What My Stalker Taught Me

If you have to tell someone you’re not a stalker, you probably are.

I learned this the hard way.

His named was Stephan.
He was a fan of my work.
And he called me every day.

Every. Single. Day. For three weeks.

Did I mention he was a middle-aged unemployed alcoholic with social anxiety disorder whose father abused him physically, sexually and emotionally?

He told me these things. On his voicemail messages. Along with the disclaimer that he swore he wasn’t a stalker.

HELLO, my name is Creepy.

I changed my number.
Took it off my website.
And thought that would be the end of it. Until he showed up at my house.

I was taking out the trash – wearing my nametag, of course – when I saw what looked like a homeless guy hanging out by the dumpster.

He said my name.
He reached out his right hand.
He held his other hand behind his back.

And I was thinking: Ice pick.

But instead, he pulled out copy of my book.

He didn’t want to kill me – he just wanted an autograph.

I took his pen and signed it. Kind of. I was so terrified I think I wrote, “Best wishes! Love, Jamal.”

But that was it. He said thanks, walked away and I never saw him again.

And as I went inside to change my underwear, something occurred to me:

If you don’t set boundaries for yourself – other people will set them for you.

And then they will violate them.
And then they will tell all their little friends to violate them.
And it will be your fault because you never decided where to draw the line.

It is possible to be too approachable.

In addition to stalkers, over the years I’ve had cult members try to covert me, drug dealers try to sell me, religious zealots try to proselytize me and pyramid schemers try to recruit me. All the time.

Because that’s what happens when you put yourself out there.

Don’t wait until you’re defenseless to learn this lesson.

Decide where you draw the line early.

And the minute somebody tries to push you past it, run.

What boundaries are you setting?

For the list called, “10 Ways to Make the Mundane Memorable,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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