I don’t know if I’m overreacting here but I’d really like your take.
I met a man, let’s call him Callum, at a mutual friend’s birthday party about eighteen months ago. we got on really well, have very much the same sense of humour and share quite a few common interests. From my point of view, there was no romantic spark whatsoever and I feel like I made that as clear as I could have without saying the words “I do not fancy you”.
We’ve hung out a bit here and there as friends, meeting approximately once every couple of months. We have a nice time and I do enjoy his company. In all fairness to him, he’s never suggested that it go further, but I do have an incline from jokes he’s made and from his body language that he’d like things to go further if I suggested it, however he’s been very respectful and never pushed it.
Over the last couple of months however he’d message me nearly every day to “check if I’m OK”. Nothing particularly bad has happened to me so I don’t know why there was a need to be checking up on me. It got really annoying because it put an onus on me to respond all the time which isn’t something I really have time for. If ever I read his message and put my phone down with the intention of responding later, I’d get bombarded with messages asking what was wrong, had something happened, why was I not responding etc.
Just before the lockdown, he and I had a dinner catch up organised in the diary, but after the weeks of messages I was feeling quite annoyed with him and didn’t actually want to see him. I cancelled that morning and felt actually relieved when I had. I didn’t give him a reason as I didn’t think I necessarily owed him one. All he needed to know was that I was not going to make it and that I’d be in touch to rearrange. Inevitably I then received a mountain of messages from him asking if anything was wrong with me, was I ill, had a family member died, did I need him to come around etc. I muted his messages and didn’t answer. I felt suffocated and needed space from him.
The next evening, I went out on the town with a friend of mine. It was one of those fantastic unplanned, unexpected nights which turn out to be the best ones in months. As we got pretty hyped, we were posting mad Insta stories. I didn’t think anything of it, until Callum messaged me demanding to know why I couldn’t have dinner with him the night before but I could be in a club with my friend that night. The next morning, I thought about it properly and realised that Callum doesn’t even have an Instagram account and he doesn’t follow me, so he must have set up a fake one to see my stuff. I asked him if that was the case and he admitted it really breezily as if this was the most normal thing in the world. He said to me “I didn’t want a proper account so I just thought I’d get one to see what you’re up to.”
Donna I’m freaking out. Do I have a problem on my hands here? I want to be friends but I feel like I’m being smothered. Am I overreacting?
Looking forward to your response.
It is fair to say that Callum definitely fancies you. I don’t think that you are over reacting, as he is in my opinion displaying some concerning behaviour which is bound to make you feel uncomfortable.
It seems that he enjoyed your company when the initial friendship was struck up some eighteen months ago and that by joking with you he was testing the waters as to whether it could develop into something more.
I can understand how the bombardment of unsolicited messages is off putting. My take on the reason he is doing this is not because he has concern for your welfare, rather he really wants to know what you are up to all the time, ultimately because he has a crush on you. When we feel infatuated by somebody, we can all have a tendency to invest our interest in every faction of their life and that is what I think is going on here. It is important, however, to note that there is a line between the behaviour of an excitable crush and the controlling behaviour of an obsession. At this point there is no reason to assume that Callum is guilty of the latter, however we are wise as women to keep an eye out for these red flags. If at any point his behaviour makes you feel unsafe, it is imperative that you tell somebody who can help to protect you from any possible danger.
To Callum’s credit he has not disrespected you or tried to push you to develop the friendship further than you wish. This suggests to me that his persistent behaviour in messaging you constantly is an ill judged way of winning you around. Similarly, with the anonymous Instagram account, this seems to be a way of him not so much keeping tabs on you but feeding his interest in you and what you are doing. It was different when I was dating because there was no social media, but it is commonplace now for somebody to explore the profiles of the person they fancy because they want to found out everything about them. That said, I completely understand your ‘freaking out’ over his anonymous account, especially after eighteen months of friendship – surely by now he wouldn’t need to hide behind an anonymous profile to follow you on social media. I would have thought that he should be able to add you or follow you openly without this invisibility cloak that he has been using.
To write to me about this, would suggest that you do feel uncomfortable and I would not want to minimise this. Therefore, you need to tell him that you are not happy with his behaviour. This can be done over message if that makes it easier for you. This may lead to him cooling off and by extension salvage the friendship. If, however this behaviour continues I don’t see you having any other option than cutting him off completely. If he questions you as to why you have done this, explain again the way that he has made you feel and that you have cut ties before you have to act out unkindly.
I hope that Callum takes this on board. Ultimately the priority here is that you feel safe.