Have you ever been accused of stalking , but thought “That’s ridiculous! I’m totes norms! I have friends! Plus, deep down the object of my stalking really enjoys my attention!”
But then… At 11:27 a.m. on a Thursday… when the sloppy ignorant bliss of weed and alcohol has faded into sober introspection, a teeny part of you wonders, “Gee willickers, am I a stalker??”
As a doctor of philosophy in psychology, I know that these conflicting thoughts can cause great monostress* and distress. Never one to leave persons from marginalized groups without resources for empowerment, I have chosen to share my profound wisdom and support for anyone with niggling doubts about their stalker status.
You are likely a stalker if 2 or more of these apply to you…
The person has blocked you from any / all routes of contact (Facebook, instagram, texting, etc.)
Your friends have expressed – verbally, through uncomfortable body language, or marked silence – their discomfort with your behavior regarding the potentially stalked person
You have asked yourself, “Could this be seen as stalking?”
You wouldn’t want to share with anyone your “process” in contacting / pursuing this person
You “coincidentally” become involved in every open social group they are a part of
The person you are contacting never reaches out to you
You own a pair of binoculars
You have to pick leaves out of your hair after you see them
When you see them they don’t always see you
You are definitely a stalker if any one of these apply to you…
The person has directly or indirectly given all indications they do not want to speak to, hear from, or see you again, and you continue contacting them.
Do you enjoy social events, but rely on the invitations of others?
Do you find yourself longing for weekend pals, but tremble at the idea of inviting people to join your activities?
Has your popularity plunged once you became an adult because a large educational institution was no longer forcing you to interact with your peers?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, you may suffer from invitaphobia.
If you do suffer from invitaphobia, do not panic. I am here to help you walk through the process of extending a warm invitation to all those friends you’re not sure are your real friends because you never hang out with them.
Decide you want to do something
This doesn’t need to be elaborate – no need to get wild and decide you want a party. That is quite advanced and unsafe for anyone suffering from invitaphobia. Start small. Let’s just say your hungry, so you decide to eat.
Pick up your phone
If this seems taxing, Denise Austin will walk you through an invigorating arm work out to make sure your arm movement is loose and graceful as you reach for your phone and bring it to your face.
Scroll through your contacts until you see a name that does not make you want to vomit.
If there is literally no one in your contacts that meets this criteria, take a nap, watch a Parks and Rec episode, eat 2.75 spoons of peanut butter straight up, and then try again.
Select the “message” option under their contact information. Please see the picture below for details.
Construct your invite message
You can use this simple formula : Hey ___(contact’s name, or preferred nickname)___ ! I’m planning to ___(desired activity determined on step 1)___ at ___(specific location)___, around ___(provide general time range)___. Want to join?
If this seems overwhelming, I have broken it down into baby steps. Today, all you have to do is read this post and share it with everyone you know. Tomorrow, read it aloud to your houseplants. The day after that, just try step one. Then each day after that, try adding one step at a time, until you make it all the way to step 6. If a given person doesn’t respond in a timely manner or can’t come, repeat steps 1-6 with another non-vomity person.
Please send me your success stories so I can post them and form a safe circle of encouragement!
I talk a lot about how to Forget It and Drive On (aka FIDO), but I was recently convicted about how narrow minded I have been. Some of you don’t feel like FIDOing, but want to Remember and Stay Here (RASH). In honor of symmetry and inclusivity, I’m offering 10 steps that are guaranteed to kick any efforts at FIDOing right where it hurts. This is especially helpful for RASHing when it comes to romantical angst. Lean in and listen up!
1) Talk about your heart break obsessively
Talk about it with your mom, sister, friends, hairstylist, Trader Joe’s cashier.. Don’t be duped by sneaky changes of subject – whenever anyone tries to distract you and talk about something uplifting, skillfully work around that positivity and drive your depressing convo down the court (SPORTS REFERENCE!! WHAT?!).
2) Create shrines in physical space
Did you used to get frosty’s with your ex-bf at your neighborhood Wendy’s? Make sure you declare this space Sacred and try to create as few new memories there as possible. That way, if/when you do find yourself at that Wendy’s, you can be flooded with memories of that person. When the moment is right, make sure you confide quietly to your friend group, “I’m sorry.. it’s just that.. we always used to come here for Frosty Friday.” Then let a gentle river of tears run down your cheeks. Quiver your lips for extra effect.
3) Picture obsess
Don’t let personal time go to waste doing anything productive or refreshing. Jump on the interwebs, and go through every picture you and your past love ever took together – especially ones that mark momentous occasions (e.g. the first night you kissed). Zoom in on the person’s face. Think about how great you looked together. Print out the pic that brings back the most painful, bittersweet memories, and post on your ceiling so it’s the first thing you see every morning.
4) Define yourself by your pain
It’s important to make sure that this event defines you. You are no longer a 27 year old female with a PhD, you are a heart-broken 27 year old female with a PhD.
5) Never stop asking “But.. Why???!”
Make every attempt to understand every action and intent that led to the situation. Whatever you do, never think to yourself “I may never know – that person’s behavior and those events could have arisen for several different reasons, and that’s okay.” No ma’am! It is *not* okay! I suggest making a string-conspiracy board to figure it out.
6) Revel in the drama
Whether you’re feeling sad, mad, guilty, jealous, etc., make sure you just dive headfirst in that ocean of dramatic feels. Make it clear to everyone that you are A LITTLE EMOTIONAL RIGHT NOW. One of my fave ways to do this is to post cryptic, depressing status updates on social media.
7) Split your life epochs around the event / person
Thinking about your life in years, education (e.g. high school, college, grad school), or jobs will not do. The period of your life before you dated Jo-Jo is now “Pre- Jo-Jo” and the time after “Post- Jo-Jo”. Everything hinges on this event. It has split your heart, therefore it must split your life.
8) Refuse to cut your losses or accept that you may have been snookered (aka taken advantage of)
If you think someone wronged you, obsess over how you could have avoided the situation in the first place, how you can seek revenge, or how you can avoid EVER being taken advantage of again. Bonus: guaranteed to ruin all future relationships, romantic or otherwise!
9) Make playlist of feelsy music
Think along the lines of James Blunt’s “Goodbye my Lover.” Whatever music gives you the feels and reminds you of the person, play it loud, play it proud, play it on a loop.
10) Binge watch movies and TV shows that give you the feels
Similarly, stick in that rom com or rom dram that reminds you the most of your relationship when it was happy, and let your ticker marinate in the misery. Think about how your reality was so close to whichever fictional story. Decide that you deserve for that fictional story to be your life.
Good luck, RASHers! Let me know how this goes for you!
Have any more useful RASH tips? Please send them into me!