Teenybopper Stalker

by admin on June 18, 2013

I am a 27-year-old single woman. Last year, I received a Facebook friend request from a 9th-grader from my church, Jackie. I didn’t know her very well but figured I was Facebook friends with lots of the other teens from the church, so, sure, I would accept her friend request. A day later she sent me a message saying “Hiiiiiii! You’re gorgeous!” I replied, “Well, thank you! Same to you!!” and then left my Facebook. Another day later, she messaged again just to chat about….well, nothing in particular. Our conversation consisted of me asking her questions such as, “What are you up to now that it’s summer?” her replying “Oh, I’m super busy,” but refusing to tell me anything specific. Okay, well, she’s 14, grace on her.

Well, the catch was, I discovered EVERY time I signed into Facebook or Skype (even if it was multiple times a day) she would want to talk for hours about nothing, and would get upset when I tried to politely end the conversation. I gradually stopped responding to her messages because I simply don’t have time to sit at my computer and chat for hours, especially with someone who I see face-to-face every week at church! The funny thing was, if I tried to talk to her at church she would avoid me- the other 9th-grade girls would greet me and chat with me, and she would bolt off and hide. One day when she messaged me I replied asking, “Can I take you out for coffee after school on Friday? I’ll ask your mom if it’s okay, but I’m sure she’ll say yes.” All of a sudden, Jackie claimed to be “superbusy” (superbusy doing what?? I know she isn’t in any clubs or sports…and if she’s so busy, how does she have all this time to sit around on Facebook and Skype?) and said she wouldn’t have time.

However, she continued to bombard me online- I left my computer on and unattended for several minutes and came back to find five or six missed Skype calls from her (Skype?? When we live 15 minutes apart??) and a string of messages saying, “Come talk to me!” “Come on, where are you???” “Don’t do this to me!!” “Why do you hate me? If you liked me you would talk to me!!” At this point, I sent her a gentle message telling her that I simply couldn’t sit at my computer all day and talk to her or anyone else- she was on vacation from school, but I was working and preparing to move overseas. I told her if she wanted to write me an actual letter on Facebook I would happily read it and respond as soon as possible, but that the wording she had just used in her previous messages was accusatory and manipulative. I explained that if she wanted to hang out (I assumed she was looking for a mentoring-relationship from me) face-to-face I would gladly do so, but there was no need to be constantly Facebooking or Skyping when we lived in the same town. She replied that she understood and would try to change her ways- but the bombarding messages continued.

I need to explain at this point that I had plans to go abroad for a year and do missionary work, and her favorite thing to message me about was how “hard” it would be for her when I left. For one, she barely knew me and two, it was hard enough for me to leave my home for a year; I didn’t need to be guilted about it from someone I barely knew. The hardest part before my departure was waiting on my visa, not knowing whether it would be approved, and other church friends would leave messages on my Facebook wall saying, “Praying for patience for you, hope your visa comes in the mail today!” and Jackie would post comments below them saying, “I hope it NEVER comes!!” When my visa finally came she dodged saying goodbye to me my last Sunday at church, but as soon as I was in my host country and had my computer set up, the constant messages continued. Sometimes I would be up until midnight planning for work the next day, and if I forgot to sign out of Skype she would start calling me and get upset when I didn’t answer, even if I messaged her explaining, “It’s midnight here and I’m trying to get to bed; plus my host family is asleep and I’ll wake them up if I start talking.” When my year was up, I had one week at home before moving to another state to begin post-graduate studies. I went to my church on Sunday, of course, and Jackie’s mother saw me and said, “The whole way to church she was talking about how she can’t wait to see you-” but as she was talking Jackie bolted past without acknowledging me. I sent her a message asking if I could take her out to lunch (again, I could ask her mom if it was okay) and she said she was free Tuesday. I had a LOT of people to see and things to get done during my week at home, but I cleared Tuesday afternoon, only to have her message me on Monday night saying her “allergies were superbad” and she couldn’t make it (She doesn’t have life-threatening allergies, just regular sneezing and blowing your nose- I have the same issues but I would never use it as an excuse not to see someone!) Well, glad I kept that time slot free for nothing. Then, the next day, she messages me saying, “I’ve had a really hard day. Can we Skype?” I ignored the message entirely at this point. No, I’m not going to sit around and talk to you online for hours when you refuse to talk to me face-to-face just so you can tell your friends you spent all day Skyping with a 27-year-old!

I’m not sure how to handle this at this point.  I know she’s 15, and I don’t know what it’s like to have social media at your fingertips at such a young age. Cell phones were still for emergencies only when I was 15!. But she won’t take my suggestions and I don’t know how to go to her parents with this without sounding like I’m saying, “Tell your kid to stop being so annoying!!” I’m tempted to block her on Facebook and Skype, but I’m not sure what will go down when she finds out I’m still friends with her more internetiquette-trained peers- I’m sure being blocked is a serious slap in the face for a 15-year-old. Is this the norm, now- to want to talk ALL the time online but NEVER face-to-face???   0612-13

No, this is not normal behavior.   This is beyond your sphere of responsibility to deal with and you need to inform the girl’s parents of the odd behavior.   It’s almost as if you are an imaginary friend for her.  You are fun to play with online but meeting face-to-face in reality is too much. It is time to tell her parents so they can address the issues.

{ 123 comments… read them below or add one }

Lex June 18, 2013 at 2:55 am

I agree with the admin here. You’ve allowed this to go on FAR too long. Her behaviour is inappropriate and she sounds like the sort of manipulative individual that might try to make trouble for you if you block her by suggesting to others that you might have been ‘grooming’ her.

I’d speak to her mother ASAP if I were you and explain, IN WRITING on facebook to the girl concerned (after you’ve spoken to her mother) that her constant harassment makes you uncomfortable.

This is not normal behaviour and I wonder if she might possibly have some sort of ‘crush’ on you as teenagers at that age are very emotionally volatile so she might have attachment issues with you that are borderline unhealthy.

Speak to her Mum ASAP then once you’ve raised your concerns with the mother, curtail her contact with you.

It is a sad indictment of the world that adults cannot have mentoring relationships with youngsters but that is the way of it – I’d be very careful being friends on facebook with 14yos if I were you as a more cynical or manipulative person might use this to imply wrongdoing on your part and it sounds like this emotionally unstable girl is just the sort to do that.

You could choose to speak to the mother and ask for a meeting at her house to explain (in front of the mother) how you are feeling.

If I were in your position I would never have accepted friend requests from 14yos in the first place. As you see them at Church and in your community there are plenty of opportunities to mentor them without opening yourself up to accusations of ‘grooming’.

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Jen a. June 18, 2013 at 4:46 am

OP, please be careful! This girl’s interest in you does not sound healthy. Blocking her could really anger her…. I’d just keep putting distance between you two and hope for the best

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Angeldrac June 18, 2013 at 5:17 am

Oh dear – I think the poor girl has a bit of a crush on you and she getting all awkward and weird with you as a result. You’re right – she’s not behaving appropriately, but she is you g and she doesn’t know what to do with her crush.
I think the best thing that can be done is to distance yourself (more so than moving country – lol) and let this thing die out. I don’t know about Skype, but there is a FB function where you can be “invisible” to particular people. Be vague and brief with her, let her know how “super busy” you are, and just pull riiiiiiiiiiiiight away. You need to be strict with her – she’ll find something we to do soon.

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--Lia June 18, 2013 at 5:44 am

As I read this, I was thinking that the end was going to be that it all turned out to be a scam, that someone had hacked an account such that you thought you were talking to a particular teenager when really it was someone in another country chatting you up in order to get you to do something illegal. That was the only reason I could think of to explain someone wanting a lot of online attention but never wanting to meet face to face. (I admit to enjoying intricately plotted and highly unlikely thriller type plots in novels and movies, the sort where everyone is in in disguise, being double crossed, and nothing is as it seems.)

By the time I got to the end of it, I was in agreement with the admin. I’m not sure what the problem is, but something is wrong, something that none of us can diagnose.

Taken individually, some of what she’s doing is normal teenage behavior, but all of it over time is weird enough to cause concern. For example, when I was that age, I spoke in wild exaggeration. It seemed like every week there was something I wanted so much I wanted it more than anything in the whole wide world, something that I would just die if I didn’t get. Then I was either thrilled or disappointed and went on to the next thing. But of course, I didn’t really have that level of emotion; I was speaking in a dramatic way while actually being fairly level headed. So part of me thinks that’s what’s happening with your friend, that she said she hoped your visa never came because she was expressing herself badly. She was trying for a compliment that amounted to “I’ll miss you,” and it came out all wrong.

Similarly, one session of feeling lonely and wanting to talk all night about nothing is normal teenage behavior, but constantly and going on for over a year? Something is wrong.

I see 2 tactics to take. Do both. In the first, you treat her as you would someone troubled, and you do what you can to make sure she gets treatment. That’s talking to her parents about your concerns, and if they’re blind to what’s going on, talk to someone with some mental health experience at your church. In the 2nd, treat her the way you would a creepy man who dated you once and now won’t leave you alone. Explain once that you don’t want any further contact, then do whatever blocking is necessary to make that stick, and DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT! It’s not your job to be everything for one person.

My last bit of advice is not to make assumptions about her motivations. For instance, you assume she wants to Skype with you so she can brag to her friends. Maybe, maybe not. You don’t know. I found myself doing it too. I wondered if there was a sexual element to what reads like a crush or infatuation with you, but I don’t know.

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Lo June 18, 2013 at 5:55 am

You are a very kind person.

You have been a little too kind with this girl. Granted, she’s a child. But this behavior is so far out of line that there’s only so many times you can say “Oh, she’s young,” and shrug it off.

I think you made a mistake here in not saying something to her mother when she began to bombard you with messages. I understand not wanting to embarrass her and wanting to help her out in some way but for her to turn a cold shoulder to you in public and want to be your best friend online suggests that something is wrong here. Now I can understand shy, but this girl seems to be playing some kind of game. It wouldn’t be wrong to mention to her mother, as she is a minor, “Hey, Jackie’s a great girl but we’re having an issue with boundaries.” and then explaining the situation as you see it.

You have to stop thinking of this as criticizing their child. You all want the best for Jackie. And unless you suspect there’s a problem between Jackie and her parents (I’m talking about abuse and neglect here) you have every right and expectation to bring it to their attention because it’s not normal behavior and they need to know that it’s happening so that someone can sit her down and talk to her about it.

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coralreef June 18, 2013 at 6:00 am

Yep, I agree with Admin, tell the parents they have a problem to deal with and block her. She’s stalking you. If it was a boy or man behaving this way, everyone would be up in arms and talking about retraining orders. The fact that this is a girl does not mean that she isn’t a stalker.

So tell the parents, as in NOW.

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Ripple June 18, 2013 at 6:17 am

I totally agree with Admin. This is not normal behavior in any way. You should have talked to her parents before you went overseas, and definitely now. She is a stalker and this won’t get corrected until you put a stop to it. Tell her parents that you are sorry but you are going to have to cut her off of Facebook and Skype. That lets them monitor her to see if there is any overboard reaction to your blocking her.

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Julia June 18, 2013 at 6:19 am

This poor girl needs help, and you cannot give it to her.

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Spuck June 18, 2013 at 6:43 am

This story represent the problem when a person is to nice or to polite. Just because someone is trying to get your attention doesn’t mean you have to give it.

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InNM June 18, 2013 at 6:51 am

I would save the correspondence and present it to the parents as well. Obviously her parents are getting one version of the story and if you just alienated her online, you would come out of the aftermath as a teen hater.
A lesson to be learned. If you are not comfortable with the interaction you are having with someone (man, woman, or child), end it early, end it clearly, end it assertively and politely, and end it fast. In the effort to be polite, we end up entangled in sticky situations that benefit no one else but the person we were trying to offend.

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Lychii June 18, 2013 at 6:56 am

Wow OP, why did you keep this going for over a year? You must have the patience of saint, because this kind of behavior would get blocked by most people within a week. You’re not the kid’s babysitter, ignore her and hope it goes away.

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Kate June 18, 2013 at 6:56 am

I made a ‘friend’ on Facebook because we both play the same game, and we both needed more friends to get to higher levels. I didn’t know this person at all, I just found him on a site devoted to this game. It got to be that every time I went on Facebook he would be there to say to a hello to me.
Him: Hello!
Me: Hey! How are things in (your country)?
Him: Good
Me: How’s the weather? It’s been raining a lot here.
Him: it’s good.
This would go on for quite some time, with me asking him questions, him giving me monosyllabic answers, and not asking anything about myself. I finally had to make myself go offline on Facebook, meaning other people couldn’t see when I was online so this guy would leave me alone. People act differently online then they would in person. But they have to learn to interact with the human version of us as well!

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Mariam67 June 18, 2013 at 6:57 am

This story is bizarre. I’ve never heard of a teenager acting like that. I wonder if she has a crush of some kind? Anyway, I’d love to hear an update.

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Puzzled June 18, 2013 at 7:04 am

My daughter had a friend who was like this. She would call up to 15 times a day leaving desperate voice mails similar to the ones the OP mentioned. At one point, the girl actually left 32 messages on Facebook for another girl just to get in touch with my daughter, who had grown tired of dealing with her. It did indeed take speaking with her parents to get this behavior to stop. Talk to them as soon as possible. It sounds like this young lady has some serious problems.

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Penguin June 18, 2013 at 7:08 am

It sounds to me like she may have a crush on you- easy to indulge online, but harder to hide in person.
I don;t think I’d go to her parents, unless you have a good relationship with them (more than just seeing eachother at church). Simply respond to her less and less.

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Margaret June 18, 2013 at 7:41 am

Disable your chat function. There’s no reason to be constantly available for people.

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E June 18, 2013 at 7:46 am

Oh my goodness, one word: UNFRIEND! None of this silliness had to be endured!

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Mrs. Lovett June 18, 2013 at 7:46 am

It sounds like this girl has developed an unhealthy obsession with you and may even have romantic feelings for you or view you as her best friend. If she doesn’t hang out with the other girls at church, and she’s not involved in any activities, she may have severe social anxiety that keeps her from being able to talk face to face, even if she’s comfortable chatting over media.

It is important that you talk to her parents about what’s going on, both for your protection and for hers. Since she is a minor and you are an adult, any appearance of impropriety could lead to both social and legal issues for you. I’m not suggesting you’ve done anything wrong beyond not cutting this off and going to her parents sooner, but given the amount of time you’ve spent in contact and your offer to take her out to coffee and meet with her in person, an outsider could get the wrong idea about your intentions.

It is also important to contact her parents for her benefit. She has an unhealthy fixation on you, and that could lead to severe emotional problems, especially if you cut contact with her without making sure she has a support system to help her deal with it. Going to her parents will also demonstrate that she has been the one initiating all the contact and not you. If you wait for her to go to her parents or just wait and see what happens, that could feed the appearance of impropriety on your part. Again, I’m not suggesting you’ve done anything wrong, but it could look bad, especially if she embellishes the story.

I recommend something like this: “Jackie’s parents, I’m concerned about your daughter. She skypes and Facebook messages me constantly and I’m worried that she’s not making any connections with kids her own age. She seems like a great girl, but I’m really not in a position to maintain a friendship with her, and I worry that she’s missing out on the fun of her high school years. Would you be able to talk to her about it? I feel like she’s not really hearing me when I explain the situation to her. Thanks.”

And hopefully her parents are connected enough to her to see the problem and work with her to fix it.

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Angela June 18, 2013 at 7:56 am

I have a 15-year-old daughter and this is not normal behavior. Do her parents have any idea about the Facebook and Skype? I would be very disturbed if my daughter was doing this. Frankly, you could be putting yourself at risk by letting this continue, because it would be easy for a kid to convince other adults that you somehow made her engage in this behavior.
Idealizing a young adult of the same gender is normal. Being socially anxious about face-to-face is also normal. But this is definitely not normal.

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Huh June 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

A bit of this sounds like what my 13-year-old daughter went through – a new friend from school wanted to text message her, so they started to and the girl wanted to text ALL THE TIME. All day long, all hours of the night, and to really talk about nothing. When I told my daughter that was enough and to put her phone away, the girl would send multiple messages like that, “Why aren’t your messaging me?” “You’re a bad friend since you’re not talking to me!” When she explained she was in trouble, the girl didn’t care and would just keep it up, sending whiny messages about why wouldn’t she respond. I finally told my daughter there was no text messaging period – shut off the capability on her phone, and the girl switched to email, constantly sending messages all day on her email and getting angry when she didn’t respond right away and get friends to email her asking why she wasn’t responding right away to annoying girl. I finally had to help daughter block annoying girl from her email and they quit talking at school. My daughter showed me the messages they exchanged, and it seems like annoying girl was using my daughter to bump up her own ego – “I’m ugly,” “No you’re not!” “I don’t think he likes me” “Yes he does” and these one-way exchanges were all their “friendship” was.

So, in my long-winded story way, is it possible something similar was going on here? Were you, OP, being nice and being her ego boost when she was saying she was stupid/ugly/whatever? And unfortunately, with these “emotional vampire” type people, the only way to stop them from harassing you is to block them on social media.

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Yasuragi June 18, 2013 at 8:03 am

I’m shocked that you continued to pursue this relationship despite how utterly bizarre her behavior was. You ought to block her from your Facebook and just ignore her from now on. Any attention she gets from you is just more affirmation that her behavior is acceptable. What do you think will go down if you block her? She’s a drama llama teenager. She’ll post a rant about you on her Facebook maybe but that will be about it.

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Lo June 18, 2013 at 8:47 am

Incidentially, as a followup to my first post. I’m sure I won’t be the first person to say this. I just don’t really know how to say this without adding to your worries if you haven’t considered it. But I do you no benefit by assuming you haven’t.

From an outsider’s perspective it sounds like this girl has a romantic crush on you. And she doesn’t know how to cope with that.

I don’t know your denomination’s stance on that. In a practical sense it’s wholly irrelevant because she’s a minor– as in, it’s natural for a minor to have a crush on an adult but it’s not to be encouraged regardless of the genders involved. Even if you do suspect this, there’s really not much you can do differently. There’s a whole minefield of issues here that could be triggered by even mentioning this to her or her folks depending on the circumstances (which I do not know anything about and do not presume to guess) so I would say, just be aware.

Keep asserting your boundaries. Let her folks know you’re concerned about her interactions with you. If she does have some unresolved feeling then she’s going to have to work through it with whoever she confides in.

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MichelleP June 18, 2013 at 8:59 am

Whoa Nelly. Tell her parents immediately. This may be totally innocent; she is a kid after all, but this needs to be addressed. I won’t attempt to diagnosis anything from a story online, but the kid has issues. Solve it now, or you will look like the bad guy. Or worse, she will get clingy and neurotic with the wrong person online.

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Arila June 18, 2013 at 9:01 am

You need to bring this up to her parents ASAP. They are obviously not monitoring her internet usage very well – imagine if you had been some other near-stranger, one more predatory…She seems needy and could glom on to the wrong sort if not watched.

I would say that the sort of non-sense chat-about-nothing is typical/usual. Analogous to the homebody comfort of just sitting on the couch together reading.

The demanding to be paid attention to, the multiple calls, the guilt trips are not appropriate. If it had been slightly toned down I might have suggested that you make use of some of the tools available to you to reflect your actual available status (setting as away, or even invisible etc) If you show as active/available, and don’t respond, she might feel like you are intentionally ignoring her.

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AS June 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

This is very strange. This girl surely has issues. I wonder if her parents are aware of the amount of Internet time she spends, but refuses to talk one-on-one; and that she stood you up on a meeting. I am around the same age as OP ( a few years older) and I too did not have cell phones until I reached college, and that too only for emergencies only. Yet, if my child is always sitting at home on the Internet, I’d be concerned. Depending on how close you are to the parents, maybe you should talk to them.

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Cat June 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

My guess is that she has a teenage crush on you. Adolescent girls will find an adult woman who is the model for the kind of woman they dream of becoming. Actually being with you is too much reality for her to handle.
It’s rather like getting a crush on some very young movie star. Day dreaming about him is fine; a face-to-face encounter leaves them embarrassed and speechless. The Beatles used to wonder if, in a face-to-face meeting, their teenaged fans would scream at them as they did at airports.
My worry is that she has not out-grown her fanatasy and moved on. These things don’t usually last. A girlfriend I had who drooled over one of the Beatles soon moved on the dishy guy in her English class. She seems to be fixated on you and it is getting well into the “not so healthy” range of behavior.
Speaking to her parents is a step in the right direction. Let them handle it.

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Anna June 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

I agree that this is very odd behaviour, but the OP has been facilitating it for over a year now. I can’t understand why, if the child’s behaviour has been so odd for so long, that the OP hasn’t done something to bring this strange on-line relationship to a close and why the lunch invites? They would seem to encourage a relationship that doesn’t really exist. I’m curious about the dynamics here: is it normal for 27 year olds to have such young teens as friends on FB? Most of my friends are my own generation

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Ruby June 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

I feel it’s a good rule of thumb to have almost no friends under the age of 18 on Facebook. (I don’t use Skype, but would do the same on that. ) The only minors I have as online friends are my own kids and my nieces and nephews. I prefer the online company of other adults.

Now, the girl in the post possibly has a crush on you. Even if that’s the case, her behavior is unsettling. I would block her from Facebook and Skype. You’re moving anyway. Indon’t know if I’d approach the parents about it directly-could you involve your pastor to talk to her parents?

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Elle June 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

The girl may have Aspergers or social anxiety issues. Innovations like FB chat and Skype that allow for communication without being face to face are a huge boon for those who have trouble with conventional face to face interaction for whatever reason. Heck, my longest, deepest conversations with my socially anxious cousin have been in chat logs for an MMO. He just doesn’t do well talking with people he can see. It may not even be a neurological condition, she could be self conscious about a stutter or partial hearing loss.

I would still talk to her parents, because learning how not to be a pest is important, and there may be more to the story. But her conversations with you may mean far more to her than social cachet.

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Lisa June 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

This is not normal behavior and the girl needs help. Since you have a good relationship with them, please reach out and let them know what’s going on.

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Shannan June 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

Absolutely tell Jackie’s parents about her odd behavior. Also tell them you are blocking her from Facebook & Skype so they can tell her before it happens. She’ll be at least prepared that way.

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Allie June 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

I agree with Admin, although I think this behavior might be on the outer edge of the spectrum of normal for a young teen. I would let her parents know that you will be unfriending her from your various social media platforms and why. I would then send her a nice message saying you will be “superbusy” with your new pursuits and won’t have time to talk to her online anymore. Then cut her off and put this whole business out of your mind. You did what you could to have an appropriate mentoring relationship with her and it just did not work. Perhaps her parents can explain to her what went wrong.

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La June 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

It could be that she’s just a bit clueless, or has a desire to seem cooler than her friends, but I would be inclined to make sure there’s nothing weird going on with her. Just drop a word to her parents or something at Church – “Hi, just wanted to make sure Jackie’s all right, she’s been acting a little off – wanting to talk to me for hours online but never in person?” maybe?

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Stacey Frith-Smith June 18, 2013 at 10:29 am

Closure for this is simple- ignore the posts, calls and online pleas for attention. They’ll dwindle. Done. No drama. It’s not up to you to figure out why she is behaving oddly. Since the relationship is in the e-sphere, leave it there. Involving her parents is likely to be awkward at best and could make a small matter into a much larger one to no good purpose.

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Ashley June 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

I agree with Admin. If there is some way you can keep track of how long these conversations last and how often she is attempting to contact you, it would help illustrate your points. I spent a lot of time on the internet when I was in my late teens (still do) but never in my life have I harassed someone as frequently as this girl seems to be harassing you

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Wendy B. June 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

OP, maybe talk to your pastor as well as her parents, or even before in case you’re walking into a minefield. As I was reading this, I immediately thought she has a social disorder of some sort. Extreme shyness to begin with (I can be that way…talking online is easier than talking face to face.) But I really think she needs help, and simply blocking her isn’t going to be that help.

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JeanLouiseFinch June 18, 2013 at 11:12 am

It sounds as if this girl has some serious mental health issues and that for whatever reason, she is stalking you. Her parents need to know. They may already know and simply be in denial. My suggestion is that you invite her mother over or out to someplace relatively private for coffee or lunch and bring your laptop along. Then show her some of the messages and explain that this has become a constant barrage. Tell her mother that you are genuinely concerned about her daughter’s mental health and that you are not qualified to handle what seems to be this child’s obsessive conduct. Tell the mom that you are worried about what her daughter might do if you find yourself with no time to communicate, which seems likely given your busy schedule. Her mother may become angry and upset, but if you focus on your concern for her daughter, she will probably listen on some level. Hopefully, this will make the mother take a new look at her daughter’s behavior and get her some professional help. Be careful though, sometimes a perceived rejection of a stalker can cause a severe reaction against the object of their obsession. You should not offer to be alone with the daughter again (no lunch dates, no coffee dates) and I would avoid any conversations that cannot be memorialized or are not in front of a credible witness.

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Tsunoba June 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

How odd! I wish I could offer advice, but I’m not all that good with people to begin with. You have a lot more patience than I do, though. Even if it only happened once a day, I would be exasperated by someone wanting to talk EVERY day!

If possible, I would like a follow up to this.

(Also, Admin, the entry does not appear to have a title. Is this on purpose?)

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Princess Buttercup June 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

Some youth now do have social anxiety when it comes to in person meetings because they’ve grown up with their face in an electronic device. (I actually have anxiety about talking on the phone, just thinking about it stresses me out) So I’d observe her at church, does she avoid all people or just you?

Either way, the constant need for attention online is troublesome and her parents need to teach her some life lessons or she will be greatly unprepared for adult world.

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Anon June 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

Uh… not to sound like ~that person~ but it sounds like she has a crush on you. That doesn’t really excuse her behavior but…

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psyche June 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

I had a female friend-my own age, mind you-who did something similar. Fortunately, this was many years before Facebook and Skype.

I made the mistake of doing a few sleepovers with her, and let’s just say that not only did I get a pretty good idea of why she was so clingy, but I also learned that with people like her, the best thing to do is to identify the clinger from the get-go and discourage the behavior as much as possible.

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Moralia June 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

Maybe she has social anxiety and/or some degree of autism? I have such a friend I interact with almost solely online despite living close together because that’s what’s most comfortable for her. If she’s like my friend, she could benefit from working with a trained professional to boost her in-person skills and confidence and learn to regulate her online behavior as well.
It would be a tricky thing to discuss with the parents, though.

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Elizabeth June 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

Why are you engaging with children on social media? I just don’t get this. She isn’t a niece or a nephew so I’m unsure why you are so caught up in this. Dis-engage, especially before adults start to question this interaction.

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Library Diva June 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

You’ve been extraordinarily patient and kind to this girl, but I think admin hit it on the head. If you approach it from a point of concern with Jackie’s parents, or even confusion: “Jackie does x and I’m not sure why she acts this way…” it won’t sound like you just want her to stop bothering you. Especially if you emphasize Jackie’s good points while you’re talking to them.

This is going to be an awkward conversation no matter what, but ultimately it will be good for Jackie and everyone she interacts with online, as well as for you. There was a distinctly familiar ring to this story for me, and it brought back the bad old days of AIM and how you were basically a hostage to that thing once your username got out there among people you knew. And heaven forbid that you leave your computer and forget to sign out…you’ll have a handful of increasingly irritated instant messages to contend with when you get home: “Where r u?” “hello?” “u there?” “y u ignoring me” etc etc.

I can’t speculate on Jackie’s motivations. Maybe she is fascinated by you but intimidated. Maybe she’s bad with social relationships in general and finds them easier to manage online. Maybe she simply spends most of her time on Facebook and Skype and has dozens of people she acts this way towards. But it’s not normal, and she’s making you a prisoner on your own social media. It’s time to take it back. While blocking her will probably hurt her feelings, it may be necessary.

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badkitty June 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

Agree with admin. There’s something deeper going on here, and you’re not qualified (or obligated) to investigate or deal with it.

Approach her parents in person, if possible with your laptop right there so they can see the chat records and the call attempts, all of it. As a parent of a teen myself, I might seek to explain the situation away but if I were confronted with the actual messages such as you describe – and if the person reminded me that my child has fled her actual presence every time there’s a chance for real contact – I would know that there’s something wrong with the situation and my child possibly needs help. Talk to her parents and explain the situation to them; make sure they know WHY you’re blocking her and unfriending her. If they don’t know about the situation beforehand, they’ll be forced by parental concern and love to ‘take her side’ and blame YOU for her hurt; at that point, any explanation you offer will sound like an excuse and she won’t get the help she needs.

Incidentally, when I first started reading this story I thought we were dealing with a mistaken identity thing, where the child thought she was friending someone else… but that turned out not to be the case.

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WillyNilly June 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I think the first step, would be to simply “unfriend’ her. And I think you should have done that last year when she made it clear she did not want to be real-life friends with you, only online friends. because that would have been a perfectly normal, commonplace, sane reason if ever questioned: “oh i only am Facebook friends with people I’m friends with in real life. Jackie doesn’t want to be my friend in person, so I removed her from my friends list.” But what’s done is done.

At this point I do think it would be reasonable to straight up block her. The beauty of blocking is you each just become invisible to one another – she can’t even message you to ask why you blocked her. She would have to approach you personally, face to face… and well, I bet she won’t.

Its not like blocking her hurts her, nor is it even all that public – people would have to really look to see you aren’t even friends anymore and would only know you blocked if you or she mentioned it – so its not like its humiliating. It would simply be removing her from your sphere of friends, a place where it doesn’t sound like she belongs anyway.

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onlyme June 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I’m surprised you didn’t say something to her mother before this.

I agree its not normal behaviour, but its not normal for anyone, not just a 15 year old. If this was a boy or an adult, would you have dealt with it differently? Please say something to the girls mother or parents.

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Chey June 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Wha…. What on earth???
I just can’t even begin to make sense of this. I would have no idea what to do, and I don’t even know what is going on. Just that it is REALLY WEIRD!
I can’t comprehend why she’s doing this.
Like Admin said, I’d probably tell her parents, and stop responding to her until something was resolved. I just don’t know, though. I’ve never heard of someone acting quite like this before. 0.o

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Jane June 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Sounds like the girl has a crush or something. I’d be very careful of developing that kind of relationship with a 15-year old. It’s one thing to think she wanted a mentor, but it really shouldn’t have been allowed to reach this level of, frankly, obsession. Block and unfriend her!

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Sarah Jane June 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Unless an adult is in a very specific position expected to help adolescents (youth ministry, official mentoring, etc.), I think it is a VERY bad idea to socialize, in person or electronically, with teenagers, especially one at a time.

Please dialogue with her parents. They may have no clue as to her online activities.

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