Skip To Content

    How Do I Deal With Inappropriate Texts From A Friend?

    Plus: What to do about sycophantic Twitter followers.

    I’ve been receiving inappropriate texts from a guy friend who I’ve known about four years. We Gchat and e-mail a couple times a week, usually discussing nothing, but sometimes discussing serious stuff (health, family, etc.) — I trusted him and cared about his well-being. But he’s texted me recently that he wants to hook up, and I do not know how to respond. I liked him in the beginning of our friendship, but I'm not interested anymore. Should I just throw this friendship by the wayside and forget about responding, or is there a polite way to return his text and go back to being platonic friends?

    In the history of human life on this earth (before the humans even, let’s go back that far, it doesn’t matter if nobody was around to fulfill it), has directly telling a platonic friend or a stranger or an ex that you want to hook up with him or her ever been a good idea? No, it has not. It doesn’t matter if it has occasionally worked out. I think some people (like this jerk) get the idea that something is an OK thing to do just because it has, in the past, worked out once or twice in their favor. This is not true, dummies. This guy should not be texting you like this, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it.

    I’m going to call him “this guy” instead of “this friend of yours” because I don’t think this guy is a friend, not really. He’s someone who is hiding behind technology in order to ask you for sex, and that is something that a person’s real friends just don’t do. I don’t know that telling him you’re not interested (which is what you must do) will necessarily decimate your relationship with him, but it might. Whatever it turns into, it won’t be the same as it was before, because now he will always be the person that you thought was your friend who unexpectedly and inappropriately asked you to hook up with him.

    Now, all of this comes from a place of knowing that you don’t want to hook up with him. And he should never have asked, but he also needs to know that you’re not up for it. Text him a firm no, and let him know you’re offended he asked. There is no need to engage further beyond that point — it’s up to you. Then give it some space, and think about whether or not he’s worth your continued efforts.

    Do I need to physically go to the door when I'm picking up a friend (to ring the buzzer, or to get out of my car, or whatever it may be), or is it OK to just text to say that I'm there?

    Why even go? Why not just arrange a Google Hangout over e-mail? Why not just Gchat during the commercial breaks of your guys’ favorite TV show? Why not send a text that says, “hey u busy” and wait for him or her to say “no, u” and then say “want to imagine hanging out for a while,” and then see if he or she writes back “y” or “n.” If it’s a “y,” you can just both lie there on your respective floors, thinking about what it would be like to hang out in real life. You can only kind of remember what you used to do, then.

    I’m kidding. It’s pathetic, in a way, but also normal. That’s totally fine. If you’re standing outside an apartment texting its resident(s) that you are have arrived and are waiting instead of simply pressing a buzzer mere inches from your person, then I think you are very WEIRD, but it’s fine, whatever. Parked in the driveway, that’s totally legit. Go crazy.

    I have a sort-of acquaintance who "favorites" a good amount of my tweets. Probably 99% of all the favorites I've ever gotten are from her. (I just counted seven in the past three days.) I don’t have a lot of followers, so at first I appreciated the attention, but now it feels meaningless and annoying. There isn't much I can do about this, is there?

    OK, here’s the deal, straight up: The Internet is the most annoying thing I can think of. What’s everyone doing? What are we talking about? What are these words we’re making up? Why is there more than one My Little Pony fetishist, and why are we making it easier for them to connect with each other? Have you ever tried explaining to your mom what a subreddit is? She won’t get it because it literally does not matter in any way, and she has shit to do. The Internet is very helpful and important and it is the future (fine, the present), but it is also the actual worst. And I say that with love, but also with hate. Everything about it is going to bother you at least half the time. This you must accept.

    That being said: PYB. That’s a hot new Internet acronym I just made up, and it stands for Pick Your Battles. You are totally entitled to feel however you want to feel about the people who make themselves a part of your social media presence, but some of these feelings you must stuff into the dark recesses of your least-used internal organs. You can hate a coworker who Gchats you with dumb questions, but what benefit would blocking him serve? You are allowed to hate your Facebook friends who publicize their Spotify playlists and project negative qualities on their personalities for doing so, but you aren’t allowed to say anything about it. And you can be annoyed by someone who seemingly indiscriminately favorites your tweets, but you have to let this one go.

    Here’s why: However shallow, however meaningless, however sycophantic, this person is paying you a compliment. It’s the most innocuous one there is too — she’s just clicking a button, not uncomfortably adoring your outfits in front of the whole office every day at work. Certain people’s favorites/RTs are always going to mean more to us than others’, because we’ll feel it’s more genuine, or because we have mutual admiration for them ourselves. But it can’t all be like that. Just ignore it. And if she ever stops favoriting your tweets, then you’ll know you REALLY have a problem.

    FWD: Halp! is a weekly advice column on how to behave like a person when using technology. Would you like said advice? E-mail your questions to Katie.

    Katie Heaney is a contributing editor at BuzzFeed FWD. She thinks you should have good manners, even on the Internet.

    Illustration by Cara Vandermey