Rule #6: Spend Your Time Wisely

by Rachel on September 2, 2010

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big fan of the internet. I feel so fortunate to be alive during a time when we are afforded such endless possibilities for such little cost. But there’s one thing that I cannot handle, and that’s the way it’s allowed everyone to start acting so batshit crazy, stalking each other.

Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about Facebook creeping on some dude you gave your number to at a party last weekend. That’s fine. That sort of stalking is part of the world we live in; it’s to be expected and you can own it. I actually wrote an article for TechCoquette about how to let on you’ve been stalking someone. We’re all pretty plugged in…there’s no shame in that.

But I’m talking about actively seeking out information about people you barely know…when you know it’s only going to make you feel bad.


When I was in college, I’d sit in the common areas of my sorority house and listen to girls Facebook stalk for hours. HOURS. These were smart, talented, driven women…and for some reason, they chose to spend their time looking at people they barely knew. And I wish it had ended with college, but it didn’t.

And of course, it’s usually all about boys.

Dude stalking involves looking at a guy’s profile on a regular basis and analyzing his Wall, photos, and status updates. You may actually be dating or you may just think you’re dating; you may have just hooked up or you may have just broken up. In any case, you’re not secure in the relationship. So you use Facebook as a way to make yourself more insecure. You question everything he’s doing and stress about his updates or lack thereof. And once you’ve started dude stalking, that leads us to…

Chick stalking was what really bothers me. In college, I’d watch as girls clicked through hundreds of tagged photos to check out the other girls they suspected of having some sort of relationship with their male target. They’d talk about the other girls’ dating histories, appearances, and sex lives. And they. Were. Mean.

Chick stalking was what made me truly uncomfortable. I don’t like listening to women talk shit on each other like that. And what bothered me the most was that I knew that in every sorority house and dorm, there were other girls doing the same things — but looking at pictures of my friends and me, talking shit for no reason except that the guy that was at the center of this couldn’t man up and say to either girl, “I don’t want to be exclusive with you.” Or maybe he had, and the girls couldn’t woman up and accept that for what it is.

In either case, it led to a lot of Peeing on the Wall — a term I made up at the time to describe how girls write on guys’ Walls with the sole intention of marking their territory and scaring away other girls.

Now, you may be happily married and done with the dating scene, so you might be beyond Facebook stalking your prey. But there’s another type of stalking that I can’t stand, and that’s blog stalking…when you hate the blogger.

All the Hollaback bloggers can tell you that I come out pretty strongly against hate following and shout this via e-mail on occasion. I just don’t get it. People spend hours reading blogs for the sole purpose of hating on them. Wait…what?

Why?

Oh, do you not have anything else to do? You just need to spend an hour a day reading about the daily life of a person whose daily life you don’t really like? You follow them on Twitter so you can e-mail their Tweets to all your friends with bitchy comments? You want to be the first to know if they get good news that will automatically piss you off? So you hate them…and yet you’re putting money in their bank because every time you go to their blog, their ads get a hit.

Um, why?

Seriously…why??

I doubt you’re bored. Most women I know aren’t actually ever bored. They have really full, rich, busy lives. They don’t have enough time for themselves. No time to work out! No time to cook! No time to find a better job! No time to relax and unwind!

But plenty of time to stalk.

I was never that drawn to stalking, but the day I logged onto Facebook and saw the guy I was in love with kissing another girl in a photo on my Mini-Feed was the day I gave it up. Sure, knowing is better than not knowing — that’s why now I just put on my big girl panties and tell guys what I want. I keep people who have the power to hurt me via status update removed from my feed. Sometimes I just de-friend them.

And while I love making new friends via Twitter and Facebook (fo realz — holler at me), I don’t accept friend requests from girls when the only friend we have in common is a dude I’ve hooked up with or girls who are BFFs with girls I know don’t like me. You actually think I believe you want to be friends? Yeah…you don’t. And I’d prefer to not give you my profile as fuel to the toxic conversations I know you and your friends are having. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Fact: I choose not to seek out things that would make me angry, upset, annoyed, or mean. I choose not to seek out ways to tear other women apart. So I choose not to stalk.

Fact: I am a productive member of society because I don’t stalk.

Fact: The time I could spend stalking I put into my own projects, which is why I have such a nice resume.

Fact: If you’re wondering why you aren’t getting everything you want out of life…and yet you’re committing a large chunk of time to doing something that not only doesn’t help you, but it actually makes you feel worseyou are ridiculous.

Fact: If you spend precious time during your day to actively follow the life of someone you don’t know, who has never done anything to you, and would probably be your friend in a different context…just to talk shit about her…you are also ridiculous. And kind of a bitch.

I guess because I’m tech-savvy, people think I’d know the best way to snoop on a guy…and I don’t. Because I’m pretty ballsy, people think that I’d be the first person to hate follow…and I’m not. When a friend comes to me with the details she’s found out about the “other woman” expecting me to get all worked up on her behalf…she is disappointed.

The other day, my mom sent me the link to this article about a woman whose body was found in her boyfriend’s chimney. She was trying to break into his place. She was a doctor.

People — that is tragic.

If you have to stalk a guy — or other girls as you pursue a guy — then your relationship sucks. And if you and they guy are over, then really, you’re wasting your time and just being crazy. Let’s talk about moving on.

If you read blogs you don’t like just to be snarky, then you need something to do. Let’s talk about ways to make your blog better.

I have a hard time believing that any woman reading my blog right now is anything but exceptional. I can assume that most of you have really good lives that are worth living and dreams worth pursuing. So don’t waste your time in front of a computer, feeling bitter or insecure. Don’t be That Girl.

Just your friendly Thursday morning reminder!

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa @ I'm an Okie September 2, 2010 at 7:32 am

Love this. SO true. If you feel the need to look at every singe comment made on your boyfriends page for the past 4 years (which, sadly, Ive done in a relationship) is a big red flag that says SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT…either with YOU or the relationship.

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2 MelissaNibbles September 2, 2010 at 7:33 am

I don’t get people who read blogs they don’t enjoy either. It’s a waste of time and why be sit there and be negative? I wouldn’t read a book by an author I don’t enjoy, why would I read a blog by someone I just don’t relate to? It’s pointless and you’re right, I have better things to do!! Sure, there are things that people do that annoy me, but those little things don’t turn me off from a blog. I’m pretty annoying myself, but if there’s someone I just don’t care for, I just don’t read it. It’s simple.

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3 Rachel September 2, 2010 at 7:37 am

Melissa — Such a good point about reading a book by an author you don’t relate to!

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4 Dori September 2, 2010 at 7:35 am

You’re right, you’re right. Sometimes, it is just so hard to stop!

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5 Rachel September 2, 2010 at 7:37 am

READ THIS POST WHEN YOU’RE TEMPTED!! Cold turkey is how I did it. :)

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6 C.J. September 2, 2010 at 7:36 am

Amen to that.

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7 Eunice September 2, 2010 at 7:40 am

Man, when the bf and I first got together (many moons ago), I would majorly stalk his ex (ok maybe I still do on occasion). First it was to see if they still talked and then because I was paranoid that he still wanted to be with her. What a waste of my life!

I’m not much into blog stalking, simply because I spend enough time reading the blogs I actually like. But I know people who are, and who send me shit on other bloggers, like a picture of their ugly cat or something. Really? That poor cat, it’s not his fault. Anyway, you’re right. Why would you want to put more money in their pockets by giving them hits? Let’s move on, ladies.

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8 MelissaNibbles September 2, 2010 at 7:43 am

“That poor cat, it’s not his fault”

hahahaha!!!!

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9 Dani September 2, 2010 at 7:51 am

Hate following really makes NO sense to me – why spend time with something/one you dislike so strongly? This goes along with my thoughts of “It’s a free country – if you don’t like what you’re hearing/seeing/reading, change the station/channel/book/blog”.

Now, to print out and anonymously mail this to certain people… (or tattoo it to their eyelids, ya know, whatever works!!)

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10 Ashley September 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

Like Dori said — you’re right. But it’s hard to stop because for me, hate following a blog is like watching a trainwreck that happens over and over again, sometimes more than once a day. My habit actually goes back five or six years to a former coworker who put wayyyyyy too much information out there on their blog.

However, I’ve definitely come become better just this summer! I wouldn’t say I’m cured, but I only remember to check in on the trainwrecks every few weeks now, not every day …. which goes against your cold turkey suggestion …. perhaps I should give that a shot …

But it CAN be entertaining!

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11 Secondhand Smash September 2, 2010 at 8:28 am

Amen! Good post. I hate hate hate hearing about girls Facebook stalking other girls [usually ex-boyfriends’ new girlfriends] and they 99% always feel bad [or bitter!] afterwards. Why put yourself through such torture? Live YOUR life.

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12 Missy Maintains September 2, 2010 at 8:35 am

You are totally right. It can be very tempting but I know I could be searching for jobs or working on my blog instead! It is definitely a tough habit to break though!

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13 E September 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

You are SO right. Thanks for posting this. Really.

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14 Elisabeth September 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

I don’t hate follow at all. I just honestly have better things to do with my time. I check out lots of blogs, and if I don’t like them, I just stop reading. Why would I care what they’re doing anymore after I’ve stopped reading?

I have been known to FB stalk on occasion. More of just a “hey…I wonder what this person is doing now…” sort of thing, and I don’t do like a weekly check-in or anything. To me, that’s just strange. I just don’t care that much!

However, if I’m not reading someone’s blog anymore, I really DO enjoy being told by someone who still reads if that person has done or said something amazing on their blog. Since I don’t read anymore, I wouldn’t know what they’re up to!

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15 Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle September 2, 2010 at 8:44 am

I am guilty of facebook stalking. Funny story about it. I am friends with my ex-boyfriend’s sister on facebook (was my current boyfriend at the time I was doing this, not that it made it less creepy) and for whatever reason I would stalk her on FB like it was my JOB. I looked through all of her pictures, read her status updates, etc. Well, I actually recognized a friend of hers from college from her pictures at a shoe store. Yes. I seriously recognized someone from a facebook photo. I realized then that my obsession with facebook stalking had to stop!

Side note – I am new to your blog and have to tell you it has fast become my favorite. Just a little ego-stroking for you!

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16 Rachel September 2, 2010 at 8:47 am

@Stephanie — That IS a funny story! And a lesson to everyone!! Thanks for sharing!

And PS I love stroking. :)

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17 Bridget@PavementandPlants September 2, 2010 at 8:53 am

I de-friended my ex-bf on facebook because I knew that if I didn’t, it would be all too easy to stalk away. I ran into him a couple of months ago and he was so angry that I did that and told me I was being juvenile. Well, it’s what I needed to do and I still feel good about the decision.

And all it tells me is that he was trying to creep on my facebook. HA!

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18 Jessie (Bites and Pieces) September 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

Great post! I have seen groups of girls huddle around a computer to stalk their facebook “friends” and I have always thought it was a waste of time. It’s not constructive or positive for anyone!

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19 Kaytee September 2, 2010 at 9:32 am

I have so many different perspectives/reactions to this.
1) Having met my ex via blog, I found myself stalking not only his blog/facebook but the blogs/facebook of people he called “friends.” (I had reasons to be suspicious, but it was still pretty unattractive behavior on my part.) Funny how once I was with a different person, my creeper tendencies just sort of disappeared.
2) My google reader felt so much better after I cleared out the blogs I wasn’t really “feeling” anymore. I highly recommend that. Who cares if it’s a popular blog… if it’s not for you, don’t read it.
3) Having had hate-followers, I can say it really didn’t do much but make me laugh most of the time. But, if I’m being honest, sometimes it made me want to crawl in a hole and die. And really? Does it REALLY make you feel better about yourself to do that? Don’t be that person.

Loved this post & love you.

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20 tish September 2, 2010 at 10:05 am

is it sad that i wish my blog were popular enough to warrant blog hating lol?

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21 zenlizzie September 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm

For the record, all the blogs I hate aren’t very popular.

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22 Elisabeth September 2, 2010 at 11:05 am

Thanks for saying this! I don’t stalk guys from past relationships (too much!) or the girls they’re with now, but I definitely read blogs of girls I don’t like so I can continue to judge them a/o be jealous when good things come their way. The next time I navigate that way, I’ll just think of this post and remind myself not to be THAT girl. ;)

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23 Sara September 2, 2010 at 11:40 am

Honestly, I needed this post at this exact moment.

I am in a very solid relationship – I know my man would never roam. We’ve never talked about our pasts, and the other day I just got curious on fb. I read things that I never wanted to know… from years ago (I honestly clicked ‘more posts’ until I reached the year 2006… when I get carpel tunnel, remind me of this). Now I am overanalyzing everything between us! Why am I doing this to myself!? Some things are better left alone.

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24 Nicole September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

AMENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN sista ~ to all of the above.

Stalking to be snarky or to fuel your insecurity is submitting to Godin’s LIZARD BRAIN.

just STOP!
BE PRODUCTIVE, PEOPLE!

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25 Mel September 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Ah I love your posts and this one cracks me up because do I ever know about this..
I don’t facebook stalk, I facebook STALK. And I OWN this!!

Seriously, if there were awards, I really think at point I could have placed for Best Facebook Skills. I’ve had friends literally contact me to help them try and find something (recruitment anyone?). For future employers, I sum it up to my “incredible research skills”. For example: These days you have virtually open access to ANY ONE’s photo albums, but back in the golden Facebook days, you’d stroll through friends’ pictures but couldn’t look into any albums of people you weren’t Friends With. Welll I discovered if you “shared” – or Inbox messaged yourself – a picture from the album you’d like to visit, you could click through the rest of the album, picture-by-picture, in your Inbox. It was lengthy but effective.

Ahh but as you’ve pointed out, after too many nights stalking “best-girl-friend’s” of guys you are involved with, it eventually becomes self inflicting pain. Especially when you spend an entire evening stalking said guy and figuring out how he could have made a new girl his girlfriend right under your nose! (trace the comments, photo tags, friend request and slap yourself for being so ignorant.) YIKES.

Now, being off the wagon for a few months and using my power for good instead of evil – I’m actually PROUD of these so called research skills I’ve developed. Applying this sort of determination in the real world, I know I can find just about any sort of information that exists on the internet – statistics, sources, client information, coupons, jobs.

So maybe I’m glorifying a little but I guess that’s what happens when you spend a lot of time with a website. Will I ever recommend someone develop these skills via Facebook? Nooo.

I’m just much happier not left worrying about what’s going on these people’s pages these days!

Ps. I own that I’ve creeped through some of your old blog posts and loved every second — and definitely forwarded a few on to my friends! See, I am a friendly stalker. haha Thanks for all the laughs :)

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26 Rachel September 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Comment of the day? YES.

At first I was like, “You can’t OWN that! Rule #1 trumps Rule #4!” but I LOVE that you’ve put your “research skills” to good use — that’s hilarious and actually rather inspiring! I’m totally creeped out about the inbox thing, but also impressed with your skillz.

Thank you for the good laugh at this comment and for reading my blog — and like I said, I don’t mind when people stalk me for good, not evil. See you on FB?

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27 Mel September 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

ahh thanks, that made my day! I’m swooning in my cubicle haha

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28 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter September 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Your posts always make me crack up because they are so true. I’ve had the ex-girlfriend of the guy I was dating friend request me (I accepted, but at the time I just thought they were good friends. Did not know about the whole ex thing for a while), snooped on girls who were “claiming” a guy I was interested in, and wasted my life on it. Though I’m not one to share snarky comments.

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29 Trinidad Pena September 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Ha! Can’t we stalk just a little? He, He, He…

But seriously, friend/follow exes with extreme caution!

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30 Tiffany September 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I absolutely LOVE this post! Thank you, this needed to be said!

I definitely know a few girls that could benefit from reading this.

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31 Tara September 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm

As a person who is not on facebook or twitter or anything, this really…intrigues me!!

Is it wrong that I totally want to facebook creep I ask?!? Because it sounds kind of exciting.

Despite the fact that I’m 26 and should be all over fb I have zero interest. However, if I do ever join I promise to facebook stalk all of you on this blog…you know, for research…uh on how to write a blog, yeah that’s it!

Rachel- you totally make me want to be all sorts of crazy! Not necessarily in a ‘good’ way, but in a RIDICULOUS way which is, of course, the only crazy worth being.

…And the only crazy I’ll own.

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32 Caroline September 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I def waste time stalking people on facebook, my boyfriend calls me out on it all the time. Not necessarily hate stalking, but still a waste of time! I’m off to delete some people from my friends list now …

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33 Alicia at Poise in Parma September 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm

confession: I have a Google Reader folder called “Blogs I Don’t Like”. I am not about to name names, but it contains certain blogs I thought I should read to “keep up with the trends” of healthy living blogs, even though I got NOTHING out of them substance wise.

I’m being ridiculous. I’m going to clean out my Google Reader.

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34 Lesley September 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Ha, I feel a little like I’ve been stalking your blog today, but hey, I only discovered it recently and I had a lot to catch up on! Your posts are really funny!

I haven’t fallen into the trap of reading blogs of people I don’t like. I’d say I don’t understand it, but I watched the entire 1st season of Rock of Love even though I thought almost everyone was crazy. In fact I think that was the novelty…what the hell are these women gonna do next? I’m not sure if that’s the same thing or not, lol.

Oh, and I have Facebook stalked an ex-boyfriend. Who I wouldn’t ever want to date again. !? Yeah, that was pretty dumb.

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35 Carla in Sydney September 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm

This post really makes sense to me. I spend so much time on facebook that it often gets in the way of my “real life”. Sometimes “facebook stalking” makes me feel upset because I see how successful/happy everybody else seems and I feel like a failure. What people post on “fakebook” is not always the reality of their situation and I really need to be more mindful of that. I find that when I “stalk” it only serves to make me feel bad. I never read blogs of people I don’t like though! As God as my witness I shall never stalk again!!!!…….

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36 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write September 2, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Oh hell ya. *Shakes fist in air.*

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37 NiftyEats September 3, 2010 at 12:15 am

I know ppl who ”hate follow” which is weird and crazy. I try to not blog stalk, but I do love reading the advetures of some of my fav bloggers and their shananigans, plus they make me laugh.

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38 Kendra September 3, 2010 at 12:27 am

This post seems to have hit a nerve in the female anatomy. I used to hate follow in other ways before I entered the blogosphere but I just don’t have the time or the energy for it. I bring the same enthusiasm to getting pissed off that I do to everything else in life and I’d like to save my angry energy for things that really suck and deserve my venom. Some things really do.

Admittedly, though, even if I don’t hate follow I’m pretty quick to jump on some shit when it’s brought to my attention.

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39 Heather September 3, 2010 at 9:40 am

Ha, had a friend who would do the same thing with Facebook as Mel. She was the ULTIMATE stalker. I can’t even get into it without making her sound like a total creeper, but everyone came to her if they needed FB dirt on an ex or his new GF. Anyway, I found out pretty quickly in college that finding certain things out via FB stung like …well, a lot. As soon as I found out that you could block things from showing on your minifeed, I was alll over that. I clicked ‘Do Not Show’ for exes, boys I just used to have massive crushes on, girls and guys that annoyed me, and those damn Farmville updates. My FB life has been MUCH more pleasant, and I don’t get quite as snarky online.

Yet again, awesome post, Rach!

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40 Mel September 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Haha maybe your friend and I should a business :)

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41 Liz @ Blog is the New Black September 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Ahhhhhh, such great points in this post!!!!

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42 zenlizzie September 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I love this. I am guilty of stalking girls who throw themselves at my boyfriend, but our relationship is far from perfect and I think if it were perfect then I probably wouldn’t do it. I can admit that. It makes me more crazy than anything.
I try very very very hard not to read blogs from people I hate or look at their facebook or twitter or anything. 9 times out of 10 it reminds me why I don’t like them, and I don’t need a reminder. And, usually only good shit is happening to them, and that doesn’t make me feel any better.
I hate when bloggers I try to avoid seem to pop up everywhere though. I have considered unfollowing people for constantly RT-ing bloggers I can’t stand.

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43 Rachel September 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I HATE when obnoxious people are RTd all the time — I seriously feel you on that!!

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44 Jessica @ The Process of Healing September 4, 2010 at 12:20 am

How much do I love this post?! And I’ll be the first to admit, I’m guilty of FB stalking an ex who I just can’t let go of for some reason… yet I know, I KNOW it does me NO good. Only harm. It’s a sick, twisted thing, that facebook stalking.

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