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How Do I Get This Guy to Back Off? 

Hey Athena,

I recently went on a trip with many of my friends to Washington, D.C. My boyfriend couldn't come with me, unfortunately. One of my friends, a guy I had formerly been enemies with, approached me at the Jefferson Memorial and confessed that he really liked me. I told him that I wasn't interested in him. He kept talking to me, saying he could be a better boyfriend than my current one. This made me really angry, but I calmly told him that I love my boyfriend and that I had no feelings for him other than friendship. He told me he wouldn't give up. How do I get him to back off and leave me alone? I told my boyfriend about this and he called my friend, also telling him to back off, but it didn't work. Please help.


Get Off My Back

Dear Get Off My Back,

I'm not sure whether to be freaked about a potential stalker situation or just annoyed that this bozo doesn't get the picture.

If he's a stalker-y weirdo who doesn't give you the space you're demanding, then tell him, again, in a letter. (And save a copy.) Make it clear that if he doesn't bug off, you will notify the police. And don't go back on your threat should he dismiss your boundaries. If he scares you, inform the police. If you want him gone for good, you must show him that you're serious. Safety first, my friend.

But if he's just a pain in the ass who is so blindsided by his love for you that he can't and won't give up trying? Remember this: You told him you had "no feelings for him other than friendship." But you don't really want his friendship. Yeah, in a perfect world, you'd both quickly move on to a casual, no-hard-feelings kind of setup — but dream on. He's not content with being your friend. He said so himself. So you have to really send the message home.

If at all possible, avoid being where he is. I know this might mean missing out on a few special occasions with friends, but tell them what you're doing and why. Put it out there for all to know that you don't want him around. If you do find yourself in the same place at the same time, either leave or pretend he's not there. And if he approaches you, firmly tell him to respect your boundaries. Be specific when you tell him what type of behavior is unacceptable. Make no apologies, and don't offer the false hope that if he "behaves," you can be buddies. He might enjoy that challenge, so make it impossible for him to get to you.

Be confident and don't waver for one minute.



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