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Almost exactly a year ago, I met this guy through a university society and since we both studied the same subject, I agreed to chat and meet him before lectures a few times. He would message me frequently and talk about his social anxiety, amongst other issues, and I tried to help him.

Looking back it was quite obvious where it was going but I had no experience in the relationship department, so when he asked me out one day I panicked and just gave him the vague 'want to stay friends' excuse. I realised this fairly quickly and sent him a proper rejection the next day suggesting we both keep out distance but this turned out to be too late.

Since then he didn't seem to accept anything anyone said. He kept asking when we could talk again, emphasising his struggles with mental illnesses and telling me that he would change if I gave him time. Even after I blocked him, he messaged my friends, dragged in a few of his friends that I knew and repeatedly sent me multiple friend requests using different accounts.

I thought it had died down when the pandemic started in march but I have since found out that he had 'checked in' with my friends every month. Now that university has started again, he is once again trying to reach out to me and I don't know how to deal with it. He is either in denial or does not understand what it means for me to not want to be friends. We have tried to help him with his mental health but he says nothing (but me) helps.

TLDR - I don't want to worsen his mental health but I also don't want to be friends and saying so doesn't seem to register. Is there anything I can even do?

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    Hi Lucy! In order to help you better, your question could be improved by including a bit more about the current situation and perhaps a bit more about your actions/behavior in the past. What is this person doing right now in his attempts to reach out to you, and most importantly: how are you handling these attempts? In the past, what did you do when he had his friends reach out to you or involved your friends? Have you requested your friends help you with this? – Tinkeringbell Nov 9 '20 at 18:29
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    Also... For your safety, have you considered escalating this by involving professional help (like involving law enforcement or getting his parents get him treatment) instead of internet strangers, since it might be safer for you? Who is the 'we' that have tried to help him with his mental health? Is there a reason you feel you still have a chance of convincing him? – Tinkeringbell Nov 9 '20 at 18:34
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    Have you explicitly told your friends not to pass on any message from this stalker? – Yosef Baskin Nov 11 '20 at 14:39
  • Did you tried talking directly to him ? Do you think you could be ready to do that ? (with a good friend/family tagging along ?) – Fanie Void Nov 19 '20 at 10:58
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The issue here not that you are a bad communicator, or that you lack the magic words that will make him want to respect your wishes. You don't need magic words, you don't have to convince him of anything.

You say you don't want to hurt him. Well, he obviously doesn't care about what you want.

Just keep blocking him. And I'd honestly consider blocking any 'friend' who didn't respect your wishes about staying no-contact with him.

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    Hey, thanks for the answer! Can you please explain why you think that this is a good idea? Answers here should provide some sort of backup, such as personal experience or an external source, for why they are suggesting this solution, which at the moment this answer doesn't appear to do. – Jeroen Nov 10 '20 at 9:20
  • What do you mean by "friends who didn't respect your wishes" ? That they shouldn't talk to him of OP or to not talk to him at all ? Thats 2 differents things and where the first is an acceptable boundary, the second is more their choice to make (or not) – Fanie Void Nov 19 '20 at 10:52
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    The OP's friends should not be carrying messages from someone whom the OP doesn't want to communicate with. – swbarnes2 Nov 19 '20 at 17:19
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    You might want to add a part where you insctruct your friends to stop replying, possibly providing them with a super generic answer everytime he asks – Martijn Feb 25 at 11:40
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Blocking him is an option, as already mentioned in an answer, but there is something I want to add.

"We have tried to help him with his mental health but he says nothing (but me) helps"

Ok, so I have had issues with my mental health too, and in my experience, there are alway many things that help, and never ever one person alone. This sounds to me to a manipulation tactic to make you feel guilty, so you will do as he wants you to do.

"friends, dragged in a few of his friends that I knew and repeatedly sent me multiple friend requests using different accounts."

Sounds like stalking.

"I have since found out that he had 'checked in' with my friends every month"

Again, this is stalking, and your friends are being complices.

You already did very well by blocking him. Now you can tell your friends to not to give him any information about you, and if they respect you, they will do so. Do not answer even if it gets hard, i.e. if he starts being more provocative. He will see every response as a victory.

There is a book called "The gift of fear", by Gavin de Becker which has a chapter about stalking. I believe it will help you understand better why he is in such denial.

And last, if you begin to feel gilty about his mental health, remember that he will only find true help when he is ready (he's not), that his health is not your responsability but his, and from what you say, he is using it to try to manipulate you into having a relationship.

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