Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
We’ve all been there: One person is romantically interested in another, and the object of their desire wants nothing to do with them.
Being on the “rejected” side of this equation can sting, but it’s not always better to be the one who’s pursued. It can be exhausting, stressful, and potentially dangerous it can be when you try to let someone down easy, and that person just doesn’t get the hint.
This problem is exacerbated in the era of dating apps and social media. Women in particular often report getting hateful messages when they spurn or ignore online sexual advances, but with so many different channels to connect with people, rejected dating app users may not give up so easily. For instance, if the interested party doesn’t get a response from someone on Tinder, that person may resort to “Tindstagramming” – a troubling new dating trend in which a user direct messages a failed Tinder match via Instagram.
If you’re receiving attention from someone you don’t want to date, they’ll likely back off when you don’t return their affections. It might take some time, but most people have enough common sense and dignity to walk away when they realize they’re embarrassing themselves.
In other cases, unwanted advances may be harder stop. If you’ve exchanged phone numbers or even gone on a date, an unrequited crush can quickly turn into an obsession – perhaps even stalking.
When a minor annoyance turns to serious concern, you may need to take a firmer stance with the person who’s interested in you. Follow these steps to get someone to leave you alone.
1. Directly State That You’re Not Interested
As sympathetic human beings, we often sugarcoat the truth or tell white lies to spare someone’s feelings. However, some people only respond to blunt, direct statements, and saying anything but, “Leave me alone, I’m not interested,” will leave them thinking they still have a chance. You don’t need make up an excuse, like telling someone you have a boyfriend or girlfriend if you don’t. Be honest and stand up for yourself by telling the person you don’t want to date them.
2. Block The Person’s Phone Number And/Or Social Media Profile
Unfortunately, telling someone to back off sometimes makes them more determined to change your mind. One Tinder user told New York Magazine that a Tindstagrammer continued to send her (unreturned) DMs for two years before she finally blocked his account. If the person you rejected keeps contacting you, put a stop to it by blocking their phone number or social media profile.
3. Set Your Social Media Networks To Private
When you block someone on social media, they may try track down your email address or a different social account through which to contact you. Continue to block the person on each platform as messages comes up, but in the meantime, use the strictest privacy settings on each of your social networks in case that person attempts to make a new account to digitally stalk you.
What do you do if the behavior still doesn’t stop? You may have no choice but to consider a restraining order. Although filing one should be an absolute last resort, the threat of jail time may be enough to get even the most persistent individual to finally give up the ghost.
Remember, you have a right to set boundaries and put an end to unwanted attention. Whether you’re using a dating app, out on the town, or simply living your everyday life, stay alert and protect yourself when you start feeling creeped out.