Happiness Engineering

https://automattic.com/work-with-us/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


  1. Thank you for sharing. This must have been very painful for you! Years ago, I became acquainted with a friend online who eventually left her husband and son and moved across country for a “boyfriend” that she had everything in common with. Turns out the “boyfriend” had nothing. She tried relentlessly to contact me for help, and I finally had to “block” and move on. When you genuinely care about people, these things can happen.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your friend, Tanya. My experience has left me with very mixed emotions and I am thankful that I can now start to talk about it without feeling ashamed. At least, not as ashamed as I once was! Even so, it goes against my nature to block someone I once cared about and I did not do it easily.

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