Table of contents
- What is stalking?
- Signs that your former friend is stalking you
- Why is your ex-friend stalking you?
- How do stalkers use manipulation to feed their obsession?
- Guilt-tripping you or inventing fake emergencies to gain your sympathy
- Making empty promises
- Blackmailing you
- Highlighting your insecurities
- Twisting your words or gaslighting you
- Wooing you with expensive or elaborate gifts
- What to do when a friend is stalking you
- Take it seriously
- Tell friends and family
- Collect evidence
- Seek legal help
- Stop blaming yourself
- Find emotional support
- Change your number
- Get off social media
- Be ready in case of an attack
- Change your routine
- Consider installing a security system
- Change your passwords
- Seek a restraining order
- Block their number
- Avoid contact with the stalker
- Resources to help
- How to handle obsessive former friends
What is stalking?
Stalking is any unwanted or repeated surveillance or contact by someone against another. In most cases, stalking is a form of harassment and intimidation. In other instances, the stalker invades the victim’s privacy in some way.
This includes a situation where someone is spying on your phone to monitor your online activity and to find out what you’re up to or who you’re talking to online.
Signs that your former friend is stalking you
The lines can be blurred when dealing with a stalker that’s also a former friend because they once had unlimited access to you.
Maybe you previously established healthy boundaries in the relationship. However, your former friend no longer respects them since you’ve severed ties with them, which makes you feel uncomfortable.
Your ex-best friend contacting you regardless of you asking them not to is a sign they’re stalking you, but there’s more. Consider whether you’ve experienced any of the incidents listed below, which constitute stalking behavior.
- Setting up fake accounts to impersonate you on social media
- Spreading false rumors about you online
- Repeatedly calling and hanging up, breathing heavily into the phone, or hurling insults at you
- Sending you unsolicited emails, text messages, and messages on social media
- Bringing or mailing you unwanted gifts
- Leaving you tons of letters in your mailbox
- Randomly showing up to the places you go to
- Forcing you to talk to them even when you’ve refused
- Contacting your friends and family members when they can’t get through to you
- Sharing your personal information with other people, like posting your cellphone number online so that strangers can harass you.
Why is your ex-friend stalking you?
There’s no sure way of knowing why your ex-friend may be spying on you unless they’ve told you the reason. Here are possible reasons your former friend may be monitoring you:
- They weren’t ready for the friendship to end
- They’re hurt by the demise of your friendship
- They want to reconcile
- They’re trying to get your attention
- They’re jealous of your new friend(s)
- You were their only friend or their closest friend
- They genuinely miss you, so they look at your online profiles to keep up with you.
It’s easy for stalkers to monitor you online this when your IP address isn’t protected because it can reveal what websites you visit and even your location. That’s why protecting your online privacy is paramount.
Use a VPN service to deal with ex-friends that are stalking you. Clario is an anti-spy app that achieves this. It includes a safe and reliable VPN tool that protects your privacy by masking your IP address. This allows you to connect to a long list of servers in various locations globally, so you can choose one halfway across the world to throw stalkers off your trail.
A VPN is a must-have for anyone who uses the internet, especially when an ex-friend is stalking you. Don’t think twice; start using Clario’s VPN tool today. Try Clario’s VPN and other anti-spy tools to protect your personal information.
Here’s how to use Clario’s VPN tool in three easy steps:
- Download Clario on your device (Clario is compatible with macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android devices) and set up an account
- Get yourself a subscription and create an account
- Switch on Browsing protection by tapping the slider
- Tap Turn on > Allow (you might be prompted to enter your phone’s passcode).
That’s it. Clario will connect you to the best server.
How do stalkers use manipulation to feed their obsession?
One of the stalkers’ main tactics is manipulating their victims, and they do this in several ways. Below are examples of how your former bestie can manipulate you while stalking you.
Guilt-tripping you or inventing fake emergencies to gain your sympathy
Stalkers are usually good at playing mind games. A former friend knows you well, so they know what pulls at your heartstrings. Because they know you care about them, they’ll come up with fake scenarios that you’re likely to fall for, so you can feel sorry for them.
For example, they’ll make statements like, “You hate me” or “You don’t care about me,” so you can convince them otherwise or start showing them love and affection.
Making empty promises
Your former friend may make you endless empty promises so that they can stay in contact with you as long as possible. For instance, they may promise to return something that belongs to you but come up with excuses when that time comes around. They do this to keep the communication lines open so they have a reason to engage with you.
When a stalker starts losing grip or no longer has control of the situation, they’ll resort to blackmailing you — no matter how ridiculous it may sound. They can threaten to expose you for something at work or tell your family about something personal that they know you wouldn’t want them to know. In many cases, these are false accusations, but they do this to evoke feelings of self-blame or self-hate. They also hope you’ll continue talking to them in exchange for their silence.
Highlighting your insecurities
Everyone has insecurities, and your ex-friend knows yours well. While they might have protected those insecurities in the past, all bets are off when the friendship is over — especially if they’re bitter about it. They do this because they believe exposing your insecurities is a sure way to get your attention and cooperation.
Twisting your words or gaslighting you
Has someone ever twisted your words so much that you started doubting the truth? A crazy ex-friend will do anything to get their way, including gaslighting or twisting your words in their favor. That may include altering the truth about why the friendship ended so they don’t feel responsible. This would make them feel better about themselves or convince you to keep them around out of guilt or sympathy for them.
Wooing you with expensive or elaborate gifts
When all else fails, former friends will shower you with expensive gifts they think you can’t refuse, which would win them favor with you. Never accept gifts of any kind from someone you’re trying to cut ties with, as they’ll hold it over your head in the future.
What to do when a friend is stalking you
If you’re convinced a friend is watching but don’t know what to do about it or where to start, we’ve got you. Here’s what you should do:
Take it seriously
It’s not a joke when someone stalks you. The sooner you take it seriously, the sooner they’ll know it’s unacceptable.
Tell friends and family
It’s always a good idea to notify your loved ones when you’re being stalked, so they can look out for you and support you. If they know your stalker, an intervention may get them to back off.
Keep records of every incident with your stalker, whether it occurs online or in person. Those records might come in handy if the behavior escalates and law enforcement gets involved.
Seek legal help
Different states have varying laws for stalking incidents. Speak with a lawyer about your options.
Stop blaming yourself
No matter what your stalker tells you, there’s nothing you could’ve done to warrant their behavior. Many friendships have ended amicably without one party becoming obsessive over the other.
Find emotional support
Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a stalker ex knows firsthand how emotionally taxing it is, especially given how erratic their behavior can be. If there was ever a time to lean on your support structure, this is it.
Change your number
If a former friend is stalking you, they may not immediately stop when you tell them to. Get a new phone number and only give it to a handful of people you trust. Let them know they shouldn’t share it with others. This will limit your stalker’s ability to reach out to you.
Get off social media
Consider lying low for a while until your stalker stops harassing you. Remember, they might not be thrilled to see how happy you are without them in the pictures you post, so this is one way to get them off your back.
Be ready in case of an attack
You may need to take self-defense classes if you believe your life is in danger. Keep items to protect yourself in your home and car, like a TASER and pepper spray. Be constantly aware of your surroundings in case your stalker tries to attack you.
Change your routine
Stalkers typically watch your movements, so switch things up by taking different routes and getting friends and family to escort you sometimes. When your routine is unpredictable, your stalker can’t plan around it.
Consider installing a security system
If you have the money, installing a security system can give you peace of mind. A doorbell camera can also serve as proof that you’re being stalked if your stalker comes to your door.
Change your passwords
If your friend has been around you, they may have seen you enter the passwords for your social media or online accounts. Create strong passwords and use a password manager to stop your hacker from getting into your email and other online accounts.
Seek a restraining order
Your former friend might not respect your privacy, but they might respect the law. File a restraining order to keep them away from you.
Block their number
Block all numbers associated with your stalker, including their friends and family members’ numbers, to stop them from contacting you.
Avoid contact with the stalker
The more you engage your stalker, the more they’ll continue contacting you. Shut down all contact with your former friend. Don’t try to hear them out at all — go cold turkey to make it clear that you don’t want to interact with them. Maybe they’ll lose steam and eventually give up on talking to you.
Resources to help
Regardless of your financial situation, there are various resources to help you with legal and psychological assistance. Check them out below:
- The National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center offers a ton of resources for stalking victims
- Read the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s stalking safety planning tips
- WomensLaw.org provides state-specific guides to victims' laws, including stalking laws
- Use the Family Justice Center Alliance’s printable stalking log to keep a record of stalking incidents
- The VictimConnect Resource Center provides confidential referrals and other resources for victims
- Go to Nolo’s Resources for Victims of Crime to find helpful resources and a list of organizations that can help you.
You can always dial 911 when you’re in immediate danger.
How to handle obsessive former friends
It can be hard to tell when a former friend is stalking you, as you aren’t dealing with a stranger. Use the advice in this article to distinguish between an ex-friend who misses you and one who’s stalking you.
Never doubt your instincts — take action by establishing your boundaries, staying offline as far as possible, and seeking help and support from your loved ones and the law as necessary. No matter what, use Clario’s VPN tool at all times to keep an obsessive stalker’s eyes out of your business. This will, in turn, help you protect your personal information and stay safe. Now you don’t have to worry about being tracked by an ex-friend that is obsessed with you.