Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Techno-quette => Topic started by: TurtleDove on November 05, 2013, 03:53:55 PM

Title: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: TurtleDove on November 05, 2013, 03:53:55 PM
My husband has an ex-girlfriend who is, by all accounts, a "nice" but unstable person with a tendency to stalk.  We have friends in common because all three of us attended the same school and church system, though I am 8 years younger than my husband and she is 8 years younger than I am.  When my husband and I first started dating, it was clear that she was facebook stalking me through "likes" and comments on mutual friends' photos of me.  She also had a tendency to "show up" places where my then boyfriend was, and several times I noticed her lurking outside my house.  I had several mutual friends mention to me that she was asking them about me, repeatedly and enough that it caused them to mention it to me.  Just weird stuff.

I am a member of a facebook group that is a subgroup for one of my gyms.  It is an open group, but there is no reason anyone who is not a member of my gym would have reason to know it exists or want to be involved.....unless they are stalking me and my public activity on facebook.  Guess who joined that facebook subgroup, the only person in the group who is not a member at my gym: (oh the suspense!!!!!!!)  The ex-GF!!!!!

Obviously I am not going to do anything about this, but I am just itching to "like" that she joined the group or somehow let her know I know what she is doing. As far as I can tell, she is not "friends" with anyone in the group so I can't think of any real way she would even know about it.

The question: is what she did poor techno-quette or is it "okay" becauase it is a public/open facebook group? 
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: PastryGoddess on November 05, 2013, 04:05:45 PM
It's an open facebook group so there is no way to prevent her from joining.  Why don't you block her and update your privacy settings?  This way she has less ability to see all of the things you are doing.

Also, stalkers aren't nice people.  They are people who rely on other people being too nice to call them on their behavior to get away with things
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: peaches on November 05, 2013, 04:18:01 PM
I think it's a mistake to let her know that you know what she's up to.

Stalkers thrive on drama, and any contact with their subject, good or bad, means that you're "in the game" with them, which is just what they want. Contact is like oxygen to a stalker.

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

I recommend the book The Gift of Fear. Part of the book is dedicated to explaining the psychology of the stalker and how to deal with one. It also has great advice about personal safety.

Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: JenJay on November 05, 2013, 04:19:37 PM
To answer your question, no, I don't think what she's doing is okay. She's clearly monitoring your online activity.

Is there some "valid" reason for her to be outside your house? Do you live in a very walkable neighborhood where she could say she just happened to be at the bar/cafe/shop across the street from you, or is this a strictly houses neighborhood and she was lurking around? That'd be freaking creepy. How did she even know where you lived?

You should be able to leave your FB activity wide open without worrying about it but obviously that's not happening. I'm with PastryGoddess in that I'd lock down my security settings so that everything I post is available to friends only (sounds like you're on friends-of-friends or public). I'd also block her so that, as far as she can tell, you disappear from FB altogether.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Judah on November 05, 2013, 04:35:29 PM
I think it's a mistake to let her know that you know what she's up to.

Stalkers thrive on drama, and any contact with their subject, good or bad, means that you're "in the game" with them, which is just what they want. Contact is like oxygen to a stalker.

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

I agree. If it were me, I'd block her.  If you react in any way, she'll find a way to turn it around on you and make it look like you're the one creating drama.  She can't get any satisfaction if she can't see your activity at all.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Tabby Uprising on November 05, 2013, 05:07:43 PM
I agree that the time may have come to block her.  Whether or not it is technically "ok" to join an open group you have no association with, her actions have nefarious motivations that override that.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Miss Tickle on November 05, 2013, 10:21:29 PM
My husband has an ex-girlfriend who is, by all accounts, a "nice" but unstable person with a tendency to stalk.  We have friends in common because all three of us attended the same school and church system, though I am 8 years younger than my husband and she is 8 years younger than I am.  When my husband and I first started dating, it was clear that she was facebook stalking me through "likes" and comments on mutual friends' photos of me.  She also had a tendency to "show up" places where my then boyfriend was, and several times I noticed her lurking outside my house.  I had several mutual friends mention to me that she was asking them about me, repeatedly and enough that it caused them to mention it to me.  Just weird stuff.

The question: is what she did poor techno-quette or is it "okay" becauase it is a public/open facebook group?

Snort.

Yeah, no, that's totally cool. What's the matter with you? She just wants to know everything about you! You should totes friend her and gush about your love life.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: sweetonsno on November 06, 2013, 12:09:05 AM
It's certainly odd. She is certainly odd. I think it's time to adjust your privacy settings.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Kiwichick on November 06, 2013, 03:26:41 AM
I wouldn't bother adjusting my privacy settings for one person.  Just block her.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: bonyk on November 06, 2013, 04:24:59 AM
It's the equivalent of a sibling putting their finger an inch away from their bro/sis's face and chanting, "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!"

Yes, it's rude, but she's not touching you! 
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Twik on November 06, 2013, 08:57:28 AM
I think we're leaving etiquette territory and getting into "real weirdness" territory.

If you're actually asking, "Do I have a right to feel uneasy about what she's doing?" the answer is yes. While it is not "rude" to join a Facebook group that's open to the public, it is bizarre to do so when you have no connection to the group other than the spouse of your ex-lover is a member. Showing up both IRL and online in places that she should not be expected is classic stalking, and your response must be based on the fact that a mentally stable person would not be doing this.

As tempting as it is, don't "like" her on FB. Treat her as if she were invisible. She has a grand fantasy in her mind about how this is going to play out (one that likely involves tons of drama, with her as Cinderella), and if you pay her any overt attention, that will feed the fantasy and keep it alive. If you act as if she's not there, she may get bored eventually and move on to a new target.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: SmarterPrimate on November 06, 2013, 11:29:37 AM
I think we're leaving etiquette territory and getting into "real weirdness" territory.

If you're actually asking, "Do I have a right to feel uneasy about what she's doing?" the answer is yes. While it is not "rude" to join a Facebook group that's open to the public, it is bizarre to do so when you have no connection to the group other than the spouse of your ex-lover is a member. Showing up both IRL and online in places that she should not be expected is classic stalking, and your response must be based on the fact that a mentally stable person would not be doing this.

As tempting as it is, don't "like" her on FB. Treat her as if she were invisible. She has a grand fantasy in her mind about how this is going to play out (one that likely involves tons of drama, with her as Cinderella), and if you pay her any overt attention, that will feed the fantasy and keep it alive. If you act as if she's not there, she may get bored eventually and move on to a new target.

POD! To the Enth Degree!

This sounds so much like what my husband’s ex did. Nothing totally out there, but just enough contact to squik. me. out. I’m not on Facebook so she couldn’t stalk me there. However, she moved into an apartment around the corner from our house (she’s since been evicted); she applied twice for a job at my office; she seeks out my friends and spews garbage about her past “relati0nship” with both my husband and myself; she even approached my husband at a festival, clutching a handful of pictures “she wanted him to have” that were taken when they went on a road trip together, 16 years ago, before he and I met! I honestly had my MOH at our wedding keep his eyes peeled as I was convinced she’d try to find a way in.

I can’t really comment on the etiquette of the OP’s stalker joining a public FB group, since, as I mentioned, I’m not on FB. I would guess it’s not rude of her to have joined that group, but it is absolutely creepy. I whole-heartedly agree with those who say – “block, block, block”! To me, that would be the digital version of a real-life “ignore, ignore, ignore”! Which is what I do with my husbands ex. If I see her, I look away. If she starts to approach, I physically leave. If she ever actually finds a way to speak to me again, I will coldly and politely say, “Please leave me alone.”

OP, please be safe!
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Spring Water on Sundays on November 06, 2013, 01:30:56 PM
Block her and she won't be able to see anything about you on FB.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: darkprincess on November 06, 2013, 02:53:15 PM
Stalking is always rude. Be very careful and I suggest blocking her. I agree that you should read The Gift of Fear. What this women is doing is not normal behaviour and you should not take it lightly.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: aussie_chick on November 07, 2013, 04:41:27 AM
I too think this exits etiquette (what's polite) and has entered freakyville (creepy, weird and in some cases stalkerish and illegal behaviour)
Block block block. There is no reason for this person who you do not have a relationship with to know anything about you or your activities.
Don't engage. Just block.
The time to engage is when she is hanging out in front of your home. But even then, you don't engage. You call the police to engage. She asks your friends about you? You don't engage but then neither should they. It's not their place to talk about you to this person either. Teach them to bean dip! Or a simple "I don't want to discuss Turtledove with you. Beandip?"

If that went wayyyyy past what I should be replying on an etiquette forum, apologies Admins, please delete as appropriate.

In terms of techno-quette - open groups can be joined by anyone who wants to regardless of their relevance. Is it weird if she's not connected to the gym? sure!
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: poundcake on November 07, 2013, 08:26:38 AM
She won't get bored. Go ahead and block her, and possibly ask your bf to do the same.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Twik on November 07, 2013, 08:44:27 AM
I'm not sure why the OP put quotation marks around "stalking". This isn't sort-of stalking, this is the real thing. Stalking doesn't have to involve physical threats.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: kategillian on November 07, 2013, 12:39:34 PM
POD to what Peaches said. One of the main points in that excellent book 'The Gift of Fear' is that when someone makes you feel uncomfortable, but you can't say why, is that you have unconsciously picked up on a reason to feel uncomfortable. This woman obviously makes you feel that way, and you should take steps to end any association with her.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Goosey on November 07, 2013, 01:22:41 PM
Why in the world didn't you block her when she started showing up outside your house  :o Seems like that would have been the most logical response. You know what she is doing is wrong, but you also know you won't change her. You said she had this "tendancy". Well, cut her off.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: JoW on November 08, 2013, 08:17:41 PM
I would take the blocking a step further.  Talk to everyone in the group, tell them what you've told us, and ask everyone in the group to block her. 
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: jedikaiti on November 08, 2013, 08:24:06 PM
I don't think you can reasonably ask all those people to block her, but you can ask mutual acquaintences to not share any details of your life with her.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: CakeEater on November 11, 2013, 04:00:23 AM
To answer your original question, yes, I do think it's overly familiar to make comments on people's pages when you don't have a 'reason'. That's an awful sentence.

Generally, I think people should behave on FB in accordance with how close they are to a FB 'friend' in real life. So maybe your best friend in the world could join your gym group to see what you're up to, but anyone else doing that would be odd. Whereas anyone on your friends list could like a picture of you finishing a marathon.

I tend to be on the conservative side of how I interact with people on FB.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: veronaz on November 16, 2013, 09:46:44 PM
Quote
She also had a tendency to "show up" places where my then boyfriend was, and several times I noticed her lurking outside my house.  I had several mutual friends mention to me that she was asking them about me, repeatedly and enough that it caused them to mention it to me.

Definitely block her and adjust your FB privacy settings.  But I see a bigger problem here – not just a FB problem. 

As someone else said, I think we left etiquette territory, and I also think her actions go way beyond weird. 

She is a genuine, serious stalker.  Red lights and sirens are flashing and blaring all over the place.

Someone who is still hung up on a man/woman often tries to find out all they can about that person’s partner/spouse.  She is beyond ‘hung up’ - she is obsessed.

Have you talked to your DH about the times (several….plural) you saw her lurking outside your house (!!!), the way she shows up at places where he is, and also the way she has been making inquiries?  What did he say/do?  What did you do when she was lurking outside your house (on several occasions)?  Have you and/or DH told her she is trespassing and to stay away?

To be quite frank, I’d document all incidents (include dates, times, who told you about her inquiries) and file a police report. 

Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Raintree on December 20, 2013, 02:28:37 AM
You can lock down your privacy settings but if you join an open group, anyone can see the posts you make there. But you can block her, so that as far as she can see, you don't exist on Facebook at all. The only way someone can tell you've blocked them is if, on some discussion thread (on a mutual friend's wall, or an open group), someone posts after you, "I agree, Turtledove, glad you said that" (or some such thing).

And yes, it's weird to join a group you are clearly not part of. We had a high school reunion group going for a specific grad class, and some guy who says he went to that school 30 years before us joined and would "like" and comment. He seemed pretty harmless, and probably just lonely, but I found it weird that he would post in that group at all. Nobody seemed to know him IRL either.
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: Cherry91 on December 20, 2013, 03:49:46 AM
Don't engage her - I remember reading an article by a psychologist that said if you react to a stalker after trying to ignore them, all you've done is inform them they need to bother you X many times before you respond.

Also, if you're not already, document document document everything the ex-gf is doing. That way if she gets worse, you can take all the proof to the authorities instead of having to deal with it while you gather evidence
Title: Re: The Peculiar "Stalking"
Post by: SamiHami on December 20, 2013, 07:48:16 AM
It's the equivalent of a sibling putting their finger an inch away from their bro/sis's face and chanting, "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!"

Yes, it's rude, but she's not touching you!

Best description ever! Perfect.