kinds of helpful supporting ideas. The first women upon noticing the activity in these other groups followed my friend. Nothing wrong in that. However, the more the other person was taking over her comment threads, the more uncomfortable she felt. Her words were ‘her comments becoming increasingly manipulative, what do I do?‘ She described the comments as having aggressive undertones.  My friend also remarked that the one time she had attended a workshop she felt that was unable to express herself without being told how to live her life.

The final straw came when my friend received a personal message that clearly demonstrated the extent to which said person felt about her alleged defection.

This is just one example and I do not know the details, only that my friend feels uncomfortable.

Increasing, I’ve also noticed that within the world of dog rescue that there are some dreadful trolls. Why call them trolls, it takes away my childhood memories of my blue haired friends? How can people be so rude to people who sacrifice so much for animals?

There is no bravery in sitting at a computer keyboard and spewing vile words. Yet people do. They follow people around and deliver acid words without any facts or consideration. It is beyond me. If you can’t say anything nice, keep your mouth shut.

What can you do to protect yourself?

First of all, assess the level of danger you might be in. That might sound dramatic, but your safety is paramount. That includes emotional safety as well as physical.

As a writer and journaler, my next suggestion for you who is being stalked is to explore what is going on by writing about it. Ask your feelings to fully express what they know about the person and what they are doing. What do you learn about you? You cannot see into the mind of the other person, but you can understand yourself and armed with that you can respond or not as the case may be. It might be a simple misunderstanding.

If it’s in public, I tend to not respond. Unless it is important for me to do so and then I am very careful with my language. If it is a private message, after reflection, I usually respond and again I am careful with my words. I make conscious choices about where, when and how I respond.

Stay out of the picture or drama and look at it as if it were a movie.

Practice writing your response, using the anchors that I talked about earlier. Find four words that take you from the height of your emotion to a gentler place. Each time you write your response tone it down. Reflect, go for a walk and then decide what you choose to do.

Create a thought report (extracted from my book Writing to Heal)

Think of a situation that you want to review and reflect on. Go through each of these.

  • Situation – describe the situation you found yourself in.
  • Emotions – describe the emotions you felt, both positive and negative.
  • Thoughts – what thoughts came into your head, both positive and negative?
  • Evidence – what evidence do you have both for and against the events? Have you been in a similar situation before? What strengths do you bring to this situation? Make sure you see the whole picture.
  • Alternatives – now that you have considered the facts, what is a different, healthier way to view the situation?
  • Learn – what have you learned about you and others? What will you do next time?
  • What will you now do differently?

I will often write a letter to the Universe in love asking for their ‘issue’ as I perceive it to be dissipated. It makes me feel good, at least as I watch it go up in flames.

After a period of reflection, because I never respond immediately. Oh no, my inner bitch and battle axe is not a nice person. Plus immediate responses show up in my opinion as giving them control. Let them sweat their ego’s out. Respond from your emotionally intelligent glorious goddess place.

How you respond is critical. Use ‘I’ words because they cannot dictate or control how you feel. I feel that when you say things like that…

Use this template to get you to the point where you can hold a sensible conversation where you say what you really want to say.

  • Situation – describe the situation, factually.
  • Show and tell – express what you want to say, what you want (outcome) and what the consequences might be (nicely) if this doesn’t happen. Use ‘I’ words.
  • Feedback – what advice would you give yourself?
  • Retell – using your feedback, express what you will say, specify what you want and what the consequences might be (nicely) if this doesn’t happen
  • How does that feel?
  • Keep doing this until you feel that what you want to say will work for you.
  • Write up the situation as if you were saying it in a more productive way, and practice with a friend or partner.

Respond from your heart with well scripted words (see above), designed to reduce the heat and to state what you feel and what you will or won’t do.

I have to take myself out of other people’s drama as I have little tolerance for it and go for a walk before I respond. In a sense, I am lucky as I can see their pain, but it’s not my responsibility and stalking me is only going to serve to piss me off and not want them in my life.

As I said at the beginning I make a choice about do I care enough to respond and if I do, I do it from a place of love. However, I always feel that nobody is worth it if they play with my head.

If you are that stalker, stop and consider how it might feel is someone followed you around Facebook or wherever and insisted constantly that you ‘should’ be in their group and supporting them. Or think about how you might feel if someone said you were a rubbish mother or cruel to your hamsters.

Non friendly following is not nice, it’s not clever, it’s not emotionally intelligent and it’s more likely to lose your friends, rather than influence them.

Rant ends.

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Dale Darley

Alchemist | Coach | Writer at Dale Darley - Life Alchemy
Alchemist, coach, writer and author. Inspiring you to discover and claim your identity and have the freedom to be. Helping to make sense of jumbled mess and bringing order to chaos, simply. Creating a safe place where your voice is heard, you find self-love and know that you are loved. Helping you to share your story in a book.

Author of Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend and The Conscious Woman Guide to leaving your husband and getting a life.

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