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Ask Jono: Followed By a Human Puppy

Ask Jono: Followed By a Human Puppy

Dear Jono,

So there's this guy, right (it doesn't sound original, but stay tuned)?

He's really getting on my nerves. He OBVIOUSLY has a crush on me, and it drives me crazy. Namely because he's a spineless baby. He has virtually no opinion of his own; he just waits to see what I have to say and agrees with me. All. The. Time. If I say "jump" he'll say "how high?"

I didn't mean or want this. I'm not even powerful and attractive. I'm just very headstrong and all I do to stand out is just basically voice my opinions. Most people in our circle are dim-witted and lack ambition, I kid you not. They don't aspire to anything. To top it off, this kid is whiny and overly emotional, he complains about his problems, and sees me as the answer to them all, somehow. He wants attention and constantly tries to look cool in some really pathetic ways.

I tried to hint about my views on this, saying that its good to be self-sufficient and not depend on others, and I disagree with him a lot, and I give him as little motivation as possible without just blowing up and yelling: STOP AGREEING WITH ME AND GROW A SPINE YOU BIG BABY!! Tough, I know. But he's bothering me a lot. I don't even want to go out with our circle of friends or go to the places we all go to because I know he's gonna be there, looking at me and looking away 10000000X a second.


Let me tell you something about guys. No, wait: let me tell you the only thing about guys: guys want girls. This is pretty much all they want. And if you're stamping your foot and wagging your finger and going "NUH-UH, Jono, I know a guy and all he wants is to play the SOUSAPHONE," well, no, secretly he wants to become super good at the sousaphone so he becomes a respected artist and wins everybody's admiration and makes a ton of money and buys a flying space house which he can then use to impress girls. (As I have repeatedly pointed out, your guy friends probably want to get all up on your business, because our train of though pretty much just goes GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS HAMBURGER?? GIRLS.)

But the problem, of course, is that we are often hopeless nerdballs with no way to act out all of these maddening impulses, so we do simpering, embarrassing things like your dude is doing. "How do I win her over, despite the fact that I obviously suck?" he thought to himself. "I know!" he exclaimed, a light bulb appearing over his head. "Ack a lightbulb!" he whimpered, and then it fell on his head and shattered and he made a mental note to tell you all about this harrowing experience later. But his idea, anyway, was to win you over in the most logical way possible: doing everything you do, and agreeing with everything you think. This does make a kind of sense, if you look at human relationships like they're spreadsheets. But of course they're not, and it takes most guys a few years to realize relationships don't work that way.

I'm curious, by the way, if you would like this guy at all if he... you know, didn't suck. Right now, if you dated him, he'd be that guy who would just passively waddle along behind you like a duckling while you shopped for underpants. But if he were a bolder version of the same guy, would you see anything in him? (This doesn't change my answer, but it might change what you do with it.)

I'm familiar with this kind of dude because I was this kind of dude, briefly. And if it sounds like I'm being too hard on him, well... If I could go back in time and give any kind of advice to 15-year-old me, what I would do is immediately punch myself in the back of the head and be like "STOP IT. JUST STOP IT." And then 15-year-old me would be like "Waaah!" and would write a poem about it. My point is that I know this kind of guy: insecure, afraid of rejection, very focused on himself. People like this need to learn to chill out and realize that other people are important, too, and that they are not in fact the center of the universe. But what you're asking for is a way to turn your specific dude away, so I'll answer that as best I can.

What you need here is a campaign of increasing belligerence: tactical social awkwardness that you keep stepping up if he keeps not getting the message. Well, ideally, what you should do is just be straightforward with him and explain up-front what you hate about his behavior. But I assume you're not willing to do that. ("YOU ARE LITERALLY A GIANT HUMAN BABY," you'd say; "OMG, I know, I am! I love yoouuu," he would probably respond.)

So here's what you do: start with very gentle go-away gestures, like not responding to him when he's talking, because you're super interested in a text you're sending, or because you're busy sighing, or whatever. This probably won't work, because he will believe your standoffishness actually means that you want to make his babies all over the place, but it's still step one.

After that, you graduate to more overt gestures, ones that are not too mean to the poor guy. Remember, the point is to communicate your disinterest without actually hurting his feelings too much. For example:

  • Physically turn away from him while he's talking to you, and don't respond to what he's saying
  • Physically step away from him if he attempts to stand so he's touching you
  • Physically run him over with a garbage truck, and don't respond to his cries of "nooo a garbage truck!"
  • Since he always agrees with you, state that you are always wrong; his head will explode because of robot logic
  • Invent a long-distance fictional boyfriend who doesn't exist but is super-awesome, far more awesome than Clingy McWhines-A-Lot
  • Fill his bedroom with cobras

Okay, I have pretty clearly run out of ideas here, but the point is that you seem to detest this guy while he "likes" "you," and those are in quotes because he clearly doesn't know the actual you well enough to like you. The most humane way to clue him in is to say, plainly: "I'm sorry, but I don't like you that way," which shouldn't be hard because you don't seem overly worried about his feelings. But if you can't do that, the overarching point is just to be more and more standoffish, because even the stupidest dude will eventually, finally, grudgingly understand what you're trying to tell him. "OHHHHHH," he'll say, wiping the mace out of his wounded eyeballs. "She DOESN'T want me to keep popping up uninvited outside her bedroom window!"

We guys are dumb—often monumentally dumb—but if you shun him pointedly enough without being too mean, eventually this dude will understand that you're trying to say no while sparing his feelings. And if that doesn't work, just be very direct with him, make it absolutely clear that you don't reciprocate his feelings at all, and also stuff a whole bunch of eels in his locker.

Have you ever been followed by a giant baby human puppy? What did you do?

Topics: Life
Tags: flirting, friends, awkward situations, advice, guys, awkwardness, annoying people, ask jono, guy friends

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