My Sad Sack Friend Won't Leave Me Alone
I've already told her to stop contacting me. What else can I do?
Dear Friend or Foe,
In college, my friend "Bev" rebelled against her deeply right-wing Christian background, and she started hanging out with my liberal crew. But after graduation, she moved back to the same small town and began attending the same "Everyone but us is going to hell" church. While our peers began dating, moving in, and getting married, Bev was left on the sidelines. Typically, she got crushes on guys with whom she didn't have the slightest chance—especially since she didn't believe in sex before marriage. She's not attractive, but if she really takes time with her hair, makeup, and clothes, the result isn't bad. However, she gets her hair butchered at cheap shops, wears sloppy clothes and no makeup, and then goes after the best-looking, brightest, most successful guy around.
When I was in grad school, I thought about ending the friendship, as Bev was becoming more bitter and judgmental. She was also bigoted against gays, and many of my good friends are gay or bi. Things came to a head when Bev told me that she was going to Vegas with some friends—a married couple and a male friend of theirs. After the trip, Bev wrote that she was disappointed because she'd hoped the guy would propose and they'd get a quickie wedding. I wrote back saying I was sorry it hadn't worked out but glad she was dating someone seriously. Bev wrote back to say that, not only was she not engaged to this guy; they'd never been on a date or even kissed! In my response, I tried to gently point out that her expectations were unrealistic—and was she sure he was even straight? (She has absolutely NO gaydar.)
The reply I got back was dripping with venom and filled with crazy accusations. I wrote back saying I had no evil thoughts about her but I hoped she'd get professional help—and that it was best if we had no future contact. … In the past year, I've received endless letters (my husband throws them straight in the trash), phone messages (until we moved to a new town), and emails (until I blocked her address). Bev is also the reason I can't join any social media sites. The last straw came when she found my current company on the Internet and sent a sob story email to the general delivery mailbox! The CFO forwarded it to me without comment, and I had to write him an apology and explain that this was from a mentally deranged ex-friend. At that point, I did email Bev and told her in no uncertain terms to LMTFA. Anything else I should do?
Victim of a Stalker Friend
Ah, the stalker friend. We've all had one. Though typically their actions are a little less extreme. That said, what do you say we separate Bev's crimes against humanity (and personal space) from her victimless displays of patheticness? (And you say Bev is judgmental?!) It's not the woman's fault that God did not bestow on her the physical prowess of Gisele Bunchen. Nor should Bev be blamed for getting her hair chopped at Supercuts. As we all know, salon visits can cost a small fortune. I'm also of the opinion that, short of blemishes that need cover-up, makeup does not always enhance the beauty of nonbeautiful people. As for the sloppy clothes, well, as someone who was in her early 20s during the grunge era, I could also make an argument that wearing holey jeans and plaid shirts is the very definition of sex appeal (thought I won't). Moreover, if you were hurling yourself at men who treated you like a cancer while your friends were all busy getting married, you too might get, well, bitter. Finally, I feel compelled to point out that some of my best friends lack basic gaydar skills.
The homophobia is hard to excuse, however—along with the barrage of unwanted communications culminating in the mortifying letter to your boss. On that note, if you hadn't already told poor Bev to LYTFA, I'd probably have advocated just hitting delete. Why? It's possible that even a furious email will inspire her to keep reaching out. But let's hope this is the last you hear from Bad Hair Bev—and that you don't have to file for a restraining order. In your fear and loathing though, can you please retain a shard of sympathy for the woman, who is clearly delusional (See: the Vegas story)?
Friend or Foe
Dear Friend or Foe:
Lucinda Rosenfeld is the author of four novels, including I'm So Happy for You and The Pretty One, which will be published in early 2013.