Dear Amy: I’ve been following a woman on Twitter for a few years now. I’ve always thought she was great, but lately (even before quarantine made us all lonely), I’ve started to really like her. She’s fun, endearing, passionate, hilarious and beautiful!
We’ve never met, but I’ve occasionally messaged her ideas that are relevant to her interests, and sometimes she’ll politely respond with a “haha” or “lol.” Part of me thinks that if she was interested in me, she would have said more than those brief responses, and that I should stop bothering her. (She has a bit of a following, so I’m surely not the only guy contacting her through direct messages.)
I like her so much. I think about her all the time, but maybe this is one of those times when someone is infatuated with the idea of a person. I’d hate for that to be the case. I’d like my feelings to be virtuous and not borderline creepy.
Amy says: Yes, you are infatuated with the idea of a person. I know this because — speaking as someone with an active social media presence — I know that the persona many of us projects on social media is a construction. It’s a controlled version of reality and, yes (as you put it), an “idea of a person.”
You are correct — if this woman was available and/or into you at all, she would respond more fully and expressively when you slide into her DMs. If she was interested, at the very least she would compose a complete sentence when responding to your contact. “Haha” and “lol” don’t qualify. Those one-word lowercase responses are merely pro-forma acknowledgments that she has read your message.
I can’t characterize your private feelings, but you do seem to be approaching the border of “borderline creepy.” You’ve got a crush on someone you feel connected to, much as anyone might have a crush on a favorite writer, actor, musician or public figure. But — it is as unrequited as my crush on Ryan Gosling, and you need to understand and accept that.
If you are ruminating excessively about this woman and it is interfering with other activities and relationships, then take steps to deliberately dial down your access to her postings. Repeated Twitter triggers reminding you of how awesome you believe she is don’t help.
Don’t overthink it
Dear Amy: I am currently 59 and reflecting on the good and bad aspects and events of my life. I had a friend in high school (we eventually drifted apart). His father used to play basketball with us, and invited me along on some of their family outings to the city and to interesting restaurants.
I ran into the father 20 years ago in a work-related setting and couldn’t believe how warm and helpful he was.
I would like to reach out to the father and let him know what high regard I have for him. In raising my kids, I have often thought of him and wanted to emulate his positive behavior.
I have no desire to seek out my former friend. I realize it might seem a little odd to the old friend that I would reach out to his father, but not to him, so how should I handle this?
Amy says: You are almost 60 years old. High school is long behind you. If you have this older man’s contact information, then write him a note. Unless you need to contact the son to obtain his dad’s address, there is no need for you to include the son in your outreach.
This is a very thoughtful and kind thing for you to do. Don’t overthink it — just do it.
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