How to Handle Obsessive Fans of Your Work (Stalkers)

You’re bound to attract fans of your work in any venture you take seriously.

You’ll realize that gaining followers of your work is easy when you dedicate yourself to delivering a good product. People will reach out. They’ll show appreciation of your work and they’ll share it among those they call close.

As you continue focusing on impressing yourself while others are captivated by your work, more fans will amass. You’ll realize how powerful the word of mouth is. Especially in the age of social media and search engines, your work will have the capacity to reach every corner of the globe.

You’ll be exposed to people who live by different codes. They have different customs, and they have habits you’ve not yet witnessed.

Some of your fans will make you feel uncomfortable. They’ll be too persistent in trying to get your attention. Counter intuitively, some of them may try baiting you with negativity. They’ll be loud, they’ll be persistent, and they’ll even be a little creepy.

This article is about discovering the best way to deal with fans that err on the side of turning into stalkers.

The assumption made on this page is that the fan(s) in question did / do not break any laws.

The Reasonable Thought Processes of the Unreasonable Fan

When someone makes a concerted effort to capture your attention, your kind acknowledgement may work to cool their drive in the short term. However, as they think back to their interaction with you down the line, they’ll want more.  

The overly attached seem to be good at reasoning their selfish desires in order to keep grasping for your attention. They’ll lie to themselves as to the reasons why they want your undivided attention. They’ll present reasons which seek to back their desire to be special in your eyes with some kind of logic.

They bought all your music, and have been following you since you had a measly 150 followers online. They know your poems by heart, and they’ve even been to all your shows when you travel to their part of town. They’ll exclaim why they deserve your attention and you’ll find it difficult to not grant them with it.

Don’t Reward, but Don’t Punish Their Persistence Either

You’ll seek for ways to handle the overly persistent. Their uncommon ways of knowing everything about you will make you want to act defensively. You’ll be creeped out by a few. With others, you wouldn’t want to engage.

In a defensive state of mind, you’ll think to kill them with kindness. You’ll be enticed to take the approach of kindly acknowledging them in hopes of satiating their desire to interact with you. You’ll think to yourself, “Perhaps if I show them kindness, their thirst for my attention will be quenched and they’ll leave me alone.”

You’ll likely be wrong.

Remember, the most demotivating thing for a fan who seeks to stand out is to be labeled the same as every other fan of yours.

Do not reward them for their sense of being special. Treat them like any other fan of yours.

Thank them for enjoying the work that you put out but keep things as professional as you can.

Don’t give the obsessed reason to continue navigating relentlessly toward their obsessions. Try to exit any conversations which get personal in nature and which deviate from the work that you’re known for. Make them feel average. Do so by remaining steady in the middle, not by rewarding or punishing their behaviors toward you.

Any attempts to shame or punish those who are obsessed with you can backfire also.

By being shamed, a well-meaning fan can turn into a malicious creep. They’ll feel as if their heart’s been broken. They’ll treat you like an ex who cheated on them and abruptly kicked them out. In an effort to gain an understanding as to why their love was punished, they’ll be motivated to creep on you even more.

Simply yearn to pleasantly communicate your disinterest in labeling your obsessed fans as special. Once you label a fan to be dangerously obsessed, be careful in rewarding or punishing their behavior. Be nonchalant about their perceived sense of uniqueness.

Subtly Disappoint Their Perfect Perception of You

The fans you see around a bit too often are people who’ve placed you up on a pedestal.

Through your subjectively perfect work, they’ve extended their opinion of your work onto the person behind it. They think of you to be a higher being compared to the rest. Those who’ve become obsessed with you perceive you to make no mistakes, and have grown from respecting you to worshiping.

Be tuned into when fans of yours begin worshiping your every word and move. You’ll need to disappoint the enthusiasm with which those people interact with you. Do your best to project an air of imperfection while those obsessed with you are looking. Ensure you’re seen closer to common than to special.

In general, subtle disappointment occurs when you don’t do what your obsessive fans expect you to do. Those in the public eye are often expected to take time out of their day to cater to their fans. Your withdrawal from those semi required tasks will do well to subtly dissuade the obsessive.

The steps to pulling this off are severely limited by the personal context that you find yourself in. However, below are a few examples of disappointing the fans who’ve grown to become obsessed.

  •         Rejecting to take selfies when someone follows you on the street
  •         Not responding to direct messages or comments online, even if they’re overwhelmingly kind
  •         Not rewarding gifts with publicity of any kind

Give Them a Good Reputation to Live Up to, Reward Those Who Do

Communicating which traits you respect in your fans will motivate them to shape their behavior accordingly.

Allow those who think they know you better than most to realize what type of fan you respect by voicing your preferences. You can do so by telling stalker stories and explaining how uncomfortable it is to have people stand outside your property waiting to take photos.

Use the obsessed fan’s desire to impress against them by specifying ways you can be impressed. Ensure those preferences benefit you from a privacy perspective. Exclaim your opinion of what a model follower of your work looks like. When communicating publicly, reward those who are respectful, patient, and not clingy by thanking them and publicizing that behavior.  

Unlike the first point above about rewarding behavior directly, here, you’d be rewarding your preferred behavior in an impersonal manner. You wouldn’t single anyone out in your communication of what behavior you prefer. Rather, you’d simply give your fans a goal to aspire to in hopes of pleasing you. That goal however, can very well dissuade them from pleasing you in ways which make you uncomfortable.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.