Several years ago I met someone online whose empathy helped me with the daily tribulations that accompanied my husband’s illness and, ultimately, his death. I appreciated his friendship and looked forward to exchanging emails with him.
Unfortunately, it turned out that his empathy was not without self-interest. Little by little, one small crisis at a time, I began to send him money to help him out. Over time, this grew into a big deal. He said he wanted to immigrate to Canada and I did what I could to help him with the red tape and costs. Twice.
Long story short, I sent him a lot of money. Some of that money went to help his family through some difficult times, to maintain their rural property, and to establish a fledgling business. I don’t regret that. What I regret is that I was a sucker. Basically, it was all a con, albeit with some real-world benefits for his family.
Once I realized he was never actually going to come to Canada or to engage in any further education or self-improvement, I reluctantly accepted that I was wasting my time, concern, and money on him. It was all a one-way deal. After I had a serious car accident and he stopped writing, I stopped sending money.
I didn’t cut him off all at once, though. Gradually, over a couple of months, I stopped both communicating and sending money. Ending it slowly seemed the decent thing to do.
Over the years since then he has tried to get in touch a few times, and I have avoided interaction by changing my email address, blocking him from social media, and advising former colleagues to ignore his emails. But, today he found this blog.
He commented on a few posts and even wrote that it hurts when a friend cuts you off “cold turkey.” Hah! Yes it does. However, let me tell you about that hole in my bank account!
Anyway, I contacted my sons to ask their advice. My older son suggested that I close the blinds and turn out the lights. My younger son listened on the phone while I explained that I had a practice of responding to all the comments on my blog and wanted to maintain that. He said, “Yes, but he’s still a con,” and I stopped short. Of course, he’s right. After all this time I still don’t want to believe it, but it’s true. The benefit of the doubt should have flown out the window long ago.
So, I contacted the WordPress happiness engineers (yes, they really call themselves that) and asked their advice. Very quickly, without hesitation, I was taught how to block particular commenters. I was pleased that the happiness engineer I chatted with said they were sorry I needed to do this. I was glad to get that much-needed personal detail. They also told me not to hesitate to contact them again, and I won’t.
They seem to have my best interests at heart, unlike some other people I could name. Don’t worry, though. I won’t be using Western Union to communicate with WordPress.
Image source: automattic