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#385: My ex-friend and his bullshit lies.

Hey Captain Awkward…

So! I used to be BFF with this guy. I eventually ended things after it took a turn for the weird – he became incredibly demanding of my time and attention and started telling me things that, frankly, freaked me out. Our friendship ended after we took a trip together, during which I became increasingly uncomfortable with how dependent he was. I needed space, and I took it. And I guess he was pretty pissed. When I came to my hometown for the summer, he started showing up at my house, calling all the time, that kind of thing. I got a letter and several emails demanding that we ‘talk about this.’ I was freaked out and resolved to avoid him for, oh, the rest of my life.

Anyway, the rest of my life lasted… awhile. Eventually, we began talking again (I don’t really remember how this came about, but we’re from a small town so, you know… you run into people) and I thought everything was cool? We talked. He seemed to be in a better place. We were never close again, but we were friendly enough and hung out a few times without any weirdness. He remained friends with some of my friends and became quite close with a couple of them. I haven’t spoken to him in awhile, but, before recently, I would have said we were at least on friendly terms.

Cut to the present day, when I finally learn his version of what happened between us. Namely, that I threw myself at him, was
rejected, and (I guess) was too humiliated to face him again. I know some people believe his version of events. He is a skilled liar when he wants to be. Honestly, this is the second time I’ve found out way after the fact that someone lied about me and everyone took it as truth and just didn’t tell me. But at least the other time, the person said we had sex – so I could pretend it was at least a little bit flattering.

I feel humiliated now, in keeping with his story. I know that if I were a cooler person, I would just accept that I know the truth, and that is all that really matters. But I’m not cool, and I’m upset. I will see this person again, and likely over the holidays… it’s the
nature of the hometown beast. Before I learned this, I would have just said hi and chatted for a few minutes. But now I know this thing. What should I do if we run into each other? Is it even worth it to confront someone over something that happened years ago? Is it super not worth it to confront someone who knows extremely sensitive information about you and is prone to spreading bad vibes throughout the land? Am I deeply uncool for being so incredibly bothered by this?

It’s definitely not “uncool” to be angry that your former stalker is spreading lies.

I think working really hard to correct the record will be more effort than you want to put in and definitely more attention than you want to send his way. Here are some steps for you:

1. Block him everywhere online without explanation. Block his phone number from your cell (there’s an app for that). He deserves nothing from you.

2. If he gets around your safeguards and contacts you, give him one “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore. Please don’t contact me”. Then NEVER respond to anything he sends you ever, ever again. 

3. If you run into him somewhere in your hometown, excuse yourself from the room/scene as quickly as you can. You can actually get by for quite a while without anyone realizing you hate someone’s guts simply by walking out of a room whenever they walk into it. Give a nod if you feel you have to for politeness sake, but get out of there.

4. Straight up ask your closest friends to stop inviting him places where you know he’ll be. You don’t have to protect his privacy.

5. Say you can’t get away, and he brings up the story with you again in front of other people, say “But we both know that’s not true, X. It’s really weird to me that you’d lie about that,” and then leave the situation. Say to your friends “Sorry, it’s too awkward for me to be around him.”

6. Did you find out his story from him or from someone else? If someone else brings it up to you, say “Whoa, that’s actually pretty far from the truth. It’s so weird that he’d lie.” Then change the subject. In other words, don’t worry too much about correcting the record in general, but if it does come up, tell the truth and don’t be shy or feel like you’re the one making it weird. He made it weird when he lied about you.

I’m sorry this is happening to you. What you had was a friend who turned into a stalker who invented a face-saving lie about you to make himself feel better. Have nothing to do with him, feel no obligation to be nice or go along with anything he says, and don’t feel embarrassed to stand up for yourself with the people who matter. You’ve done nothing wrong and your feelings of anger and violation are more than justified.

Eff that guy. I know it feels stressful now, but imagine the freedom in knowing that you don’t have to spend one more second of your precious beautiful life with this shitbag.

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65 comments
  1. volcanista said:

    Absolutely agree: this is a scary stalker, engaging to correct the behavior will not help and could make things worse and/or scary again, and LW is well within her rights to take draconian measures to block this person the hell out of her life.

    But this:
    “Block his phone number from your cell (there’s an app for that)”

    Oh, if only. For iPhone users, this doesn’t seem to be true (or at least I couldn’t find an app*). There is software you can download and install if you’ve paid a couple hundred dollars to unlock your phone, but otherwise all apps to block individual callers are disallowed by Apple. AT&T generally won’t block a number upon request, either. I don’t know why they do this, since it would make for safer, happier customers and would be a drop in the bucket in terms of minute-dollars earned.

    * If I’m wrong, please, someone, share what the app is called and how to find it! I’d really like to have this on my phone.

    • JenniferP said:

      There is definitely a CallBlocker App for Android, it’s the best.

      With an actual stalker (not just a past stalker who spreads lies) one suggested technique is to switch your phone number to a cheap disposable burner phone that you never answer (but keep to document how much they call) and give a new number to people you want calling you. Expensive and drastic, but it helps with the whole “They think they are reaching you but aren’t” thing.

      • pancake said:

        An alternative to this solution is to start using Google Voice. You can port your current number to Google Voice (there is a fee with this), get a new number, and still get calls forwarded from your old number to your new one. But more importantly, you can block callers on Google Voice.

        I haven’t actually done this myself, but I believe the capability is there, if need be.

        • Erika said:

          I use Google Voice, and love, love, LOVE it. I only give out my GV number, and then it rings my cell, and (when I worked) my desk in once city on the days I was in that city, and my desk in another city on those days. Free texting and calling from your computer and… one-step easy-peasy call blocking. Plus you get to choose your own number. All totally for free.

      • Suzy said:

        There sure is! In fact I’ve a blacklist in my settings on my Android and I can just stick numbers on at my leisure. I had to do this a few months ago.

        If he does contact you though, save and print off any emails or texts. That way if you ever consider being friends with him, you can read over it and remind yourself of what a stupid creepy wanker he is!

        • Stuffandnonsense said:

          And you can keep hold of it for documentation purposes. In a box, in an attic, in a duck egg, on top of a mountain somewhere.

    • For anyone who is still using stupid phones that don’t even have things like apps, you may like to know that Samsung phones usually have a built-in callblock function. A few years ago when I needed to block an ex, they were the only brand that did. I straight up exchanged my phone, and although I was not yet due for an upgrade, it wasn’t enough of an upgrade to be a huge expense. #gradstudentsolutions

    • Allison said:

      I was able to block a phone number through Verizon (I have a stupid phone so I went on the actual Verizon website). I think you could block up to 5 numbers for free or a very low fee.

      • zilla said:

        Verizon will definitely block numbers for you. I was getting debt collection voice mails from VERIZON, for someone else. They kept leaving voice mails while I was at work, never calling when I could answer. And when I would call them back they never could find an account associated with these calls, so they couldn’t stop them. The Verizon customer service people actually blocked Verizon’s own debt collectors from my phone. LOL!

      • anna said:

        It’s called Call and Message Blocking; it’s free for 5 numbers for 90 days and then you have to reset it again. It doesn’t block iMessage, so iPhone users have to turn off the application. If the person you’re calling still has a voicemail that you left on their phone, they can use the voicemail to “reply” and leave one with you directly, bypassing the call block. If they send you a picture message, the subject line will still come through. It’s not perfect, but it helps.

        Usage Controls is $4.99/month and lets you not just block getting calls but also making the calls, if you’re trying to keep yourself (or other members of your account, but the charge is per line) from calling the person.

    • Kristin Leigh (Holden Cauliflower) said:

      Try checking directly with your service provider – I know Verizon allows you to block up to 5 (or maybe it’s 10) people through their website.

    • Christy said:

      You can filter your calls through google voice. I searched for “google voice block call iphone” and the very first link had step by step instructions.

    • Camilla said:

      Many phones (I don’t have the specifics for iPhones, but) allow custom ring tones for a particular individual or group, and from there you can give them a custom ring tone of silence.

      It’s not as good as blocking because they still show up in your call list and they can still leave you voicemail, but better than nothing.

      • MuddieMae said:

        Another good option is saving Stalker’s number as DO NOT ANSWER – when the phone rings you get a nice verbal reminder to decline that call.

      • Erika said:

        Before we had Google Voice, we recorded a silent ringtone–just seconds of pure silence. Then we would assign that silent ringtone to people we didn’t want to hear from. Not as good as call-blocking with GV, but pretty good. OH! and with GV, you can set it up to tell certain callers that your number has been disconnected. FABULOUS for telemarketers.

    • If you get Google Voice — which you can assign your current number to, get a totally separate number that you give to new people, or get a totally separate number and then redirect your old number to that so that even if someone uses the old number it will still go through GVoice — you can use that to block any number.

      Downsides: There are many things about GVoice that are a pain in the ass, and they no longer update the app for it.

      Upside: It will transcribe your voicemails and email and/or text that to you, and email texts to you. These two features plus the ability to block numbers are why I keep using it.

    • gwen said:

      Actually, I don’t know of an app, but I once enabled “Parental Controls” on my own phone through AT&T, and used it to block a number. It was $5/month (which is stupid), but it blocked calls and text, and that seemed like a really delightfully low price to pay for peace of mind. I unblocked after a year (= $60), but I still haven’t heard from the person again, so it seems to have worked.

    • Britt said:

      I’ve had numbers blocked by AT&T before, so it’s definitely possible, though I think it cost me a few dollars a month to do it.

    • AT&T won’t block a number, but you can change your number free of charge if something like this happens, or possibly for no reason I’m not sure, you do need the main person on the account’s SS number though, so have that ready, and save yourself some stress.

  2. kiradouji said:

    Jailbreak the phone and install Blacklist. It’s really not as scary as it sounds. Of course, ios6 also brought in the option to limit incoming calls to your contact list and ignore all others. /o/ About time.

    • Elle said:

      Google voice. Don’t jailbreak an iphone for this!

      • kiradouji said:

        It’s actually easier to jailbreak the phone and install the app than it is to get Google Voice to behave in that manner on an IOS device while still being able to receive calls to that number.

        Of course, the easiest thing would be to just upgrade to ios6, like I mentioned before.

        For the record, jailbreaking is not some terrible thing. It just lets you tweak your phone – the hardware is all still under warranty, even. For me, iBlacklist was the best solution because I didn’t need to pay for anything (AT&T), my phone was already jailbroken for other reasons, and although I use Google Voice to catch my voicemail, it did not want to play nice in terms of filtering out specific callers and letting others through.

        Your mileage may very, of course.

  3. “It’s definitely not “uncool” to be angry that your former stalker is spreading lies.”

    THANK.YOU. I am going to tattoo this on my chest. I cannot tell you how many fights I’ve had with people who’ve told me I’m “overreacting” when i get upset that an ex-friend, stalker or otherwise, is spreading lies about me. “The truth is all that really matters” is thought-stopping, I think.

  4. Karla Keffer said:

    “It’s definitely not “uncool” to be angry that your former stalker is spreading lies.”

    THANK. YOU. I am going to tattoo this on my chest. I hate the social tenet that holds we’re not supposed to be angry when a person is spreading lies about us, and that our being angry about it is worse than the lies being spread.

    • Tanzenlicht said:

      And then when people are all “He just likes you, chill out.” you can rip open your shirt like you’re Superman.

      • staunchly said:

        Niiiiiice.

  5. coraanderson said:

    Phone details aside….

    The Captain has excellent advice. The one thing I would emphasize is: you can’t control what your jerky ex-friend is going to do or say or who he is going to say it to.

    I say that not to scare you (although it is a little scary) but, hopefully, to free you. You can and should reply with mild surprise and contradiction when you find out whatever bullshit he’s spreading. (I like the “Wow, that’s surprising to hear, since it’s totally not what happened. I wonder why he’s saying that, given it’s not true?” approach.)

    But it’s not your job to make sure you clean up after his lies. It’s maddening and endless and, in the end, it won’t work. Instead, it can be freeing to accept that sometimes people are douchebag liars–and you can’t stop them, so why task yourself with fixing it? Rather than buying into that time- and energy-suck, live your life, correct people when it comes up, and don’t let it eat your life whole.

    And get a good Team You, because it’s hard. But we’re pulling for you.

  6. Sheelzebub said:

    LW, I don’t know what your friends are like, and how much cred they’d give this jackhole.

    I will tell you that if someone I knew said that another mutual friend threw themselves at them and then suddenly stopped speaking to them from being humiliated from the rejection, my bullshit meter would go off. Why? Two reasons:

    1) Whenever someone (especially a friend) made a pass at me or a friend–or even just expressed interest–and we weren’t into it, we didn’t go telling everyone about it, because that would be a shitty, back-door self-aggrandizing, drama-generating thing to do. It’s also mean.

    2) People who make it a point to tell everyone something like this make me think they’re projecting a bit. I’d think that yes, there were unrequited FEELINGS but that maybe the roles were reversed. Especially if the person they’re talking about doesn’t have jack squat to say about them.

    I can totally feel you about wanting to set the record straight–I hate liars.

    If/when this lie comes up again, roll your eyes the way you would when a teacup dog keeps trying to hump your leg and say, “That’s not true, but this sort of behavior is exactly why I’ve kept my distance from him.” And if friends keep bringing it up, say, “Look, I have no interest in getting into the whirlwind of drama that [lying shitheel] is trying to generate. Let’s talk about something else.” If *he* says this in front of you or within your earshot, do what the Captain advises and say “[Lying shitheel], you know very well that isn’t true.

    You maintain silence and an aura of (maybe somewhat condescending) exasperation about the whole thing, and he keeps going on and on and on about it, and who’s going to look truthful? Who’s going to look like the drama-generating doucherocket? It won’t be you.

    And yes to asking your very close friends to not invite him to places where you’ll be–and tell *them* why. And block any attempts at contact at every turn. If you cannot block his digits for whatever reason, change the caller ID on your phone to say something like Boogerhead or Stalkershit or Lying Shitheel.

    Also–do you still have the letters/emails? Keep them. Not to show everyone (fuck that nonsense) but in case he decides he wants to escalate the stalking again and you feel you need to take it to legal. Nothing like a paper trail.

    • Yeah, the story would make me wonder too. And then probably I would stop caring altogether, because what do I care? Even if my friend did throw herself at some guy (I hate that phrase!), it’s not my business. But even more — I don’t know many people who stop talking to someone after a polite rejection, out of humiliation. They might because the target of their desire was an asshole who humiliated them, or they might because their feelings were too strong to be friends, or because they discovered there wasn’t a friendship there at all.

      Regardless, it’s not my business! It is helpful to know that A and B are not getting along so I don’t have them both over for tea, but the details are not for me. If you insist on giving me gory details when we’re not close friends, you’re probably not the one I’ll still invite to tea.

      The person who volunteer the info that they turned down someone who was so humiliated they wouldn’t talk to them again is the person who is trying to make that person even more humiliated. == ASSHOLE.

      So, LW, even though lies are said and gossip spread, and some people enjoy lies and gossip, you are still all good, as hard as it is. Your ex-friend and ex-stalker is the asshole, and a lot of people can tell, even without having ever met you.

      • Also, I forgot to say, you are totally cool, and it has nothing to do with being bothered by this or not!

      • “The person who volunteer the info that they turned down someone who was so humiliated they wouldn’t talk to them again is the person who is trying to make that person even more humiliated. == ASSHOLE.”

        Quoted for truth. A good person wouldn’t spread that story around.

    • coraanderson said:

      Yes, this! If I really did have a friend throw themselves at me, I would not advertise that fact to friends (unless I thought they were dangerous somehow). Why? Because I would find it embarrassing, and I wouldn’t feel the need to express my friends’ embarrassment to the whole world.

    • piny1 said:

      It sounds like you, LW, feel like people might not believe you because you’re not slick, and because you feel flustered and gross and embarrassed whereas he lies like Paul Ryan and cheerfully trashes you before mutual friends? Don’t worry about that. Yours is a normal reaction to gross and embarrassing behavior, and it won’t make you seem like pathetic rejected crush girl. It makes you seem kind, and therefore honest. “More in sorrow than in jerkitude.”

      He probably tells other lies, too. You might not need to convince too many people that he’s not telling the truth about you.

  7. Very good advice from teh Captain. I would add that real friends will readily sense the underlying reality, even without a lot of detailed explanation. This reinforces the suggestion to not bother engaging in deep exegesis with third parties: real friends will know that you are telling the truth and that the shittebagge is a creepy liar.

    • Copcher said:

      I think there’s a fair bit of truth to this comment. I didn’t believe it until I went through a similar situation a few years ago: a then-friend and I had a fairly major fight and when we tried to make up, he mentioned how he had explained the fight to mutual friends who asked about it, and it was generally rooted in the truth except that it placed all of the blame completely on me. (In the version I remember, neither one of us looks particularly good.) I confronted him about it, and he said something like “Yeah, well, I couldn’t tell them what actually happened.” Later I found out that he was still spreading lies when people asked him about us, but they had gotten even farther from the truth. I confronted him again, and he insisted that his version was real, so I realized that nothing I could do would get him to stop lying about it and now we’re back to not being friends.

      I wasn’t going to put a whole lot of energy into contradicting his lies, and he had known most of our mutual friends much longer than I had, so I worried a lot of them would just believe his story and stop hanging with me. A couple of them did stop hanging with me but I don’t know if it has anything to do with his story or if we just drifted apart. But the ones I really cared about, and that I really worried about losing, stayed friends with me without ever asking to hear my version. Either they knew him (and me) well enough to know that the version he told was pretty implausible, or they believed his version but didn’t find it terrible enough to not want to be my friend anymore. It still bugs me a little that he lied about it (even in cases when he could have just not said anything), but I’ve mostly gotten over it and it hasn’t had any negative impact on how I live my life now.

      LW, you can’t make your ex-friend do anything or stop him from doing anything. I know it can sound really cliché, but anyone who believes what this guy says and cuts you out without letting you give your version of the story probably wasn’t that great a friend of yours anyway. Or at least wouldn’t have been a great friend in the long run. I second (or third, fourth, fifth, whatever) the Captain’s advice. Disengage and block.

  8. Jinian said:

    What a horrible thing for him to have done. Like the Captain says, blocking and ignoring him ruthlessly should get you a long way. Hopefully he’ll be too embarrassed that you’ve found out about his lies to resume stalking you or approach you in any way.

    From what you’ve said, it’s not clear to me when he spread this story around, and it may not have been recent. Small town and all, people likely noticed when you avoided him after the stalking, and a severely embarrassed person who was only a little bit of an angry jerk might have made up a lie that got out of control. If this is true, and perhaps he’s grown up during the interim, you might expect him to apologize now. It’d be up to you whether you wanted to accept that; he doesn’t sound like a particularly good friend.

    (Oh, and I think given that he is a lying liar who lies, whether he had sensitive information about you would be immaterial in any cost-benefit calculation; dude might just make something up if he didn’t have any.)

    • Sbleebs said:

      LW here – it was not recent, but he’s maintained it and the knowledge is new to me. Since we started speaking again in the between period and I did not know that he had been spreading this lie until recently, I’m just super pissed that I gave him the time of day again and accepted his apologies for other things without knowing about this.

      FWIW, I have not actually spoken to him in a long time. I’m just freaking well in advance of Christmas and going back there and the likelihood of running into him. Your point about the lying liarness is a good one, although some of what I’m worried about him spilling is not actually about me. Bleh!

      I have to say, it feels soooooooooooo good to hear many people saying that he was (is still?) a gross creep

      • He is totally a gross creep.

        • Sarah in Tokyo said:

          Lord of the Gross Creeps, I say.

      • SadieBlake said:

        I’d like to point out that you’re not in control of what information he does or does not spill – regardless of who it’s about.

        In fact, I’d say that if he does threaten to spill embarrassing information – about anyone! – as retaliation against… well, anything you do… that just makes him more of a gross creep than we thought.

        So don’t let him act like this sensitive information is a hostage he’s holding, and that you have to give him what he wants or he’ll blow the whole thing. It’s not your job to appease him. In fact, if he starts spilling embarrassing info that involves other people, maybe those other people will realize what a jerkwad he is, too.

        And, yes – IS STILL. FO SHO.

        Best of luck to you – I hope you can disentangle gracefully from this jerk and spend more time with sane people who appreciate you.

  9. neverjaunty said:

    LW, guessing that you are not the only person in the small town who has had to deal with some insane bullshit from Ex-Friend. There are probably a number of other people who are erring on the side of ‘it’s not worth it to talk about it’. And those people will not be interested in his lies.

    • unagi said:

      Totally agree, that’s the good part about a small town, everyone has already seen him be a gross creep to others. So you simply saying that he’s lying as suggested above is likely to get most people to realize what’s going on, and help you avoid him.

  10. LW, the bad vibes going around the community may hurt your feelings and make you feel awful, with terrible feelings bubbling up in your chest, so I strongly recommend using this experience to forge a persona of coolness and grace. Many years ago I discovered that my remarkably sketchy boss was spreading lies around our tiny community by saying, among other things, that he had fired me because I had set fire to his laboratory.

    Actually, I had quit because he was a creeper. But this was a weird lie to reach for because the laboratory was obviously still standing for everyone to see. What had actually transpired was that after I had left, he had apparently (?) broken (?) a stolen (?) incubator and flooded the laboratory, but then when he realized what he’d done, he’d put the incubator back. Then he claimed that I had climbed in a window and turned on a garden hose, cackling maliciously like the EVIL FEMINIST I had been all along. And from there I guess it evolved to fire, or something; it was all very confused and creative.

    Many acquaintances, colleagues, etc. came up to me with various versions of the story, wondering if it was true, or hoping to gather more gossip. This was horrifying at first, since I had no idea what was going on, and worse, he was apparently doing it to get me fired from my new job. Over time, I found that the best way to respond was along this script:

    Acquaintance: So I heard that Dr Asshole fired you because you smashed his laboratory to pieces with a flaming sledgehammer while screaming “HAIL MISANDRY!”

    Me: *sweetly blank look, dawning into a sweetly worried look*

    Me: *understanding, rolled-eye look, like Voldemort’s former godmother would give upon hearing news of his latest forays into performance art*

    Me: *kind and gracious shake of the head, while looking warmly into Acquaintance’s eyes* I understand that he didn’t take my letter of resignation very well, but people can handle rejection badly. That’s a terribly funny image, though; I’ll have to remember it for a rainy day.

    It might feel forced, especially if you have all of these Feelings bubbling up inside you, but if you can reach for a sort of elevated, placid grace when people come up to you with these rumors, it will:

    a.) make you feel like you’re taking back control of your situation and identity
    b.) uphold the community’s memory of you as a good and grounded person (it’s bullshit that you have to do this, but if you live in a small community, you might prefer to)
    c.) ground you in the wide lake of your own cool self-confidence.

    He is a born and bred asshole, and this behavior will continue and you cannot change it because you cannot change an asshole. But these things will not stick to you; you are a gracious glass sculpture, and no amount of his drunken attempts to piss on your feet will have any effect on your shine.

    • JenniferP said:

      Oh my goodness, straw feminists attack!

      • Not gonna lie, I totally have snake eyes and and I hiss just like that

    • Sheelzebub said:

      Holy shit, he is lucky you didn’t sue his ass. That kind of a lie–the one that can damage your professional reputation, the one that actually falsely accuses you of committing a crime–is legally actionable.

    • I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that crap (and OMG seriously, that’s verging on actual slander), but I had to LOL so hard at this:

      Me: *understanding, rolled-eye look, like Voldemort’s former godmother would give upon hearing news of his latest forays into performance art*

      “Voldemort’s godmother” is so the name of my next band. ;)

    • roramich said:

      I cannot even begin to convey how much I love this script and approach! Thank you!

    • Mary said:

      The other good thing about that is that it feels COMPLETELY IMPLAUSIBLE that being the cool, collected, moral-highground person will ever feel 1/10 as good as screaming and shouting or snarling and getting proper revenge – but once you’ve done it, you discover fairly quickly that it’s a hundred times better! When you project calm and cool, you start to feel it, meanwhile they are still a dick!

  11. Spam filter! What have I ever done to you?

  12. Just to add to what others have said too:

    You are almost certainly not the first person this guy has told bullshit lies about. Because the kind of person who tells bullshit face-saving lies starts early and never really stops.

    So, you don’t have to worry too much about whether people will believe him over you: the likelihood is that anyone who knows him, knows he tends to embroider, exaggerate, or outright make things up. If the story comes up, the Captain’s script is perfect. If it doesn’t come up, it’s probably because whoever heard it has already dismissed it as BS.

    And if they didn’t – if they thought it was true or want to think it true badly enough that they’re going to ignore the fact that he’s a bullshit liar – well, then: either they are sweetly naive (too bad) or you have just learned that they’re not worth your time.

    The ones that are worth any of your time – which is probably the majority – will figure “Oh, he was lying? Yeah, that makes sense, he does that.”

    • TheOtherAlice said:

      Yep, I totally agree. I too come from a very very small village, with an extended community that includes a pretty small town. The equivalent situation has happened a lot over the years and mostly people go ‘Huh. [Known liar] said that about [generally decent human being]? Hmm, I’m going to remain skeptical of that’. So I would bet that mostly people are giving his story the side-eye already, and when you are calmly bemused by it, will not even think twice about believing you.

  13. Gine said:

    Ugh, what an arsemonkey. LW, like you, this would bother me a lot–I’m a very laid back person and pretty good at handling (re: dismissing) other people’s manufactured drama, but I hate liars and have really struggled with the idea that untruths are being spread about me the few times it’s happened.

    I won’t repeat other people’s good advice, but I will say that, just judging by the info you’ve provided, I’m willing to bet that a lot of the people he’s lied to either flat-out didn’t believe him or suspected something shady was up, either because they’re familiar with his personality and the history of your friendship (I’m from a small town too, and one of the good things about everyone knowing everyone is that at least everyone’s pretty much aware of who’s a jerk and who isn’t), or because the idea that he rejected your advances is pretty implausible–I’m just guessing at that, but you seem pretty cool, and he seems like a pathetic creep, and I’m sure others aren’t blind to this fact.

    Anyway, the best revenge is a life well-lived, so I second the notions that you should cut this dude off, dismiss his lies with airy disdain when others bring them up, and otherwise have an awesome time with Team You while you’re home.

  14. joze said:

    Did you get this explanation from him or was it 2nd hand? If he told you that this is how it looked to him than definately follow the cpt. plan. If this is a 2nd hand story than it *might* be worth while to find out from someone you trust what the rumor acutally is. Either way it sounds like they’re more trouble than they’re worth, but it might have some impact on your response. Smalls towns can be judgemental so if it looks to ‘the town’ that your response is out of line that can also be a pain in the but.

  15. Jiggs said:

    I had a former boyfriend (to use the term extremely loosely, we went out a few times) who did something similar to this. After we stopped seeing each other, we still hung out a bit as friends. One time, something about Aboriginal people came on TV and he said a bunch of super racist things about it. I made my dissent known and he left.

    I told this story to my friend later in the week and it came out that he’d told her about it, except with me playing the racist. Fun times! Luckily after six years of friendship she knew I wasn’t a secret racist. But the point is that people like to twist stories to make themselves the hero.

    It sucks that he’s lying about you. I 100% agree with Captain Awkward’s advice. I would add that anyone who keeps pestering you after you shut down the lies conversation and/or expresses their belief that you are the liar can be branded Not a Fun Person and you should feel free to avoid them too.

    • buzzingbee said:

      That sounds infuriating! It’s so hard to confront people on racism, and then he just turned it around like that. What a jerk, sorry that you had to experience that.

      • SadieBlake said:

        Reminds me of an acquaintance Mr.Blake and I knew before we moved. He loved to make himself look good and tell impressive stories about himself…

        …which are far less impressive when he starts telling you one of your own stories, as if it happened to him. Especially when it was a story you told him within the past week.

        He was always good for a laugh, though…

  16. Lor said:

    I second the Captain on #6: “Did you find out his story from him or from someone else? If someone else brings it up to you, say “Whoa, that’s actually pretty far from the truth. It’s so weird that he’d lie.” Then change the subject. In other words, don’t worry too much about correcting the record in general, but if it does come up, tell the truth and don’t be shy or feel like you’re the one making it weird. He made it weird when he lied about you.”

    I had a friend in high school (let’s call her X) who quit working on a project with me after we’d put a lot of work in. I was irritated, but let it pass, and found another person (Y) to work with and did a great project. Well, X went around to all our mutual friends telling them what a jerk I was for deciding not to work with HER! Our mutual friends kept coming up to me and asking about it, and I kept looking at them all wide-eyed and saying “Huh, really? That’s not what happened – she decided she didn’t want to work with me! Oh, but did I tell you about the exciting new project I’m doing with Y?” Everyone figured that I was probably telling the truth (which I was), I didn’t lose any friends but X, I did a great project with Y, and I didn’t spend a ton of energy on X. The innocent “Oh, really, she said that? That’s not what happened. *subjectchange*” worked like a charm.

  17. Marty said:

    Okay, so this is probably an uncool question to ask, but… did the Letter Writer ever give the friend any indication that she needed space and didn’t want to talk to him again?

    I ask this only because I had a friend who out of the blue suddenly stopped returning my calls. Since it was so sudden, and (on my side, possibly/probably misunderstood) I just assumed he’d gotten busy. There are a few friends that I fall out of touch with because one or both of us miss a message/forgot to return a call/are too busy to return a call/etc, and then fall back into contact with.

    Anyway, I sent a few emails and tried calling my friend again once or twice over a period of time… again with no response. The last time I try, I ended up with…. well, a face full of crazy. (And a VERY exaggerated account of how many times I contacted him. I went through my emails and phone records just to make sure I wasn’t being self-deceptive.)

    So, would it be fair to call either me or the guy from the story a stalker, if the Letter Writer never communicated that she didn’t want to be friends. I’m NOT saying it was cool for him to make up stories about her… that is awful and uncalled for and the PARTICULAR story he used is douche to the extreme.

    But is calling him a stalker really called for? Isn’t the adult thing to do try to communicate and clarify? If he and the Letter Writer had a history of appearing at each other’s houses unannounced (some of my friends actually walk in to other people’s houses without knocking and it’s considered socially acceptable) then is he really “stalking” if he continues the behavior?

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding social conventions here, but for just the BEGINNING of the letter, it sounds like both parties are kind of to blame… Him for pushing communication, and the Letter Writer for never communicating and expecting the friend to read their mind.

    Am I off on this? If you had a friend suddenly drop you, wouldn’t you want to know what happened? How many times do you contact a friend without a response before you should “get the hint,” and how do you know if the Hint is “I’m busy” or “I never want to see you again”?

    • JenniferP said:

      I would say if you contact someone 2-3 times and they don’t answer, leave it be until they contact you. While it would be nice to have an explanation for why, you’re not OWED an explanation. “Person stopped talking to me….they must not want to talk to me” IS the explanation.

      • H.Regalis said:

        The only times I’ve made an exception for this in recent memory were if it were a situation where there were legitimate reasons to have health/safety concerns. I once had to have the police do a welfare check on an elderly relative who lived far away (who ended up being fine), and I have one friend who has a lot of physical health problems, has been suicidal on and off, and lives alone. We talk nearly every day, and if I didn’t hear from them for a few days and their work hadn’t either, I would definitely let myself into the house (friend gave me a key).

        Even these I’m iffy about doing, because I grew up with a parent whose thought process was “H.Regalis hasn’t returned my phone call from 20 minutes ago. THEY MUST BE DEAD OR DYING.” It took me a long time to figure out that calling someone over and over until they call you back was not a good way to act, and I’m still insecure about whether I’m over-contacting people.

  18. While my liar is not a former friend, but my current MIL, your advice is spot on and very helpful. Telling the truth when the lie comes up is not making things awkward, the liar did that. Not only that, not liking someone/hating someone (though there’s baggage to be had with that), is not the fault of the person who has been violated, it’s the violators fault and should be treated as such. Not to be overly simplistic, but mean people suck! And that includes liars.

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