The other day I had to change my Twitter profile to state that I was “happily unavailable”. The real reason I had to do it was because of the unsolicited direct messages I was getting from men and even female accounts.
This is NOT an ego thing. I’m clear that this happens to a lot of people online. I know several friends who have been harassed to the point of deleting their accounts and deciding to go a more anonymous route. This is not my choice. I want to be ME online. I want to voice my opinions and say my piece and participate as the person I am in real life. I want to have that freedom. But there are downsides to doing that and this is one of them.
Recently, I tried to be very kind to two specific men who kept direct messaging me. In fairness to them, I’m sure it seemed quite innocent enough. But from my point of view, it would not stop. It was the constant asking of how I was doing or making up reasons to reach out to me. After the first, second and third time of me answering the question generically, I wondered why they didn’t get the hint. Then I just ignored the DM’s entirely. After that, came the questions if I was enjoying the Saturday. Or the Monday. Or the Thursday. You get the idea.
Then, they’d go down the road of asking me via DM how I felt about this GOP thing or that Biden issue that I just answered on someone else’s tweet. Another person, who I thought seemed lovely enough, kept asking me about how I was feeling after my Covid vaccine shot. Kind enough I suppose. But then it kept going. Of course, at some point you just know you need to put your foot down. And this is on top of the regular crap of total trash and nastiness that comes from others who you don’t follow at all! The hate from Trumpers or spam stuffage I get on my website and emails is much easier to block. But when people follow you and you follow them, it becomes a more delicate issue. Especially when you’ve been connected for a long while…
I do try to give them the benefit of the doubt. But I have rules.
After three times of getting an unwanted DM, I generally just let them know I’m not available. I try as kindly as possible to explain why I don’t want DM’s and I do my best to explain that I realize I may be overstepping and over-reacting to their messages….I do a little tip-toeing to be kind, but my foot is inevitably planted and I let them know a line has been crossed. Still, kindly. Both of these accounts specifically lost it over me “accusing” them of doing anything else than being friendly… Jeez.
For the love of all things sane, we are grown and I wasn’t born yesterday. I also do NOT have such an ego that I would mistake such a thing… here is the meat of what I wrote:
“…You know, for me, being on Twitter is like being at a bar. We’re all here chit chatting about the latest thing and depending on the subject matter, we’re at different tables hanging out. When you DM me for no other reason than to talk to me separately, it’s like you’ve run into me in the hallway on my way back from the bathroom. I’m fine saying hi or whatever – but if you don’t get the hint that I’m not interested in continuing this private conversation, now I feel cornered. I’m not comfortable and if you don’t get that by my ignoring your attempts and the various hints I’ve laid out for you, then I have a problem. And I need to push back and let you know I’m not interested in talking to you via DM. I hope I’m being real clear here.”
The women I’ve dealt with in the past are so much better at rejection. I just tell them I’m not a Lesbian, and it’s no issue at all. And before you ask, I’ve tried to tell men I’m a Lesbian and that doesn’t deter them because you know… some men just are idiots. And look, the last thing I want to do is lie if I don’t have too. I should NOT have too. I’m a supporter and strong ally of my LGBTQ+ friends and I never want to be flippant or disrespectful about their struggle either…but I digress.
Do I personally direct message people? Men? Sure. But usually, to make them aware of something. Here’s an example: I remember one person misstated a direct quote from one of my favorite authors. I didn’t want to embarrass them by commenting underneath their post so I sent a DM. He was grateful, deleted the post and we went along our merry ways. I rarely DM people.
For those who are not aware, Twitter, is not an online dating site. But I get it. I get that people are out there trying to meet people and this is one of the ways to do that, and I’m not opposed to it. But just remember the same etiquette applies if you were in person at a bar or party. Learn the signals when someone is NOT interested in pursuing a conversation with you any further. It doesn’t have to mean you were interested in them to begin with, but if someone is uncomfortable, don’t push along any further.
And honestly, the best way to interact with anyone – is to comment on their post. Tweet them in the open, at the bar – don’t drag them into the hallway or corner them in the alley. If someone is interested in you further along than just tweeting about whatever the subject is, it will feel easy and natural to DM. But even then, if you do DM and someone does NOT respond to you, TAKE. THE. HINT. If you’re unsure, that’s probably a clue. But if you still have hopes anyways, wait and see if they reach out to you.
Best piece of advice I ever heard was this:
“If a man is interested in you, you’ll know. If a man isn’t interested in you, you’ll be confused.”
It works just as easily with any gender. “If someone is interested in you, you’ll know. If that person is not interested in you, you’ll be confused.”
And look, if time moves along and someone feels the need to be as kind as possible to let you know they are not interested in you in “that” way – my goodness, don’t take offense! You think I find joy in having to write a message to someone who follows me to tell them to basically leave me alone? NO! I hate having to do that.
Rejection is hard. It absolutely sucks, I have been there many, many, times. But goodness, that’s also part of life. Be grateful someone’s telling you straight up they’re not interested. Embrace that wholeheartedly. Because the alternative is someone who is not interested in you and chooses to play you and use you for all it’s worth! I’ve been there too. It was done to me and nothing hurts more than knowing you love someone to then find out years later they were just using you for your connections, talents and/or money. Trust me, I learned the lesson the hard the way. Now, I’m grateful when I realize straight up a man is NOT interested in me at all. I see the blessing in it so easily. And thank my lucky stairs I don’t have to waste any more of my valuable time.
And here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay single. At this point my standards are so damn high, you’re going to have to be an Avenger for me to even be mildly interested. I wish I was kidding. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. But that’s why I’m happily unavailable. Being single is not a bad thing. It’s no better or worse than being involved with someone. It’s just different. There are pros and cons to both. And after all the struggles I’ve seen couples go through this past year, I have never been happier about my single status.
Like I said, I’m happily unavailable.
I love me, 3000. 😉