How to deal with someone harassing you on social media

Reena asks: Four years ago, I had joined a job (mom had told me to work there temporary), but honestly it was more than a year and I got stuck there because we needed the money. The place was making me miserable because I wanted to join Aviation back then and because the money there wasn’t good. I couldn’t even mask my feelings anymore and it showed in my body language and some colleagues knew that something was wrong with me. This became apparent to my Trainer too, who assumed that I’m dealing with a breakup! There’s a saying here in India, “We as Indians love to do two things. 1st stare at people, 2nd assume things about people”. To add to it, some people in the batch told my trainer some good things about me and then this guy started chasing and dropping hints shamelessly that he wanted to be friends. He gave me the impression of being a terribly lonely person because no one in their right mind decides that you have become their best friend overnight. It takes time, it’s a process. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m not friendly but honestly I didn’t want to be friends with this guy for a number of reasons. Things that I had observed about him during training: He had intimacy issues, he wasn’t comfortable with emotions. He could be very cold to you, if it wasn’t his need (selfish). He could lie shamelessly to protect himself (manipulative). If you and he are not on the same page in life, he won’t even make an attempt to understand where you’re coming from. He just can’t understand why you are like that (lack of empathy)! I saw all these things, never said a word but decided, I don’t want this guy in my life at least. I used to royally ignore him but he just didn’t want to take a hint and leave me alone. Of course it hurt the irrational male ego. He wouldn’t let go. He started cornering me in class, asking questions he knew I wouldn’t be able to answer, damaged my reputation at work, telling people that I’m selfish and insensitive. To be honest, Shirelle, if he had ever come to me, told me like an adult that he wanted to talk to me, we could have sat and had a mature adult conversation where he could be transparent about his intentions and tell me upfront what he was looking for and I could honestly tell him that I’m not on the same page in life, not looking for the same things as him. I could tell him that if he is trying to move on from me, I could help him. I would be able to genuinely respect this guy. But no, that hurts the male ego. He wouldn’t do that. He would rather use indirect tactics, talk behind my back, make faces when I passed by, lie shamelessly, etc. Today, we’ve both left that job. However, he has now started to attack me on Facebook. Back then, he was telling people that he wants to help me out of humanity because it looks like I’m dealing with problems, he has no other intentions (remember, manipulative). Trust me, I am genuinely fed up of this guy who won’t take a hint and leave me alone. I want absolutely nothing to do with him. He is pretending like he doesn’t want to be friends with me but he complains about me saying I’m not very social blah blah blah. I don’t care. He is very immature and I don’t know how to get rid of him. Please help. I will not reciprocate, that is 110 % sure. However, if he needs my help to move on, I can definitely help.

Hi Reena –



I’ll be happy to help you, but I’m going to jump on your case on one issue first. As a dog, I tend to see people as all the same, or as individuals. Most broad-brush statements about groups (all women are emotional, all Americans are loud) I find incorrect and often really wrongheaded. Now I completely understand how a woman has to deal with the worst qualities of men, especially in the workplace. But I can promise you, from everything I’ve seen, men do not have a monopoly on fragile egos! I’ve seen women pull just the same garbage this guy is doing, and I know that when people read your question, some of them (particularly the men) will pull back, and relate less to you, because you keep talking about male egos. So while I fully agree that this guy’s ego is running things, and much of it may be about his bruised sense of masculinity, I’d love you to be careful about making statements like that.


Well, except if you’re talking about cats. Then you can say they’re all sneaky and stupid and smelly and…


Ah well, back to your question.


Okay, this guy is AWFUL!!! I don’t blame him for being quiet or shy or even unempathic, and I certainly don’t blame him for trying to be friends with you (oh if I worked there, I’d be sniffing around your chair, jumping up on you, nipping at your shoes every day!). But he is being a total jerk right now. No two ways about it.


So maybe there was something you could have done better last year. Maybe it would have been best to talk to him more directly, like “Hey it seems to me you’re wanting to have a closer friendship with me than I’m comfortable with. I appreciate it, but I’m sorry I can’t do that right now.”


Or maybe not. I don’t know.


But you have a very different problem now, and it needs to be dealt with. But how to deal with it is tough. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Ignore him. Just don’t respond at all, and know that eventually he’ll find someone else to project his issues onto, and start harassing them. It would happen, I have no doubt – though I don’t know how long it would take.
  • Confront him. I know you don’t plan on that now, but you could write him directly (not publicly) and tell him you’re bothered by his comments about you and wish he’d stop. You could even threaten to write Facebook about it and suggest they delete his account. What he writes might not reach quite to the level of abuse that would make them do that, but your writing could scare him into stopping.
  • Publicly confront him. And there are two ways to do that:
    1. Any time he makes a comment about you, write a reply under it, saying that this guy barely knows you, that he’s been saying all sorts of bad things about you, and that you suggest that anyone getting these comments unfriend him because he’s a really awful friend.
    2. And this is the big one – write a post yourself. Tell people what he’s doing. And close it by saying you’re blocking him from your account – and do it.


Now I don’t know which of these would be best. But you have EVERY RIGHT to do any of them. If you want to be nice, I guess the nicest would be #2, to write him directly and ask him to stop. And then, if he doesn’t, you could put in the threat about writing Facebook. But if he continues, you might want to consider one of those #3s.


My dear friend, you have been going through WAY more than enough lately, and don’t need this at all. In fact, as you say, it was your feeling bad in your life that drew him to you in the first place.


So while I’ve loved working to help you make your life better, let’s also do something to take away what’s dragging you down. Let’s get this guy out of your life, and off of your page.


All my best,




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