Advice from the Trenches: Social Media Hell

Dear C:

I realize now that I got involved with “Jack” because I was lonely. He’s creative, entertaining, and really cute, but he also had drastic mood swings and seemed lost without attention. I didn’t mind “sharing” him with several other women he’d call or message when the impulse struck him to “get his thoughts out there.” But that was before he and I ended up having sex one night. Afterwards, he told me I was really special and different, so I started thinking of him as a boyfriend. Big mistake. He suddenly became unreliable and unavailable. We had a fight one night when he canceled on me to see another girl’s play. That was when I got fed up: He was way too unstable for me. I hate it when relationships end on a negative tone, so I decided to message him on Facebook just to see if we could resolve things and end on friendly terms. That’s when the guy turned my life into a social media hell.

I messaged Jack to work things out, but instead of responding in a similar private message, he posted my words on his FB timeline and followed them with “Some people just don’t know when it’s over. I’ve moved on, Dorie. Get over it!” All of his other female friends chimed in about how pathetic I was. I was livid! I didn’t want to get back with him, I just wanted to say a polite goodbye! But when I called and left a message on his phone to set the record straight (I thought) privately, I was in for a shock: The guy actually recorded my voice and made a YouTube video, with a pic he’d taken of me when I felt sad. So here’s this clip of me looking pathetic, with my voice saying over and over “I thought we were friends, Jack… I thought we were friends, Jack…” It made me seem like some idiot loser. All his friends made comments again.

I have no idea what to do now. Jack created this me that isn’t flattering, and isn’t even real, and it seems like anything I do to try to set the record straight just ends with Jack turning it into another media event starring me as a heartbroken stalker. I can’t stand to leave things like this and have people think of me that way! What can I do?

Dumb Dorrie

 

Dear Dorrie:

Do nothing. This guy is a jackass and he is going to figure out a way to turn anything you say or write into a melodrama, with himself cast in the role of the elusive bachelor. He’s doing it to get attention. The guy seems to be making a profession out of it. I predict that some day he will have his own 15 minutes of fame on a reality show, get canceled, then end up two years later with fish lips, an orange tan, and a failing line of beach accessories.

The only remedy to this current circus is to starve the news mill. Don’t give Jack anything to work with. Act as if he doesn’t exist. If anyone mentions Jack’s crap, just say “I haven’t seen the guy for weeks, he must have saved every pic or word he ever got from me. That’s sad. Touching, but sad.”

Whatever you do, don’t post anything on social media, private or public. It can be downloaded and manipulated too easily, and – voilà, Jack gets more of the attention he craves! Just wait it out. Guys like him have the attention span of the average toddler: Dangle something new and shiny in front of him and he’ll go trotting off like a beagle after a bunny. He’ll be on to his next Drama of the Week before you know it.

But here’s what does bother me: You’ve left something out, Dorrie. You. What are you doing with your time, other than worrying about what Jack and his minions think about you? I suggest you forget about them and start figuring out your own life. People who have no sense of their own purpose are far more likely to fall prey to guys like Jack. Jack creates excitement and color. He flatters, he cajoles, he makes it seem like something is going on. If you don’t have anything going on, you get drawn into his circle. From there on in, it’s a downward spiral.

Figure out what you want to do, and get involved with other people who do it too. Learn something new and grow your own abilities. It’s the one thing you will never regret.

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