Have you ever experienced the frustration of receiving messages from someone who just won’t take the hint and stop? Carolina, a 24-year-old microbiologist, has been dealing with this issue for more than five years. It all started when a guy from her high school began sending her Facebook messages every few months. Initially, Carolina found it amusing, but as time went on, it became a persistent annoyance. When asked why she didn’t ask him to stop, she simply said she didn’t have the heart to do so.
This phenomenon of men “pleading into the void,” sending messages despite receiving no response, is unfortunately quite common. What’s even more surprising is that many men seem oblivious to the fact that this behavior is bothersome and that other men engage in the same behavior. It’s important to note that persistent texting can cross the line into harassment, especially when it causes annoyance or alarm to the recipient.
Rhiana, for example, had to deal with a stranger who obtained her number through a coworker and started bombarding her with daily texts. After explicitly asking him to stop, the situation escalated quickly. The man denied being the person she thought he was, pretending to be someone else entirely, and even went as far as contacting her partner to spread false accusations of infidelity. This extreme behavior is not always the case, but it highlights the fear many women have of confrontation and aggression when dealing with persistent messaging.
Some men who engage in this behavior admit that the lack of a clear rejection fuels their persistence. Jeff, for instance, used to send multiple messages to women without getting a response. He explains that he interpreted the absence of a negative response as a glimmer of hope, thinking that maybe things had changed since the last time they communicated. This persistence is rooted in society’s idea that men should relentlessly pursue women, a mindset that often intersects with persistent texting and harassment.
It’s not only previous romantic partners who experience incessant messaging. Old friends, hookups, classmates, and even public figures, such as DJs or escorts, find themselves bombarded with unwanted messages. Natalie, an escort in her 30s, states that sex workers, in particular, struggle with this problem. Despite clear instructions on how to contact them, some individuals persistently message them without any real purpose, wasting their time and causing frustration.
What drives this type of behavior remains a mystery even to those who exhibit it. Social cluelessness, alcohol, delusion, loneliness, and lack of self-awareness are all factors that may contribute to persistent messaging. Furthermore, psychotherapist Elise Franklin points out that the issue is often gendered, with women being more frequently subjected to these types of messages. She suggests that this is connected to deeper societal sexism, where women are depersonalized and their cues are dismissed.
However, it’s crucial to understand that most individuals who engage in persistent messaging don’t do so deliberately or with malicious intent. They are simply misguided in their attempts to connect and be seen. Jeff, who used to send multiple messages without response, admits that he prioritized his need for validation and attention over the other person’s feelings. He has since learned from his mistakes and now adheres to a strict rule: two unreturned texts indicate disinterest, and he moves on.
In conclusion, persistent messaging can be a source of great frustration for those on the receiving end. It’s essential for both men and women to be aware of the impact their messages can have and to respect the boundaries and wishes of others. Clear communication and understanding are key to fostering healthy interactions and avoiding unnecessary tension.