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I have this old college "friend" that has been calling me for years almost every day. We live over 1,000 miles apart now and haven't actually seen each other face to face for over 5 years now. But it finally has gotten to a point where it is actually affecting my daily life. Previously I have been able to ignore it for the most part as "Oh, that's just him." But, recently I've gone through some traumatic life events of my own (not related to him) and I just don't have the mental capacity to handle his crap anymore. 2 common things he does when he calls is:

  1. Talks in a "stoner" voice like Jim Breuer from Half Baked, which I find extremely annoying.
  2. He talks about things that happened 15+ years ago over and over again, which I also find annoying.

I even recall after I moved away when talking to him on the phone, that I didn't find any of that stuff funny anymore. Yet he continued to do it and now here I am posting on StackExchange about it years later because I don't know how to end it. He calls me at work, he calls my cell and texts me everyday! Multiple times! I would like to be friends, but it almost has gotten to a point where I might have to cut him off in my life, to be able to "move on" with my own life and find peace. There was a time when I was married and he had a live-in girlfriend where the phone calls were cut down to maybe a couple times a week, most of which I would not answer. But after he found out that I was divorced he started to call again every day multiple times a day, most of which I ignore.

There is another odd thing, in the few times over the years when I had hung out with him with either his mom or brother, he would act COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, like a "normal" respectful person. But as soon as they were gone he would go back to acting crude and weird. I even recently called another old college friend from the group and asked if he received phone calls daily from our common friend and his reply was, "No man... he hasn't called me in over a year.", that's when I realized it was only me that he is harassing. I did blow up on him 1 time recently as he sent me a valentine that I thought was not funny at all. He did stop calling me for about a week, but then soon enough the phone calls, text messages started flowing in again. Something is wrong, and I can't help him. I've got my own things I'm dealing with in life now where I just don't have the mental capacity to deal with his "shenanigans". And I just don't find it funny anymore.

How do I inform my friend that the phone calls need to stop or slow down, because I am considering cutting him off if they don't stop?

  • You say you want to keep him as a friend. I'm curious why, because what he's doing is harassment. Do you ever initiate communication with him, or is he always the one that reaches out? If he called you less frequently, would you be interested in maintaining some sort of relationship with him? – pushkin Sep 22 '18 at 2:14
  • Thank You David, I had no idea I could choose Nothing as a ring and text tone. I have applied this and blocked him on the cell. – EMS Sep 22 '18 at 2:36
  • pushkin, yes if he would just be normal, then it would be fine, but enough is enough, I rarely initiate contact because he is always contacting me. – EMS Sep 22 '18 at 2:38
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I think I finally came up with how I'm going to end this friendship. Unfortunately I just feel that this friendship has to end because I don't see him following any boundaries that I set forth, as I have attempted this in the past and he has just laughed at me when I tried to. So with that said, I'm going to say something like this:

"Hey man, look you know I've gone though a lot here lately and I just feel that in order to move on, I feel that we need to go our separate ways. I just feel that in order to better myself, I need to have positive people in my life. I hope you understand."

UPDATE: He has since ridiculed me to our old friends for a news article he found online about me coming in last place in a trail run. He no longer calls me, but we are also no longer friends. From best friend to not even being friends, oh well I guess that is how the ball bounces.

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Your friend clearly has a problem. I understood that you have not the time, nor the energy to discover why he acts like this. I am going to make a hypothesis and base my answer on it but my answer should also work if my hypothesis is wrong.

My hypothesis is that your college friend is on the autistic spectrum. That would explain his social "weirdness" but also mean that you will need to be very explicit when you are going to talk to him about his behavior. An autistic person doesn't do great with vague instructions (for example, they don't understand what you really mean when you say "too much" but they do understand when you say "more than X").

You obviously need to have a conversation with that friend, blocking him will only make him confused, he won't understand your behavior, will be hurt and will pass the rest of his life wondering "What did I do wrong?" (I might also found an other way to contact since you didn't make it clear that you don't want to talk to him anymore).

You can choose to talk to him via text or phone (wanting that he calls you or you deciding to call him). But if he is truly on the autistic spectrum, I would strongly advocate against using the phone (so, please use text message). An autistic person tends to not be that great on "live speaking", especially if they don't know what subject will be discussed. Using text allows having time to think, process and answer without being in the rush of "live conversation".

Now, here is what I would say in the message/conversation.


Start with a warning

This way, he will have time to mentally prepare and will know that what will follow is important.

Hi X, I wanted to talk to you about something for a long time. I feel that it's important that I tell you this, please do not interrupt me.

What's important to put in this warning is the word "important" to explicitly tell that you are having an important discussion. And the "do not interrupt me" because you don't want to be interrupted, because interruption will likely derail the discussion and because you really need to tell him what you will tell him.

Tell him what the problem is

Be very clear (explicit) and to the point. You don't want your message to be lost because you talked too much.

You can start by saying:

I appreciate your discussion but

Then, clearly state what the problem is:

You phone and text me too often.

You don't need to tell more, stay to the point, this way you avoid "drowning" your message.

I wouldn't talk about the fact that he only has one subject of conversation. You need to fix the major problem first. If you unload on him all the problem at the same time, chances are, he won't remember everything.

Tell him what you would like him to do fix the problem

Now that you have told him that he texts "too often", you need to make it clear what "not too often" is. Choose a number of texts/calls that you will be happy with and tell him:

I would prefer if you only call me once a month and texted me once a week.

Tell him what will happen if he doesn't respect your demand

You need to plan what to do if he doesn't respect your demands and he needs to know the consequences of his actions. This way, he won't be confused want you block him because he will have been warned.

If you don't respect my demand, I will have to do X.

X could be "block you for a week/month/forever".

Stay available for his questions

You might think that you have been pretty clear but, maybe not to his point of view. So, I suggest telling him:

If you have any questions about this new boundary, I'm willing to answer them.

(Thanks ELizB for suggesting this new phrasing). Saying "If you have any question" is a bit to open and can lead to questions about anything. Adding "about this new boundary" help staying on-topic.


If the discussion didn't change his behavior (or only for a time)

  • Reminder him of the rule by writing (so that he has no excuse to forget them).

  • Tell him that he didn't respect the rules and that force you to act accordingly (cf: what will happen if he doesn't respect your wish).

  • Start enforcing your rule (by blocking him if it is what you had decided).

  • Not sure if any of that will work, I almost feel that it's either this BS or nothing at all... it's just weird, I have blocked him on my cell now. So I don't even really care about his feelings anymore. – EMS Sep 24 '18 at 16:50

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