“When my best friend and I were about 13, we met a dude through one of those sketchy anime forums. We had interesting conversations with him so we added him on good ol’ MSN Messenger. He was also one of the popular people in the forum, so we thought it was a good idea.
I think he was around 24 when we met him. We would chat with him probably every day when we got home from school and so on. We were young and curious, and since we perceived chatting with him as a safe and harmless deed, we would even ask intimate, adult questions since we didn’t know anything about it. To us, he seemed as an open-minded grown-up that would solve our doubts and explain things. We would talk about music, video games, movies, anime, art, even our lives and issues at home and at school. He would tell us about his girlfriend, his family, his job, etc. He truly became one of our friends.
A year later, we continue chatting. He grew increasingly attached to us after breaking up with his long-term girlfriend. It was around Christmas, and he asked for my address to send us a gift. I didn’t want to give mine and told him to get my best friend’s instead, since ‘we don’t have mailboxes in my building and it would end up getting lost or stolen.’ He sent us a box with chocolates, a handwritten letter to each and probably something else, I can’t remember.
Our friendship continued over the next years. On some occasions, he would mail us presents such as local chocolate, mangas, anime figures, letters. I once got an entire sushi making kit delivered to the town’s post office, and another time custom-made silver necklaces. For some reason, the gifts he sent me always seemed more thought out than my best friend’s. This started to creep me out, and when I was about 15, I realized how weird our relationship was. He knew too much about us, too much about me. Even though he was 2,000 miles away, if he decided to get into a plane and come to us, he would have found us right away. He would always talk about that. About wanting to visit us, to give us hugs and kisses. He said we were his best friends in the world. On the other hand, I thought of him as an online friend and didn’t want to meet him at all. He would come up with occasions that were appropriate for him to come to visit us and I would always come up with an excuse.
I was tired and honestly creeped out, especially by all his affection that seemed more like an obsession. I then instigated a fight between him and my best friend (I’m awful, I know). We blocked him and didn’t talk for about 3 years. Up until I was in my last year in high-school and had my first boyfriend.
For some reason, we decided to talk to him, I guess we felt bad for shunning and ignoring him for so long. My friend never got over the fact that it was actually my fault that we stopped talking to him. We unblocked him and started talking to him like nothing happened. He was as happy as ever, and acted like this was nothing. He said how much he missed me, but that he didn’t want to talk to my best friend because of their fight. I insisted, he obliged. We resumed our friendship, and he sent us Facebook requests. I told him about my boyfriend, and he responded by saying ‘He is an idiot’ but instead of ‘He’ he used my boyfriend’s full name. I didn’t even share my relationship on Facebook because my parents didn’t know yet. I thought my friend probably told him, so I just shook it off. But a couple of weeks later I received a bouquet of red roses with a note and chocolates. It was delivered to my dad’s company. Gosh, I was so scared. I blocked him from Facebook and urged my friends to do the same. He had added some of my school friends on Facebook. I decided to stop talking to him without any explanation. When I did, he stopped being interested in talking to my best friend.
About 3 years later, I was living abroad. And of course, I made the same mistake. One day while chatting with my friend, we wondered what happened to him and decided to reach out through Facebook. This time I apologized and told him about the flowers, and how I didn’t like what he did, and that I could’ve gotten into trouble with my dad or my boyfriend.
We spoke for about eight months. Until I moved to a big town for a four-month work contract. He found my workplace address since I had my workplace on Facebook, and told me he was sending me a gift to lift me up. I thanked him even though I didn’t like that he was mailing me something again, but thought ‘Well, old habits die hard.’ One day, at almost 5 pm he tells me that the delivery man was downstairs and that the receptionist wouldn’t allow him to come in to drop the package and that maybe I should go and pick it up. I felt uneasy and found this situation a bit strange and told my coworker to come with me.
There he was.
‘Of course,’ was my first thought.
He was holding a bag that seemed pretty heavy. He tried to give it to me but I didn’t grab it. I didn’t know how to react. I have a pretty expressive face, and I tried to hide my horror the best I could. I gave him a loose hug and said I had to go back to pick up my stuff. My coworker only understood my horror when I explained as fast as I could what was going on. Thank god she offered to walk with me to the train station. I didn’t want to put him off, as I was very nervous because I didn’t really know what he was capable of at this point.
On our way to the station, I asked how long he was staying and why he was here. Before we got to the platform, I told him that I was tired and that we should meet another day. He insisted we go get dinner, but I refused by saying I had to work on a project that was due the next day.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel. I was so confused I didn’t know if I should try to be his friend or not. I didn’t know if it was ok to hang out with him and felt like a bad person for not wanting to meet him after he took such a long trip to see me. That night, I met a friend for dinner and told her the long story and she started freaking out. She told me I was crazy and that there were many red flags I should have noticed earlier.
I thought about the whole night and for the following day.
I came up with a plan and on Friday, I told him we should meet at 7 pm at a restaurant near my workplace (I didn’t want him finding out other places I hung out). Before doing so, I met two of my girlfriends and my 6’5 guy friend. I told them the story and that I wanted them to come with me just to be on the safe side. We got there at about 6:30 and they sat at the table across me and waited patiently for about 30 minutes until he arrived.
I spoke with him, told him I didn’t want to see him ever again. That if he thought I was going to be happy with his surprise, he didn’t know me at all. That not even my parents nor my boyfriend would ever think of showing up unannounced. I don’t remember much more, but 30 minutes felt like ages as he tried to explain that he thought that seeing him would make me happy. After repeating in many ways that what he did was wrong, he admitted he didn’t tell me that he was coming because I wouldn’t want to meet him. I said goodbye and rushed to the back door as fast as I could, my friends followed me and I quickly told my giant friend to follow him to make sure he left through the front door. He did. My giant friend said he seemed really sad. I haven’t seen him nor spoken to him since.
Thinking back, this probably wasn’t the best thing to do. But it seemed like my only option at the time. I didn’t want to just ignore him again and risk finding him in front of my workplace. I still had about 3 more weeks of the contract to go. I was careful and paranoid for the remaining time. My coworkers took the train with me even though it wasn’t their quickest route for most of the remaining time.
My best friend reached out to him to talk about what happened. He said that he was sad about my reaction, yet he was super happy that he got to finally see me, and hoped I would change my mind and befriend him again one day.
What I still wonder is- am I a bad person? I wonder if I missed out on a truly great friendship. I wonder if just maybe, he was just a lonely and quiet person that couldn’t make friends easily. What makes me feel better every time, is thinking that I don’t know anyone, except for him, that would do something like that.”