A few years ago I finished University and my friendship group dispersed; so much has changed since then and people I thought would be my friend for a long time turned sour. The biggest problem was with a friend of mine, whom I lived with, that had a strong crush on me. We were good friends for years but his crush was very domineering. It never was spoken about until he asked me out, and I politely declined.
I had never had a partner before and I did not find him attractive, so never reciprocated his emotions, but he persisted to the point of obsession; as time went by, and graduation loomed, he began stalking me, and on several occasions he threatened my life. He told a friend he could kill me if he wanted, and I got frightened of him. He had a history of depression and we always knew it, but it seemed to become very bad and he would not get help.
I was so offended and scared of who he became after my rejection, I severed all contact with him. Now, three years later, I am seeking a job in a company that I dream of working at and have found out he works there too.
How should I deal with meeting this person again? I have a loving boyfriend now and am nervous of meeting this old friend. How will he react - how should I act? Any advice is appreciated.
Blackwolf (age 25, England)
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The biggest mistake that people make when they feel threatened by others (fearing sexual or other physical violence) is to keep it to themselves. I would also suggest that you familiarize yourself with English law about harassment and stalking (cf. http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/stalking_and_harassment/#a03a).
In retrospect, I would have advised you to keep a record of any and all instances of previous harassment, including taking note of what he told other people, who these people were, and when he said it. I would have recorded conversations on the telephone, emails, etc. For now, though, I would say that it would be a good idea for you to reconstruct everything you can remember about what happened for future reference.
Next, as per the above, I would go to the head of your Human Resources Department and make sure they are aware of the situation. This isn’t the same as bringing charges of any type, since he hasn’t yet done anything at your workplace, but your employer should be aware of your fears now and don’t feel embarrassed to suggest they keep a discreet eye on him, including his Internet activities (many businesses are very capable of seeing what their employees do in emails and Web activities). While you are in the HR office, pick the brains of the people there and ask them for advice on what you should do, whether police should be notified, and what company policies are about harassment and stalking.
If at all possible, avoid meeting or talking to this guy. If you can’t do that and have to deal with him, keep it at a 100% professional level; that is, only talk about business. Do not discuss ANYTHING personal about your life, either now or in the past. He is a robot to you, a functionary, that’s all.
Good luck! HUGS!
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