So you’ve taken your storytelling artistry, be it writing or illustrating or whatever your indy-flare happens to be, to the masses. You want to connect with people in a genuine way where they will then turn around and buy what you’re selling. Good on ya.
But, what happens when those subtle, yet carefully-crafted, boundaries dissolve, when the connection becomes one-sided, when you’re no longer the one selling, but being sold to? How do you even begin to acknowledge that little ‘ole you has a stalker?
Now, don’t deny it.
Don’t tell me it isn’t possible; that this is only a “famous” person’s problem.
It can happen to anyone. And now that you’re putting yourself out there, you’re going to come in contact with people who don’t understand the concept of ‘personal space’” or ‘taking a hint’. And yet, as uncomfortable as people like this make you feel, you know how crucial it is to maintain a positive public persona.
Here are five simple steps to use to help train your stalker:
Be nice but be brief —The last thing you want to do is piss someone off who thinks they have a ‘connection’ with you. Allow them to talk, but you need to let them know that you’re the one in control, here. Set actual limits to your ‘face time’.
Limit your eye contact—This is an extension of letting them know who’s boss, and you do need to let them know again, and again, and again. If they walk by often and try to engage you in longer conversations, you need to find purposeful reasons for diverting your attention. This will tell them that they need to share your time with other people and for other reasons beyond what they’ve connected to you with (and sometimes it has nothing to do with what you’re actually selling).
Bring backup— Never venture out alone when you’re making a public appearance. Bring a friend or three, a colleague, even your mom. Do it. By keeping the numbers in your favor, your stalker will never have the opportunity to take you by surprise. Utilize whoever is with you to strengthen your resolve on steps 1 and 2.
Never accept gifts—Not even a coffee. Just don’t do it. You need to keep the power in this strange relationship squarely in your back pocket. You might think this person is simply being nice, but just like we’re taught when we’re children, don’t take ‘candy’ from a stranger. They want something more from you than you are able to give and they will make you feel as if you owe them, should you accept anything from them.
Act like Royalty—Arrive late(r) and leave early. Your stalker needs to be reminded that you already know you’re special. Your time is precious, as is your art. Don’t allow him to feel as if he’s giving you this pedestal; you’re already on it—and own it. Be confident in your actions, even if you don’t feel that way inside. You. Rule.
Now, go forth and bring your artistic flare to the world, knowing that you can handle anything your stalker might throw at you. From blown kisses to polite questions to wanting to have someone listen to the sound of his voice, you can groom him to behave properly without him even realizing it.
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