Despite being taught not to talk to strangers online, many of today's friendships and romances start on the Internet. We spend an inordinate amount of time on our computers and phones, looking for relationships we can't find at school or work, but digital friendships don't always translate seamlessly into the real world. Below, people talk about their horrible in-person experiences with online friends.
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#1 Couch Surfer Gone Wrong
Back during World of Warcraft's second expansion, there was this guy in my guild I'd become friends with mostly through other friends. We talked more and more over time and became fairly close. He had this jerk roommate, and I could hear him sometimes through the headset, especially when something went wrong during a raid. He'd scream and throw fits. My friend had told me that he wasn't just loud and obnoxious, but verbally and sometimes physically abusive, too. I had my own apartment, so I said, "You know what, come stay with me. Just long enough to get you on your feet and into a place that's safe."
He showed up at my place with a trash bag full of his stuff and a laptop. I set him up in my apartment and tried to help him find a job. But he didn't want a job. He didn't get a job, either. He sat in my apartment, day after day, eating my food and slowly draining my savings. No matter how hard I tried to get him motivated, he would just dig in his heels and somehow become more sedentary. Eventually, I told him he had to go. I couldn't afford to keep him there. He was just couch surfing.
I spoke to a few people and eventually pieced together that his method of securing temporary places to live was playing on the sympathies of his friends to convince them that he was in a terrible living situation. It worked really well on me because he had that loud, obnoxious roommate to play off of. He wound up calling a nearby relative to come and get him. I think it was his aunt. I don't know what he told her I supposedly did, but I have never seen a more venomous look from someone in my life. As far as I know, he moved in with his sister and brother-in-law after that, but frankly, I don't care where he ended up. He also stole a bunch of my stuff. That was the first and last time that I'll do anything like that.
#2 Snot A Problem
I’ve been active in numerous online communities over the years and have been fortunate enough to hang out with many of the friends I’ve made there in person. There has only been one incident that I couldn’t cope with. One guy that I met online picked me up at the airport and as soon as we got into the car, he started picking his nose. There’s a lot that goes through your mind when you hop into a vehicle with someone you’ve never been alone with and you immediately catch them two knuckles deep in their nostril.
I looked quickly away so that he wouldn’t know I caught him and be embarrassed if he was just trying to sneak one out before I noticed. If he did notice, he didn’t seem embarrassed, so I relaxed a little. I guessed maybe he was just so confident about himself and our friendship that he’d ascended past caring if I saw him take care of a quick boog. Fine, sure. When I finally looked back at him, he was wiping his fingers across his dashboard.
I realized that I was being transported in a rolling booger shrine and that there was nothing I could touch without needing to wash my hands. I was sitting on a crust of fossilized booger stuff. I had to be. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, he was a nice guy, but I wound up ollying out of our visit early because I couldn’t handle it. I don’t consider myself a clean freak, but it was all I could do not to throw open the passenger door and roll myself out into traffic to escape. I still wonder if I should have done or said anything to save him some grief in the future but it didn’t feel like it was my place, you know? What do you even say?
#3 Meme Culture Lives
When I joined Reddit about seven years ago, I saw someone mention my hometown in a comment thread. I messaged that person, and we began chatting. She seemed very cool and intelligent, and one day she invited me to stop by her family's yard sale. I was picturing someone my age (late 20s) who was living alone. Instead, I stumbled upon a 13 or 14-year-old girl and her boyfriend.
They were both so young and nerdy that I could barely communicate with them. They literally spoke in memes. It was like they'd never had friends before. Both of her parents tried to hit me up for money. It was creepy as heck. After I was there for about 15 minutes, she looked at me and said, "Awkward Penguin?" and I responded, "Yup, Awkward Penguin." Then I got in my car and left forever.
#4 She Looks Familiar
I was talking to this girl online back in the day. We met because she made one of those “Which Twilight characters are you?” quizzes, and I was asking for help on making mine. We got to talking and we realized that we were roughly the same age. We also lived in the same state and were only a couple of hours apart.
Fast forward a few months—I started thinking of her as one of my genuine best friends, and we started to broach the subject of meeting in person. My parents, understandably, had their doubts and only agreed to let me meet her if I brought my older brother along (I was 13, he was 18). I agreed, and the girl and I arranged to meet at a museum that was equidistant from both of us.
So the day came, and it was time for me to finally meet this girl I’d been talking to for a solid six to seven months. My brother agreed that he would not breathe down my neck, but that he’d always be within eyeshot. I saw her at the entrance when I walked up, and everything seemed to be going well! After all, she was not an 80-year-old man, and she looked exactly like her pictures, which is really all that I could possibly expect from the situation.
Later on in the day, my brother met up with us so that he could drive us somewhere to get lunch, and everything immediately went downhill from there. This was the first time my brother had really seen her up close, and not from a few meters away, and he got a really confused look on his face. He didn’t react further but stayed pretty quiet for the rest of the drive.
I thought nothing of it and just assumed that he was letting us talk. When we got to the restaurant, she didn’t want to sit on my side of the booth with me. Instead, she chose to sit next to my brother. She said she wanted to be able to look at me while she was talking, but my brother was looking more and more uncomfortable with the situation.
I decided to sit next to him instead. Suddenly, the conversation started to drift from me and her, to just about my brother: what he does for the school, where he works, his friends, etc. I started getting really jealous, and eventually blew up saying, “Are you here to talk to me, or my brother?” She started backpedaling and apologized for ignoring me.
At that moment, my brother finally recognized her. She had been stalking him on MySpace for the past few months, but he didn’t realize it was her without all of the terrible filters, makeup angles that he was used to seeing her with. He immediately got super freaked out and said that we needed to leave. We ended up leaving as soon as her parents came to pick her up, and I never heard from her again. And that’s the story of how my junior high online best friend was ALSO my brother’s weird MySpace stalker.
#5 Feeling Like A Ghost
I was friends with a bunch of people I met through an online game. After about two years, I decided to meet two of them. They were a long-distance couple from two different countries. They had met many times and had spent two weeks together prior to meeting with me. We had met in the city and did some touristy stuff, but they didn't really talk to me.
At first, I put it down to anxiety as I was nervous, too. But even after lunch, they were only talking to each other and I felt left out. I even took a sneaky video of them and sent it a friend, who agreed it was odd. When it was time for me to leave, I told them I had to go but I had a nice time, and they continued to chat with each other. I said it again but received no response, so I started to walk away until one of them said, "Oh, bye." I was really hurt. It was like they didn't want me to be with them. I had spent a lot of money to meet them and at the time I didn't have a job.
When I got back, I stopped talking to them. The friend who I sent the video to sent a message to them asking why they were ignoring me, and they tried to turn it on me by saying that I was the quiet one and that I was being rude to them, especially "leaving without saying goodbye." I blocked them all on the game. But after a few months, one of them found my social media and tried to reconnect. It started off well and then he began to blame me for being quiet again. I haven't met anyone from the internet since.
#6 Get Your Motor Running
Back in 2016, I was whining to my friend Alan about being single, so he sent me the profile of a girl who was looking for a relationship as well. We’ll call her Lilly. She and I hit it off really well. The only issue was that she lived 40 minutes away and I didn’t have a car or a job. My desire to meet her pushed me to do a lot. I applied around town and nailed my first job at Subway. I saved up for two months and bought myself a car.
Every weekend, I would see her. She was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever met. We would chill and do stuff every weekend. I made a lot of memories with her. I remember on her birthday I took her to the movies and my tire blew out at the side of the road, so we ended up just wandering around a Walmart for six hours while I waited for them to mount some new rubber.
It was all good until I had to leave the state for a vacation with my family for the summer. I was only about 16 at the time of this happening so I had no choice. A month into our long-distance relationship, she sent me a message saying she couldn’t do it anymore. I called up Alan and talked to him because I was pretty upset. Five minutes later, he sent me screenshots of her Facebook page and she was posting up with some new dude already. I dug a little deeper and found out she cheated on me after I left the state.
#7 I’ll Be Watching You
So about 10 years ago, I was playing this game called Wartune. It was really hardcore and I met this chick online through it. We start playing together and, eventually, Skyping together. Now I was going through a bad phase at the time and I was really sad and lonely. Anyway, we kind of fell in love. We decided that we wanted to meet up. The issue was, we lived in different countries and our passports didn't allow us to enter each other's country.
This is where it gets weird: I found a job in Greece and moved there. I rented an apartment and two weeks later, she decided to come to join me there When she arrived, she was not what I expected. Turns out, she was actually 20 years older than me and left her son back home. So, I didn't know what to do and just went with the flow. She moved in with me and started to become psycho crazy.
One time, I woke up in the middle of the night and she was staring at me. Another time, I Skyped with my parents only to have her there, sitting next to me out of view and just looking at me for two hours. I got scared and told my parents. They freaked out and bought me a ticket back home the same night. I left without telling her and left all of my things, including my laptop and my clothes, in the apartment. Crazy stuff.
#8 Dull Or Sharp?
A guy that my friend and I met online came to stay at my place as we were all driving to a gaming festival together the next day. He flew over and was really excited to show us the knives he had brought with him. It scared us. Turns out, he just was really excited to show us his knives. Great guy, but wow, were we worried the first night.
#9 May I Have This Dance?
When I was about 16, a girl I was chatting to for a while on MySpace planned to go to an under-18 dance club. We planned to meet up at a train station and go from there. She looked really cute in her photos and I was excited—until I saw her. She looked nothing like her photos. She took catfishing to another level. I still ended up being nice about everything and took her to the dance. She wanted to dance with me when we were there but I ended up declining and just hanging out. She got really mad and left me. After it finished, her mom picked her up from the dance, I never heard from her again.
#10 Taking A Few Things With Him
I met a guy online from New York when I was about 13 years old. He was a couple of years older than me. We talked on and off a lot. I even taught him Swedish. We had a bit of internet romance early on but mostly just stayed friends. A few years later, when I was 20, I found out that he was in Sweden! We arranged that he would come and meet me at my place and if things went well, he could stay for the summer.
On day one of his visit I wanted him to leave. It was awkward, we didn't connect, and he seemed angry about everything. He made me breakfast and gave me gifts, and often walked off alone. It was so weird. He stayed in my apartment for the whole summer even though I told him it's probably best if he left since we didn't get on very well. I worked and tried to be anywhere else but home. One day he just disappeared. He took one of my keys and some other stuff. I never heard from him again. Obviously, I changed the locks.
#11 What A Rude Dude
I met a girl on a Harry Potter fan forum and role-playing site and we talked for years. We really bonded. It was like we were soulmates. Well, fast forward a few years, and she met a newbie on the site; a guy. He was one of those people who got off on making things up for sympathy. He had a whole story about how he was in the close line of succession of the UK royal family, super-rich, etc.
My friend bought into the whole thing. Hook, line, and sinker. She thought I was a jerk for even doubting him. Still, we managed to salvage our friendship, and I stayed neutral. A while later, I flew out to visit her in California and it seemed to be going well. But when we were out at Disneyland one day, I caught her texting the guy and she had said how she couldn’t stand me anymore and wished the trip was over already. She said she would have rather spent the time with him. I was crushed.
We had poured our hearts out together and she was throwing it away for some guy that begging for attention. I flew home and found out that she had blocked me, and we haven’t spoken since. I’m still sad when I think of her, but I’ve slowly managed to think of her less. Eventually, some of his lies were exposed but she never tried to reach out after. I guess her pride stopped her. It's made me a lot less open to new people. I’m tired of getting hurt.
#12 Emptying That Bank Account
We became online friends via the Brass Goggles forum, a Steampunk community, and we decided to meet up in his hometown over the Easter holidays to visit a museum and work on some gadgets together. I didn't own a car back then, so I hitched a ride for the 500-km drive via one of those services where you basically carpool. So I went there on Friday and once I arrived, he picked me up and confessed that his bank had temporarily closed his account due to a "technical difficulty," so I would have to pay for everything this weekend.
We bought a few groceries and went to his apartment. His apartment was filthy and I ended up cleaning his bathroom and toilet before I could go myself because I was so grossed out. Normally, I don't mind if someone doesn't clean their apartment before visitors arrive, but this was something else entirely.
But I was stuck there. There were no carpool options available to get out and my booked carpool appointment wasn't until Monday, so I had two and a half days that I had to spend with this dude. In the evening, I called my girlfriend, who is now my wife, and I honestly cried on the phone because I wanted to go home so bad. I wasn't broke by any means, but what I had wasn't enough to ditch the guy and go to a hotel. So we spent time working on our projects and visiting the museum, which I paid for. I have never been happier to leave someone in my life. I distinctly remember thinking at the time," This is one of those stories that you wouldn't believe actually happened in real life." It felt like an episode of a TV-show where the message is "don't meet strangers from the internet."
#13 A Conversation With The Wife
I met my online friend many years ago by flying into a different state to meet him and stay for two nights. It was weird from the getgo. He said he was married and was known around the Moose Lodge and Country Club, so he would have taken me out for dinner but couldn't risk someone he knew seeing him, so I was basically stuck in a terrible hotel room the whole time. He wasn't the wonderful person I'd known over the internet and his wife finally tracked the whole thing down.
#14 One Ticked Off Fiancé
I'd been chatting to a girl for quite some time and finally ended up visiting her house about 50 miles away for an evening of enjoying each other's company. We woke up the next morning to loud noises, which turned out to be her fiance I knew nothing about, ripping a window off its hinges and climbing in as she'd locked him out.
There was a strange car in the driveway, so he thought she might be in trouble. Alas, it was me that was in trouble as this guy was huge and very upset. I managed to talk him down and explained the situation to then find that she had called the police and accused him of breaking and entering. During the time the police were questioning him, I made my escape and high-tailed it out of there.
#15 Ask For A Photo Next Time
This was about 16 years ago. I, a 26-year-old female, was talking to a guy online and we were calling each other back and forth. He lived in New Jersey and I lived in Massachusetts. We finally decided to meet so he drove to Massachusetts to see me. My friend was working at a laundromat at the time, so I decided it was a safe place for us to meet. After hours of waiting, he pulled into the parking lot in an old, beat-up car with all of his belongings in the back seat and he looked about 50 years old. He was pretty scary and I was pretty freaked out.
I guess he thought he was moving in, which was not happening. What he told me on the phone was that he was a few years older than me. I never saw a picture of him. I guess I was very trusting because everything that he told me, I believed. Good thing I decided to meet him last minute in a public place. I had to tell him that I was not interested and he needed to leave that night. That was such a bad situation.
#16 Tall And Loud
I had a layover in Amsterdam and I met up with a Dutch friend that I had been chatting with on Soulseek, an electronic music file-sharing service, for years. I had the most Dutch experience possible with him: He gave me directions to his work, we delivered a huge wheel of cheese to a church in the red light district, and then got tipsy in a bar. The only horrifying part was how tall he was and how he spoke English. The guy was like 6'7" and his voice was high to match; all loopy and singsongy. It was very hard to take him seriously.
#17 An International Meltdown
I had a guy profess his love for me over Skype. He lived in the UK and wanted to visit me. I live in the States and I had a boyfriend at the time. I told him this. I told him that he was wasting his time and I that I had zero interest in him. He said he was still coming.
Even though I told him that there would be no time to see him, as I had work and school, he said it was fine and that he would wait until I had time to see him. He came and stayed in a hotel for three weeks while I had to work, deal with finals, and spent time with my boyfriend. I hung out with him twice, once with a group of friends and once with my boyfriend. He got mad because he said that he wanted to hang out with me alone in his hotel room. When I said no, he flipped. He said that because he flew over here, I should at least hang out with him. He flew back home to the UK a few days later and blocked me on all social media.
#18 Party Like It's 1999
I met a girl online once. I can't remember where, but this was like 15 or 20 years ago. We chatted for a while and seemed to hit it off. Eventually, she invited me to her house. Turns out, she was having a party with about 30 people. She pretty much ignored me the whole time I was there. I hung out with some cool people and played some Mario Kart, though, and left when everyone else started to. I never spoke to her again.
#19 Not A View On The Can
I met an online friend of about two years in person while helping a friend from school move. We had met on an old school roleplay chat and eventually Skyped. She was 24 and I was 22. She seemed lonelier than I was and spent a lot of time moaning about how she had no friends or money.
She was always angling for me to visit her, so when the opportunity came up, I let her know that I was helping a friend move a few hours away, so we'd be passing through. She graciously offered for us to crash at her place on the way. Turned out, she lived in the middle of this very '50s suburban neighborhood, in a one-bedroom house with no doors on any of the rooms. She had spent all her money trying to live the perfect suburban housewife life, despite being a single 20-something, so the house itself was basically empty with pillows on the floor in lieu of furniture.
She had no bathroom door or kitchen table, but she had an expensive coffee maker and a metric ton of weight loss shakes. She was sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. She never had anyone over, because she barely had friends in real life, so her house was staged to keep up appearances with her friends online, and not really meant to be lived in. We decided to be polite and make do, but the bathroom was facing the living area so everyone could see you. Whenever one of us needed to use the bathroom or shower, the others just walked outside.
#20 Programmed To Complain
He was a semi-famous computer programmer who was well known, respected, and glorified. He lived a frugal life and traveled around countries giving talks about free software. I heard he was coming to my country and he needed someone to host him, so I applied and got accepted as a host.
The first red flag was the email with a list of requirements. From room temperature and humidity to pets, food, and drinks, you name it, it was in there. Despite that, I moved my kids into shared rooms so that he could have his own room. The guy turned up with his girlfriend, talked very loudly really late at night, got up super early in the morning, and loudly stomped about. He farted, burped, and ate his own snot and body bits he picked off himself. He was constantly rude and obnoxious and thought he knew everything. Boy, was I glad when he left. On the plus side, after he left, the kids never once questioned when I said, "Do this, it's good manners." They also requested that the guy never come back.
#21 That New Mixtape Is Fresh
I was on Rainbow Six Siege one day and I got into a game with a really nice guy. He sounded about 18-years-old. We talked and realized that we lived really close to one another! Over the span of three months, we played and played until he finally decided we should meet up. We planned on going to a park with a few other people, and when I got there, he had a completely shaved head and a ton of face tattoos. He started saying how he was an aspiring rapper, which never came up when we played. Only that he was into rap. Turns out that the only reason he met me was to get me to listen to him on SoundCloud. I left immediately because I didn’t want to have to deal with him.
#22 The Tooth Hurts
I met this girl online and talked to her for a couple of months pretty casually. She was a very attractive girl. Then, she started to get suggestive with the conversation and before long, she invited me to visit her. She lived a couple of hours away. I drove to her town and she looked just like her pictures. She was very pretty, very sweet, and fun. But wow, her teeth! She had braces, which I knew, but it was like she hadn't brushed since the photos of her with braces were taken, which was many months before. They were full of crusty, chunky food. It was horrible. I've never seen anything like it and I can't overstate how vile it was. After I went home, she kept wanting to talk online, but I didn't know how to tell her that her mouth was completely repulsive, so I just sort of snubbed her. I feel bad about that still, but what do you do? And how can you not realize you've basically got a toilet embedded in your face?
#23 Have It Your Way
I went to meet up with online friends who I had known for more than 10 years. We ate Burger King in the Minneapolis airport and then our plane was delayed on the tarmac for more than three hours. I was feeling off but just attributed it to the dumb travel delays. I got off the plane some four hours late, walked up to my friends, said, “Hi guys,” and immediately started projectile vomiting. Did not stop vomiting for the next three days.
#24 Looking For Some Trouble
I was visiting the US from Europe and had met a bunch of people I already knew over the internet, most of them were alright even though our personalities didn't always match up in real life as they did online. And then there was this one guy Trevor. Trevor seemed like a good dude online, even though he was a bit impulsive and always seemed to be joking about everything.
In real life, however, the dude was completely insufferable. In the space of about 10 hours he tried to get the number of a Wendy's waitress even though she clearly wanted nothing to do with him and was just being polite because he was a customer. When we went into a bar in the evening, he wanted us to buy him drinks even though he wasn't yet 21. When we refused, we didn't see him for half an hour after which he came back because he had gotten into an argument with another patron.
At that point, me and my friend, who I was traveling with, just laughed at him and said we weren't going to do anything if he got into a fight. We were tourists in the US and had no desire to get kicked out after two days when we still had two weeks of vacation time left.
#25 Is There A Doctor In The House?
A few years back, I got some dental surgery because I was born with an underbite. I remember asking for advice in this Facebook group for people in my situation and I met this girl who I had a lot in common with. We went to the same school, had the same dentist, and it was all perfect. We decided one day, since we had a dentist appointment the same day, that we would go together.
My appointment went great, but hers went completely wrong. She seemed nervous, so I tried to calm her down. When she finished her appointment, she suddenly passed out on the floor. I was terrified—I had never seen someone pass out and I didn’t know what to do. Thankfully the dentist was located inside a hospital and therefore tons of nurses came running to help her.
They started asking me questions and I stood there thinking, “I only JUST met her today, I don’t know that much about her, let alone what her health situation is like, how should I know?!” They got her a hospital bed and I remember being terrified, trying to give her water through a straw. I tried to ask if I could call her parents to pick her up, but she insisted that they shouldn’t worry about her.
Desperately, I asked my father to come to pick us up since I didn’t have a car. My friend agreed to it. My dad arrived 30 minutes later due to heavy traffic. We were ready to go when she fainted again. Eventually, an on-call doctor showed up at our house to check up on her. That’s when I told her she should probably go home and be with her parents.
#26 Do It Yourself
I met a guy online and happened to be going on holiday near where he lived. I pestered my parents to let me go meet him and made a deal—I would walk with him from his job to the train station and then I would be picked up by my parents. He worked at a clinic for uneducated people who had various disabilities. He put in a badly homemade lip piercing made of thick wobbly wire to impress me. He had a plastic leather coat and had drawn on tattoos with a marker. His personality was also sticky and awkward. I called my parents to pick me up immediately.
#27 Waste Of Money
I met a girl online through a mutual friend. She lived about 12 hours away. She and I talked all the time for about six years—Skype calls, games, phone calls, etc. We made a deal that we would be each other’s backups should neither of us find someone worth marrying. Fast forward a few years and I had broken up with a long-time girlfriend and I started to get a bit more affectionate with this online girl. I told her I was going to come to see her and I dropped about $1,000 on transportation and a hotel. Right before I left, she posted a picture of her kissing some dude.
#28 Gamers Unite?
I heard my friend ordering a pizza over Xbox Live. I got his address. I knew he lived about 30 minutes away but never knew where exactly. I ask him if he wants me to come over to play Rock Band. He jokingly agreed and then said he'd kick my butt if I ever actually showed up. He had a history of getting angry very easily. He often broke controllers, punched holes in walls, snapped disc's in half, etc. He would go from 0 to 100 in an instant.
So, I went to his house with two friends. My friends stayed in the car and I knocked on the door. An older man came out and it was his dad. He angrily asks what I wanted and I said I was looking for my Xbox friend. He said okay, went inside, and a couple of minutes later a beefcake comes out of the house. He was not what I was expecting. He looked angry and annoyed. We talked for a few minutes but I was shaking and stuttering the whole time. Then, we left. From that point on, he was much more careful about what he agreed to.
#29 Some Unwanted Plans
I met a guy on OKCupid a few years back. We'd only been chatting for a day when he asked me out to grab coffee. I usually like to chat longer before meeting in person, but I decided he was cute, so whatever. As I was getting ready for the date, my phone kept buzzing and he was randomly sending me selfies. He sent me three or four pics of himself with no context. Weird but hey, he looked good. I brushed it off.
Fast forward to the date and this guy is AT LEAST 100 lbs heavier than what he represented in his profile pics and in the pics he sent me. This guy was a hulking mountain of a man, standing at least 6'4". Not wanting to judge by appearances, I sat down. Within 20 minutes, he was deep into a story about the time his friend did something to piss him off, so he "hacked his email and social accounts and exposed all his personal info online, because he deserved it."
I was too terrified to stay and too terrified to leave. Then, he started telling me about his really nice car and how he and I would be taking it out for the weekend. I interrupted, saying, "Excuse me, aren't you being a bit presumptuous?" He shut me down and continued talking about all the things he had planned for us. I was utterly terrified because this guy was a psycho but I had had enough. I make an excuse to leave and ran to my car. He told me to text him and continually gestured at his phone and mine as I walked off. I blocked his number at the next red light.
#30 A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
I met my buddy in H1Z1 during launch. We have the same interests in games and we were the same age. At the time, I worked three 12 hour shifts a week and he was a stay-at-home dad. We played often over the course of a few years and bonded. Eventually, I flew down and met him. I met his family and it was great—until his wife asked how we met.
She was under the assumption that I had met her husband in person. I said "H1Z1" and a look of horror came across her face. "Online?!" and she immediately took pictures of me and said, "I sent these to my parents in case anything happens." The cringe did eventually subside after a few rounds of drinks and in a drunken stupor she apologized, saying, "I was a mama bear in that moment."
#31 A Prom Disaster
I met a guy online and told him I was not interested in a romantic relationship. He took it hard, but things were normal for about a year. He asked me to go to his prom with a group, so I did. Turns out, he had told them we were meant to be together and were very much in love. He never told them that I was an online friend and that was the first time we had ever met.
#32 One Crazy Journey
I chatted with a girl for about five years. She lived in Ohio and we talked almost every day. Around the four-year mark, she suggested I visit her. I agreed.
As I was graduating high school, my parents sat me down and told me that my graduation gift would be a round-trip ticket to my destination of choice. I remembered the Ohio offer. So, instead of thinking it through, I just said, “I’d like to go to Ohio.” I told the girl I was buying a plane ticket and then I found myself in Columbus, Ohio being picked up by a girl I’d never met. The plan was to crash at her place, drive to Kings Island, and then stay at her friend’s place before going to Cedar Point. Well, we made it to King’s Island on a Friday. That was fine. And then… it got really freaking weird.
After Kings Island, I realized this girl was debating if I was a romantic interest or not. On Saturday, we left for her friend’s house in Cincinnati. I was asked to sleep in her friend’s room in the basement, which was covered floor to ceiling in boy band posters.
An hour later, the girl’s friend’s parents came home. No boys allowed. So there I was, stuck in the basement with no food or water. Finally, at like 11 p.m., they sneaked me out and told me to wander the streets of Cincinnati on my own and find the Taco Bell to eat. I did and it was scary as heck. Then, I sneaked back in. No Cedar Point, but at least I ate.
On Monday morning, the friend’s parents went to work. I got to go upstairs and the girl drove me back to Columbus. We awkwardly spend the night again with her mom inquiring why I flew out to meet an online girl, and the next morning, they dropped me back at the airport. The whole thing was one weird trip, man. Still can’t believe I did that.
#33 Gotta Get Up And Go
Met a girl in an AOL chatroom, so you know already this was like 20 years ago. Back then, there were no digital pics to send unless you had a scanner. Your best bet was asking for a description and hoping the other person isn't lying. So anyway, I asked her age, gender, and location. She described herself well: Pretty, a couple of years older than me, athletic, etc.
We were chatting for a couple of weeks, and then one afternoon I had nothing to do, so I decided to drive my self six hours to her dorm. I spent that time imagining this exotic woman waiting for me there. I pulled up to her dorm at about 11p.m. all excited. I found her door, knocked, and this giant woman with eyes that went in opposite directions was looking down at me. I was pretty muscular, but she had me beat. So my broken-hearted 19-year-old self was six hours from home and had nowhere to go. After some very awkward conversation, I left and drove back home at about 1 a.m.—you kids are darn lucky to have instant pics.
#34 This Photograph Isn't Proof
Many years ago, I had a small group of friends online and we mostly talked through message boards. One day, one of the girls and I discovered that we lived in the same city. We had known each other for a few years by this time, and online she seemed sweet and funny. She said she was a model and had posted some of her modeling photos so I had a general idea of what she looked like.
We arranged a time and public place to meet up and when I arrived, it was obvious she wasn't a model and those photos she posted were not her. She also wasn’t sweet or funny. I think maybe she felt insecure because I knew she lied about her photos so she had an attitude the whole time. The meeting didn’t last long.
So I went back home and told a few people in our group about how she wasn’t who she said she was and, of course, she got defensive. Eventually, she broke off from our group and went silent for a short time until suddenly a few of us were being stalked by an “anonymous” person, who apparently knew details of our lives that only people in our group knew. It was relentless for a while but I tend to change screen names often so she seemed to lose track of me, or maybe just lost interest. This all happened nearly 20 years ago and I still live in the same city but haven’t seen any trace of her since the day we met. I’ve actually met a few others from that same group since then and they’ve all been awesome. One person has come to visit me several times and we’ve become very good friends over the years.
#35 Getting Wrecked In Real Life
I finally met up with several guys from our Guild Wars 2 guild. It was awesome—until we played disc golf. The course was pretty deep in a park surrounded by woods. Most of the holes were in amongst the trees. We started playing in the morning and that’s when things got bad. Turns out, several of them were much better than me. It was horrifying. Hole after hole I was rapidly falling behind. I could see the look of pleasure in their eyes. They were trying to hide it but I knew they enjoyed destroying me. I lost. Badly. We still play games online together. But I’m never inviting them to play disc golf ever again.
#36 Couldn't Take "No" For An Answer
I had a friend online who I thought was really cool. He had expressed interest in me multiple times, but I'd turned him down each time, saying, "I'm not into men." He visited and it was terrible. He hit on me at the gym and dug into my private IM logs.
Shortly after he left, he went on a tirade about how I was a bad person for leading him on, despite having told him that I was not interested in men. When I got a girlfriend, he threw a jealous fit and blocked me on all forms of contact. I should have blocked him myself well before. Jerk.
#37 Straight Up The Block
In freshman year of high school, I felt lonely and wanted to find a friend to talk about things. I only had my sister to talk to but she was very busy. I tried out an app that looks pretty similar to Tinder but is directed to making friends instead. I tried it for about a week with no luck and decided to delete it, but left my Snapchat in case someone found my description interesting.
A few days later and I get a friend request on my Snapchat. I got curious so I texted them and they said they found me on the app. We talked for a day and found out we had a lot of stuff in common. We were both free and I decided to invite her to my house. We ate quesadillas, watched Stranger Things on Netflix, and walked around with my dog.
She left and I thought we had lots of fun, but apparently, she didn’t because she blocked me on both Instagram and Snapchat. At the time, I had no idea about ghosting, so I thought she deleted her account or something else. So what did I do? I spent about a week trying to contact her again, just to ask why she ghosted me. After a bunch of internet stalking, she finally texted me, but it’s not what I was expecting.
She text-yelled at me, cursing me out and calling me crazy because I wouldn’t leave her alone. Clearly, I was oblivious to her sudden anger. I kept asking her why she blocked me but she wouldn’t give me a reason. I even said, “You can never talk to me again after this, but just tell me what I did wrong,” but she wasn’t saying anything. After the conversation went on for a loop for 10 minutes, she blocked me again. I literally have no idea why she ghosted me after just one time hanging out but whatever, I’m over trying to figure it out.
#38 Is He Still At The Cafe?
I was talking to a person online I'd known for a few years. We weren't best friends, but we talked daily. He seemed like a nice guy. At some point, he asked where I was from and I mentioned that I lived in Philly and I was going to the Art Institute there, living in the dorms. I didn't give specifics other than that. Most people knew I was an art student at the time.
A few days later, I came home from class and saw a message on Facebook: "I figured out where you live. I'm outside of the dorms at the cafe across the street. Meet me." This guy lived on the west coast, made an unannounced trip across the country, tracked down the building that I lived in, and was camped out at the cafe across the street asking me to meet him. He did all of this without any heads up. I immediately felt uncomfortable and didn't really know what to do. It's one thing to meet up, but it's another thing entirely to make a cross-country trip and camp out in front of a person's residence.
I didn't answer the Facebook message right away and needed some time to calm down and think. But more messages started coming through, each reading slightly more hostile than the last. I thought to myself, "Okay, this guy traveled all this way. It'd be a jerk move to ignore him." But at the same time, I felt like I was seeing red flags everywhere. I was legitimately creeped out. More messages came, and each time, they were more and more agitated and impatient.
He started getting weirdly specific about wanting to know about every facet of my life. I was getting full-on stalker vibes. So I lied and told him that I was visiting my sister and that I’d be back over the weekend. That’s when he said “That’s fine. I can wait.” And he did. Three days later, he was still there, messaging me that he was “Still at the cafe. Waiting.”
What the heck are you waiting for? Why are you here? Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? My privacy was having huge issues with all of this, and it got to the point where I started feeling legitimately scared. I made a decision. Rather than meet him, I’d log out of Facebook, create a new account and pretended I never existed at that point. I never heard from him again.
#39 A Trio Of Trouble
I played World of Warcraft years ago and played lots of Australians. A few years, after we stopped playing, three of them came to the states for a friend's wedding. I invited them to stay with me for a few days. I think my liver would have struck out its own if it had a chance. Lesson: When you’re smallish in size, never try to keep up, drink-wise, with Australians!
#40 Getting In Her Space
I had an online friend from the other side of the world for several years. I knew he had a crush, but I wasn’t interested and told him so. He would talk about coming to visit someday to meet me, but I told him I wasn’t comfortable with him coming here for me. He said he understood and that was the last I’d heard of it, at least, until my mother informed me that she had talked to him at length and decided to invite him to stay with us for a month. I was so horrified. When I tried to explain to her why that was so not okay, she told me it was her house and she’d have whatever guests she wanted.
When he arrived, it was horribly awkward. He had no sense of personal space and often moved so silently through the house that I’d have no idea he was standing behind me while I did the dishes or something. He’d knock on my bedroom door insistently. My mom then forced us into an eight-hour car ride to Disney for several days, and then abandoned me at Disney with him and my siblings. He always tried to touch me or be in my personal space and I spent basically a month in a constant state of anxiety and stress. I never spoke to him again after he went home, for which I was vilified, and to this day my mother has never once apologized to me for any of it.
#41 I'm A Big Kid Now
I was talking to this guy for a few weeks online and things were going well. We decided to meet up for a date, and I was wary because a lot of other online dates I had in the past were bad from the start. However, at the end of the date, he invited me to his place. He gave me a tour of his home—this beautiful house in LA, which was probably crazy expensive.
We got to his room and I said, “Oh, I have to see how big your closet is because I’m sure it’s the dream closet.” I opened the door and it was a huge closet, but it was full of these nicely organized boxes. I asked him about the boxes. He was quiet for a while and asked me if I had any fetishes. I told him, not really, just typical stuff. He opened one of the boxes and they were full of new diapers.
He told me that each row was a different brand and size. He said that he liked to wear diapers and was really into trying different brands, styles, and materials. He then took off his pants and showed me he was wearing a diaper. I really did not know what to say. I am a psychotherapist in real life, so I think sometimes my neutral response to odd things makes people feel validated.
I just stared at him for a second and thought, why did he have to be into diapers? He started telling me that he enjoyed wearing them to work, around the city, and even liked to “use” them, just to see if anyone would notice. I stayed for like 15 more minutes, but after that, I never saw him again.
#42 Wild Confrontation At Wild Wings
On a break from university, I met a guildmate with whom I played World of Warcraft. When I got there with my boyfriend, the guildie and his girlfriend were intoxicated (I wasn’t 21 yet, so we all met at Buffalo Wild Wings). They ended up getting in a fight with another guy (I never did figure out who he was). I was in the way and ended up getting punched, at which point my boyfriend went nuts. Someone called the police, we gave statements, and he apologized profusely next time he got on the game.
#43 Hold My Bags, Please
My friend and I were huge League of Legends fanatics. We played it for hours after school. We would meet amazing people often and we started talking with these two girls who lived two hours away. At one point, we decided to meet at a mall nearby. We all got there and it was awkward as heck. My friend and I were basically third-wheeling both of the girls as they bought lingerie and talked about their boyfriends.
#44 Satisfaction Isn't Guaranteed
I had spoken to a kid online all summer before we both were to start at the same college in the fall as freshmen. We chatted online with no problems, but never really spoke of anything of substance. We met for the first time about two to three weeks into the semester, after settling in for a bit. I went to his dorm room to chat. During the first 20 minutes of us talking, he seemed a little weird, but not so bad. Then suddenly he laid down on his bed, brought his knees up into the air, and hugged them in his arms so that he could fart. I got out of there after that and never spoke to him again.
#45 What A Mess
In the early 2000s, I was part of an online moms group. I became really friendly with several people and really close to one person in particular. We used to talk on the phone frequently and talked about meeting each other. Me, my son, and now ex-boyfriend went to visit her for a week. Her husband was nice and her kids were cute. She, on the other hand, was a witch.
I walked in on a conversation that she and her best friend were having. She basically was only friends with people if she could benefit from them in some way. Also, her house was dirty. Food was left out everywhere and the garbage was overflowing. I saw a cockroach on the wall in broad daylight. I freaked out and she told me it was no big deal.
When we got home, all three of us stripped down to our underwear on the back porch and none of our clothes came in the house until I could wash them. I found ants all over my son’s clothes when I put them in the washer. I never spoke to her again. Once she realized I knew what she was doing, she didn’t want to be friends anymore.