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I recently moved to a new town and am in job search. A lot of my time is going into attending professional meetups and networking.

In one of these, I come across someone who describes himself as guru, mentor, recruiter, entrepreneur, project manager, .. just to name a few.

In less than 10 days,

  • I hung with him professionally-- did small talk, shook hands with people he introduced me to, went to a meetup he suggested.

  • I started working on a project idea he suggested-- wrote up a snapshot which he liked a lot. He then asked me to write a full proposal. When we got together to discuss the first draft, he accused me of plagiarism-- that it's not my text, asked me to prove that it is, yelled and got very rude, asked me stuff about the text to check whether it's my writing, etc.

I'm avoiding him, as smoothly as possible, ever since I got out of that situation. And ever since, he's sending me disturbing, annoying, even abusive text messages.

Can't put my finger on it - however I sensed & ignored vague sexual advances, domineering attitude during that brief time.

How does one handle this situation?

He is influential in the field, and that's what scares me.

I can:

  1. Get him out of my circles (he appears as a friend of mine on an online site) and ignore his messages. I worry that he'll turn actively against me if I do this.

  2. Tell him to "stop communicating me" and do the one above. A sensible person would already have done so in response my attitude since.

  3. Tell him something like "my personal circles demand and I agree that I should stop communicating with you. sorry" and again, do the one in (1) above.

I don't think waiting it out is an option. He can claim acquaintance with me and speak about me.

I'm scared that he'll speak against me, get in my way in my job search. He knows many people in town. In those texts he keeps sending, he's discrediting me and my work (I have an online website) to me. He doesn't know where I'm applying-- I never told him. However, he's influential.

I don't have a work relationship with this person or anyone I know through him. All that happened is what I described above, in little over a week!

//------------------------------------

UPDATE:

I unfriended him from my online circle. He texted me once again. I then sent him an email saying that I won't be able to work on his project "for reasons I partly explained before" and asked him not to contact me.

The sc.. replied with something like I "haven't explained any reasons before", and my message "is incorrect.. it doesn't contain good thoughts. "

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    How do you know he's influential? Why would someone believe him over you, and why would anyone even ask him about you? – Caleb May 19 '17 at 6:12
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    "he accused me of plagiarism-- that it's not my text, asked me to prove that it is" - I know this isn't the main point of the post but it stood out at me. Surely it's up to him to prove the plagiarism - it's easy to do so: just provide the source that he thinks it's copied from. I don't know how you could possibly prove that it's your original work! – colmde May 19 '17 at 8:45
  • @Caleb he's the kind that goes hooks up with people, gets himself into conversations and carries on. thats how we got this far in this kind of time. – javaDoe May 19 '17 at 15:37
  • @Caleb come to think of it, most of that "influence" I saw comes from what he put out – javaDoe May 19 '17 at 15:38
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    ignore him. He's acting creepy. Do NOT reply. – Retired Codger May 19 '17 at 15:39
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You handle it the way you would any other abusive person. You cut off all contact and if he really wants to know why, you tell him.

I wouldn't be too worried about his "influence". If he's that abusive, then other people already know about him and likely just humor him.

As I said, just avoid him and pretend like you've never met him. It's not a movie and one guy isn't going to ruin you. You'll be fine. Will he close some doors? Possibly. But do you really want to work for someone who would have him as a close colleague anyway?

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    so, (a) delete him from my friends circle and ignore his messages? – javaDoe May 18 '17 at 19:58
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    Pretty much. Yeah, it'll take a little guts but the alternative is worse. – Chris E May 18 '17 at 19:59
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    I agree, and to expound a bit. If he's abusive to you, he's been abusive towards other people. He likely already has a bad rep in the area and is likely not as influential as he portrays himself to be. – Retired Codger May 18 '17 at 20:00
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    I would make sure that you also keep copies and/or screen shots of his abusive messages. You never know when that'll come in handy, like if he takes things too far and you need to involve the authorities...or if someone tells you that he's been nice but you weren't, etc. You literally never know to what lengths an abusive person will go when their ego's bruised. – Chris E May 18 '17 at 20:20
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    I generally liked the answer and would have upvoted it, except for " if he really wants to know why, you tell him." - no, you don't. He does not look like the person you want to risk finding out that they really cannot take criticism. Stay away. Chances are you won't teach him, he won't learn. Don't be aggressive against him, just let him run up like waves the sandy beach. – Captain Emacs May 19 '17 at 0:53
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Tell him in no uncertain terms and in written form that you no longer want him to contact you. If you just ghost him, he may show up on the doorsteps of your front door and that's not what you want.

Having a clear written record of this request may be helpful if there is ever a need for a restraining order. Then, you can remove all your online connections to him.

You don't need to say why. You don't need to justify yourself to him. If you say why, he'll never stop arguing with you. You can tell him that. "I don't need to justify myself to you" or "I don't need to explain". Repeat this as many times as necessary. If you feel you must explain, which again, I do not recommend. Say something like "I don't feel comfortable around you." Phrasing your explanation as a personal feeling is good because it will be very difficult for him to argue about the kind of feelings you have. Afer all, he's not you. You're you. You know your feelings because they're your feelings.

And like Christopher Estep said in a comment, you may also want to keep copies and screenshots of his accusations and any abusive comment, and file them away, in case those are ever needed as well.

Also, I know people that are just like this person. And most likely, he's not as influential as you think he is. It's just that in a meetup environment, no one will come out and say it publicly because no one wants to create additional drama.

If you need to change your phone number, your phone company will change your number free of charge if you tell them that someone has been calling you and harassing you. And if he starts showing up to your place, don't open your door, take out your phone video recorder, and tell him again that you don't want any contact with him. And if you want to screen your calls and texts, get a google voice number and screen your calls through your new Google Voice number (it's free, that being said, Google Voice may only be available to US residents and I don't know if you're in the US or not).

--Update:

My last response would be:

It doesn't matter if you think that my message is correct or incorrect, or that you think that I'm not having "good thoughts".

I am no longer feeling comfortable around you. That's it. Don't contact me again. I'm not explaining myself to you any further.

And should you ever see me at an event or at a meetup, please do not sit next to me and do not talk to me. I will do the same if I ever see you at an event, I won't sit next to you and I will not speak to you. Hopefully, we can peacefully co-exist that way.

Sincerely,

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    I do not think there should be another response. He knows how to draw additional responses out, or else how to make OP feel bad after the response (because that's exactly what he did). This cycle will not end. No response is the only response that works here and there is no way one can prevent this guy making one feel worse in the next round. – Captain Emacs May 20 '17 at 9:49
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My dear John,

you call yourself a "guru" and "mentor". You are anything but that. The communications that you sent me clearly show that you are a narcissistic person, with no regards for anyone else, and totally incapable of helping anyone to improve themselves. You also call yourself an "entrepreneur" and "project manager". I still have to see any evidence of that.

The messages that you sent me are disturbing, sexist, and clearly intended to undermine me. These messages will stop. Immediately. If they don't stop immediately, then I will feel free to distribute them as far as possible, so that nobody will be misled by your wild claims.

Best regards Jane

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