Stalking is something that people joke around with a lot these days. But first of all, I’m gonna start off this post by saying that it is NOT a small thing. Real-life stalking is an incredibly serious and often dangerous situation, and if you feel like someone is stalking you, you need to call the police. It is not a joke. (DISCLAIMER: I am NOT encouraging this kind of stalking IN ANY WAY. This post is purely for fun. That’s why it’s in the “Loopy” category.)
That said, I’m going to go back to joking about it. It’s very easy to find information on people if you know what you’re doing, but there definitely needs to be boundaries. You don’t want to cross the line into legit stalking, because then you could have the police after you and you could end up in court and all sorts of ugly unnecessities. The balance between fun stalking and serious stalking is a delicate one. Here I am talking about the fun kind, the harmless stuff where you find information about people (and DON’T use it for blackmailing or anything illegal) just because it’s fun. So let’s get into the rules.
- Never let the victim know you are stalking them.
“Wait! Don’t you want this?”
“How did you know?”
“I’ve…kind of been stalking you.” – Avatar: the Last Airbender
This is the most obvious rule of stalking, so I put it first. You never want your target to know you’re stalking them. If they do, then it’s just weird for everybody. And it kind of destroys the whole idea of stalking as well. The Google definition for “stalk” is “pursue or approach stealthily,” and the definition of “stealth” (for further clarification) is “cautious and surreptitious action or movement.” So, yeah. Letting them know would kind of blow it.
Upon this first rule, the others are built.
- Do not tell anybody who you are stalking.
“Please don’t misconstrue our silence as disrespect, it’s just beyond our authority to tell you.” ~ Warehouse 13
It is important that your stalking is a secret. I think it’s fairly obvious that it’s not exactly the most honorable of pastimes. It looks creepy in every way, at any time. Plus, the person who finds out could easily decide you’ve gone too far and call the authorities on you. Trust me, it’s just best if nobody knows.
- Never rat out a fellow stalker.
“Don’t try calling security, or I’ll tell them you’re wearing a Shimmer. Because I reckon anyone wearing a Shimmer doesn’t want the Shimmer to be recognized, or they wouldn’t need a Shimmer in the first place.” ~ Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor
Although stalking always looks creepy (because it usually IS creepy), it doesn’t look so bad to a fellow stalker. Finding another stalker can be the start of a beautiful partnership bursting with information about everyone and everything, but there’s got to be a baseline of trust and loyalty there as well. It’s a lot easier for stalkers to understand the art of stalking than for the general public, so do your part and keep quiet.
- Know about a lot of random things.
“It’s a long story.”
“Then tell me.”
“Do you have any inkling of the theory of space dimension correlated to relative time?” ~ Doctor Who, the Fourth Doctor
Knowing about stuff is ALWAYS helpful. But when it comes to stalking, it can be even more beneficial, especially if you’re stalking in person (which is generally not as secure as online stalking). And of course, you can’t know about stuff unless you ask questions ~ which is another huge part of in-person stalking. It’s your job to figure out what questions are the right ones.
- Be aware of your surroundings and your resources.
“Just put me back in London. I need to get to know the place again, breathe it in, feel every quiver of its beating heart.” ~ Sherlock
Knowing your surroundings is good for in-person stalking, as you can find places to hide (if you don’t want them to see you) or blend in (if you’re taking an indirect approach). I know a fair amount about in-person stealth stalking, because I tend to follow people around when I’m bored. (Don’t think this hasn’t gotten me into trouble.)
Knowing your resources is vital; for instance, social media. These are highly trafficked and highly searchable, and a lot of people give out a lot of information on them. All you have to do is locate your target and start browsing (but be careful not to accidentally “like” any of their posts ~ that will give you away and subject you to an unmeasurable amount of embarrassment). It can also be used in person by knowing your target’s circle. If you talk to someone that is close to your target, by working in subtle and well-concealed questions, you can learn a lot about your target and what that person thinks of them. Of course, you must be careful about any information you gain either online or from another party, because you never know when a person is lying.
- Do not share your information, or tell anyone where you got it.
“How did you know that?”
“Uh, it’s a rare gift that I bust out on rare occasions and almost all the time.” ~ Psych
Stalkers are not gossips. Gossiping is by no means an honorable or desirable art. (Stalking isn’t exactly honorable either, but you sure learn a lot by it.)
Anyway, stalking for fun is just that ~ for fun, so you don’t share anything that you learn through it with anybody, because you aren’t actually setting out to blackmail or hurt anybody. Hurting other people is never cool, and besides, letting out information you’ve only gained through stalking tends to prompt people to ask where you got that information, which can violate both the first and second rules of stalking. Plus, giving out your resources takes away your advantage over other potential stalkers (it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there).
- Always have a Plan B. And C. And Z.
“Just how many plans do we have? Do we have a Plan M?”
“Yeah. Hardisan dies in Plan M.”
“I like Plan M.” ~ Leverage
This doesn’t only apply to stalking. Having a backup plan is useful in a lot of situations. However, I’m not here to talk about all of those. You have to have multiple ways of gathering information, so that if you’re looking for something specific and you can’t find it, you have other ways of gleaning. And, to piggyback on this rule…
- Always have an escape plan. Preferably several.
“I think we should go with Plan C.”
“What’s Plan C?”
“Well, I run away and you get pummeled.” ~ Warehouse 13
…make sure you’ve got a way out. Make sure you’ve got alibis and alibis for your alibis in case you’re caught by a suspicious third party. If you’re stalking in person, have several ways out of the building or away from your current location in case your target comes your way. The creepy factor of stalking in general is nothing compared to the awkward factor of being caught at it. Which is why it’s important to
- Cover your tracks.
“How is he ever going to survive in the adult world if he can’t come up with a better cover story?” ~ Boy Meets World
This can amount to deleting your recent internet history or literally erasing evidence of your presence in a place. If you stalk online and you share a computer with others, deleting your browser history is vital. If you tend to use the computer in a place that is frequented by other people, it would be best to possibly move to a more secluded (but not suspicious, like your room) location (really, trying to stalk someone online in a public place is just not a good idea. Too many things can go wrong there). Covering your tracks when stalking in person is harder, and though I am always aware of fingerprints, that’s probably not something you really have to worry about. But footprints on soft ground can give you away (especially in snow), as can poor hiding places. If you don’t do a good job at covering your tracks, someone is likely to find out that you’re engaging in socially disturbing behavior.
- Make yourself as inconspicuous as possible.
“It’s those who are overlooked by the folk around them you want to watch. They see more than they tell, and they think more than they talk. You want them for your friend. You don’t want them asking questions about you.” – “Trickster’s Choice”
I put this last, but don’t think that makes it the least important. One of the most important things for a stalker to know is not to draw attention to yourself. Wearing bright or different clothing makes you noticeable, and doesn’t help if you’re trying to be stealthy. Learn to blend in and divert attention. (This is one reason why introverts can make better stalkers than extroverts.) Online, don’t talk to your target more than you talk to other people, and don’t mention things about them that you only know from stalking ~ and if something comes up that you know that they didn’t tell you, hide the fact that you already know it.
And never, EVER give out all the information.