All Hail: Caught in a Web of followers

He lied to her about what her best friend said in order to get her on his side, and he sniffed her hair when they hugged.

He pretended to be her long lost brother and took photos of her every chance he got.

He got a tattoo of a picture she gave him.

He took her jacket and dressed up a hooker to look like her.

OK, so this is far beyond a typical crush. It’s from the TV show “One Tree Hill,” and describes a full-blown obsession that is definitely in the stalking category. Not all stalkers are as scary as this, but even less extreme situations can be truly frightening for the person being stalked.

Over the summer, a guy who goes to Northeastern randomly instant messaged me. I’ll call him Chuck. At the time I had no idea who he was or how he found me, but I thought it was harmless and talked to him online.

At the end of our first conversation he asked me if we could hang out when I got to school. I didn’t quite know what to say to this, seeing as I’d only talked to him once, so I told him we’d see how things went.

September came and I started to adjust to my new life in college. On the morning of my first Sunday on campus, the mysterious boy instant messaged me yet again.

The first thing he did was ask why we hadn’t hung out that weekend. I said I didn’t remember saying I would do anything with him. He asked me three times that day if I wanted to hang out, and each time I said no. Because he didn’t get the hint after I said no three times, I finally told him he was creeping me out.

About a week later I was at a meeting for an organization I was interested in joining. Halfway through the meeting, Chuck walked in. I recognized him from his Facebook picture. Now, I don’t know if he was involved in this before I came to school, but it seemed a little strange.

That night Chuck instant messaged me yet again. Luckily, a friend from home was also online and was more than willing to help me out. He messaged Chuck and talked to him for a bit. I’m not sure of exactly what he said, but Chuck responded by blocking me on AIM, and taking me off his Facebook.

I’ve run into Chuck a few times since that conversation. Each time has been awkward, but he’s backed off. I think he finally got the hint.

After sharing my experience with a few people, I learned that I was not the first to have experienced this with Chuck. This boy has also contacted other girls with interests similar to mine.

No one likes a stalker. It won’t get a person to like you. If anything, it will make him or her want to stay as far away from you as possible, and could even result in a restraining order.

It’s sad, but stories like this are common, and stalking is serious. In the age of Facebook and AIM, we are more accessible to strangers than ever, and everything we learned about talking to strangers still applies.

– Contributed by a freshman News correspondent who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic.

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