You may recall that the inspiration for this series of posts (Men to Avoid) was an article I found in the June issue of Psychology Today. (click here to view first post of the series.) Now that I am planning work on my first novel, The Stalker (working title), the stalker type or rejection-sensitive man has been lurking around in my brain. Rejection sensitive people take everything personally and perceive slights in your words and actions regardless of actuality. As the article aptly puts it, “They become unglued at the hint of disapproval.”
When the RS feels rejected they may react in many different ways usually whining if they have the wherewithal to communicate their feelings,bizarrely out of context anger or in some passive aggressive way like stalking. You have to walk on eggshells around these people because they are waiting for you to slight them and they take everything personally. The Shoe Guy was rejection sensitive. He barraged me with nasty texts after I politely suggested he look for his ideal mate elsewhere. (To see more about the shoe guy click here. )
I knew a man like this in college and have met at least one more recently. These guys seemed like nice, quiet, people on the exterior but were always listening for signals or creating them in their minds that they were being rejected. The guy I knew in college was part of a circle of friends who often hung out together. I fail to recall him asking me out for a date but apparently he felt that I had spurned him and started calling me at random intervals around the clock. This was before caller id and cell phones (ouch, who remembers that?) so I had no idea that it was he until I had moved to NYC and the calling suddenly started up again when he showed up in town. Eventually, his circumstances changed and he stopped stalking me.
The other guy went off the handle during our first (and last) outing. I made a purposefully overly shallow remark in a conversation with a waiter as a joke and this guy began to seethe. But rather than asking me to clarify what I meant he took the words that were neither spoken to him nor about him personally and a couple of hours later lit into me with some fairly bitter words. I was astonished that he had interpreted the passing remark as being about him and shocked at the lack of social savvy and communication skills he displayed. A mutual friend later revealed that he had been cyber stalking me since.
The best thing to do is to avoid people like this if at all possible. If you must associate with them, say as little as possible and keep the focus and conversation on them. The less you say, the less clay they have to mold into perceived rejections.
Have you ever had a run in with this type of person? If so, how did you handle it?