Have you ever noticed a known or unknown “friend” on Facebook is constantly keeping track of every post, picture, status update or comment that you have posted online and is leaving a message about it or opening channels of communication where they refer to you or hash tag you ensuring you see that comment? It may be a family member of a close friend or a boy/girlfriend keeping themselves apprised about your recent developments but when someone out there just likes you or hates you too much, they could be doing this knowingly or unknowingly to unnerve you or just to show you how much they care or like you.
So how do you deal with such people without causing them rejection (only so that they don’t get back at you!)?
GAUGE THE INTENT BEHIND THE STALKING
If the stalker’s comments and constant following upsets you or gets you irritated, then its time you first gauge whether the person is “social browsing” or “social searching” you. Social browsing constitutes your friends casually browsing through your account activity, updating themselves with your posts and pictures, and then moving on to other friends’ profile. Social searching is a custom search that a stalker will indulge in that consists of only your posts, your profile updates, your pictures, and everything that has you in it. The stalker will not move on to browsing other profiles and that is an alarming situation.
It is always a good start to understand your thoughts on this person whom you intend to communicate with. Convince yourself with proof that what this person is doing is “stalking” by all means. Many a times the “stalker” does not even realise that he/she is doing something that is causing fear or discomfort to you, they think that they like you enough to comment or share your posts harmlessly. So eliminate your doubt whether this is extra care or caution. If you think you need to caution that stalker then do so by communicating clearly and firmly when you tell them that you don’t appreciate their constant focus on you.
GIVE SHORT OR NO REPLIES AT ALL
When you feel overwhelmed or bullied or followed online by your stalker and you have tried communicating directly and show a change of behavior, then its time you start replying to their comments in a simple one-word answer- “yes”, “no”, “thanks”, “maybe” or such leaving no thread of conversation. If it takes you a lot of effort to write back, just ignore their comments. This should give subtle hints that you are annoyed with the person and they might back off. Tell them firmly that their comments are of no consequence to you and don’t matter.
GIVE AN ULTIMATUM TO BLOCK OR REPORT THEM AND STICK TO IT
Let them know that if this doesn’t stop, you will be forced to block them or report them to Facebook having their account ghost-banned as a consequence! Don’t be frightened to stick to your ultimatums.