I "met" a guy on Twitter. Let's call him Colleen. (He had a traditionally female name, but not that one.) Colleen appeared to be pretty normal at first. He was a vegan, an animal lover, polyamorous, and very passionate about me. He was a HUGE fan of mine. He was always first to retweet me, favorite me, "like" me on Facebook, and comment whenever I posted a YouTube video. Whenever he wrote to me, he referenced my dog by name, asked about my family, and gave me never-ending compliments.
He asked me for my address to send gifts. I thought, why not? He sent money, books, and stuffed animals. He made little video compilations of me smiling and laughing. What a great guy, I thought. Until one week I was too busy to return his emails, texts, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messages, and calls. This is the true test of a person's character. Don't answer their attempts at communication for three days straight and see what they do. What did Colleen do? He "Trumped" me.
Trumping is worse than ghosting, worse than benching, worse than anything you could do to a person except physically hurting them. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, ghosting is disappearing, vanishing — it's basically walking away without saying goodbye. "Benching" is a relatively new term, meaning to put someone on the "bench" while you date, give attention to, or hook up with other people.
The very worst situation you can get yourself into is to be Trumped, which means the person lashes out at you with vicious personal attacks and insults. Usually this is ongoing. While being Trumped, the perpetrator will try to ruin your reputation with sometimes outright lies or fabrications of facts, stretched to fit their mission to destroy you. There is no way to tell if you have a Trumper on your hands until you've disappointed them.
I had a bad feeling when I disappointed Colleen. He told me he would like to speak with me over the phone. It was weird because we had a very casual relationship, not a relationship in which the phone was necessary. It was barely a relationship at all, as a matter of fact. When I didn't respond to his request, he DEMANDED it. Stupid me, I thought. He might have some good news. Maybe he had won the lottery or had a great idea that I would absolutely love. It was none of those things. When he successfully got me on the phone he kept saying the same words over and over. "We're friends in real life, right?" He asked this again and again, and it frightened me. We were not friends in real life at all, and the fact that he thought that was very disturbing to me. He was little more than a Twitter egg with a default photo.
I told Colleen I didn't want to speak to him anymore and that his behavior was making me question us even being acquaintances. I compared our relationship with other relationships I'd made online. People he'd seen me tweet with, ones he would understand. Certainly he didn't think he was closer to me than them. Not only was I was wrong about this, but I didn't know how wrong I was. This man who I considered a fan and a polite tweeter considered us "in real life" friends, which meant he could get a hold of me at any time, because we were "that close."
I stopped talking to Colleen completely, and this is where the Trumping came in. He used email, Twitter, and texts to insult me, call me names, and lash out in any way he could. He even wished me cancer and threatened to kill my dog. I told my doormen about him and put an extra bolt on my door. I closed my windows even though it's so damn hot right now and it would be nice to feel a cool breeze.
I promised myself no matter how disappointed in someone I am, no matter how much they reject me, ruin my life, or simply refuse to talk to me on the phone, I will never be a Trumper. Because when you attack others, even when it's only with words, you bring that negative energy into your life. Putting people down to hurt them when they've hurt you makes you no better than them.
If someone hurts you I don't suggest bullying that person like presidential hopeful Donald Trump, but rather take on the actions of Casper the Friendly Ghost. But instead of ghosting completely, when you're on your way to disappearing, say a friendly goodbye with three compliments. A goodbye and three compliments never hurt anyone. It's like ghosting but with insurance. I like to call it Casper the Friendly Ghosting.
So for example, say you are a YouTube star with a super-fan that emails you every day. Instead of emailing them back within five minutes each time (because you appreciate their support), scale it back a little. Wait 24 hours to write back, then sometimes not at all. The last thing you need is someone showing up at your door wearing a T-shirt with your face on it and holding an ax.
Or maybe you went out with a guy on a blind date. You know you are totally not interested in any way. Instead of infuriating the guy by ignoring flowers/candy/phone calls, address it head on. This will kill Trumping before it even starts. A Trumper is provoked the most by silence — go and try to figure THAT one out.
Another example is breaking up with an actual friend. A person you've seen in real life many times, someone you've shared secrets with, someone your family has met. I know what you're thinking: Who has THOSE kind of friends anymore? Well if you've already moved on from that person in your mind, don't ghost, don't Trump, don't even bench by replacing them with a new friend. Your former friend will catch on, notice, and probably scroll through your Facebook photos with a dangerous amount of rage.
Again, three compliments and then disappear. "You were such a great friend. I loved going to lunch with you. You have pretty eyelashes. Goodbye!" should work perfectly.