Since the coming of the internet age, people have been obsessed with meeting others online and seeing how those relationships can form. From pen pals to dating websites to social media, the possibilities are endless! Unfortunately, there is also a good chance the person these folks met online might be who they say they are! Content has been edited for clarity.
"There was this guy in an online game I'd become friends with, mostly through other friends. We talked more and more over time and became fairly close. He had this prick of a roommate and I could hear the guy sometimes, especially when something went wrong during a raid. He'd scream and throw fits, he was pretty awful sounding. My friend told me 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 the apartment and started trying to help him find a job.
Well, he did not want a job. He did not 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 some people and eventually pieced together that his method of securing a new 'temporary' place was playing on the sympathies of his friends to convince them he was in a terrible living situation. It just 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 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.
First and last time I do anything like that."
"This is way back in the mid ‘90s. I made friends with this guy from NC - he was friends with a bunch of us from my dorm, mostly females, which should probably have been a red flag but I was extremely naive at the time.
A couple months in, he mentioned he was coming to our state for a wedding and asked if he could come by our college to meet everyone. It was agreed he’d sleep in my dorm room since my roommate was almost never around. Now, there was no discussion or thought of anything romantic/physical, but I was pretty excited to meet this guy and see if he was as funny and charming as he was online.
Day arrives, the dude shows up. I should mention that I and all my college friends were 18 or 19, this guy was 24. Or so he said. Guy looked like, and I’m not exaggerating, a cancer patient. Pale, gaunt features, long greasy pale blond hair except where he was bald on top, and just generally looked like he was about to die or he was dressed as a ghoul for Halloween. He insisted on hugging all of us.
I was trying to remind myself that looks don’t matter and that he was a cool guy despite his very unsettling appearance. But then, when we all started hanging out, things just got worse. He was asking really invasive questions of all of us, making weird comments to whatever was said, just all around creepy and distressing. I was sitting on the floor with another friend and actively rocking back and forth from discomfort.
I lied and said I had hurt my back and that sleeping on the floor helped, because that night he kept insisting we could share my tiny twin college bed. Nope nope nope nope nope.
Last time I ever met anyone from that site."
"I met this dude on EverQuest and we've played games together ever since. Been a part of the same guild, help each other out on mobile games, and have conversations about life in general. It isn't him that's the horror story, it was his mom! So one day, I log on to do some quests. Suddenly his user comes on and asks to chat by video. We've done this before and there's no problem but after I click to start the video chat, there's his mom, not wearing clothes, on the screen. She asks me to watch her do some dirty stuff and I'm like, 'No lady, this is just awkward and disturbing,' and I log off for a few days. I get an email from my friend and he wants to know why I haven't shown up for quests or anything. So I tell him what happened and he is seriously disheveled. Turns out his mom had been doing this to a lot of his online buddies and she eventually goes to prison for messing with a minor or two. Buddy's doing great though: wife and kids plus we still play the occasional game together."
"I was talking to a person online I'd known for a few years. We weren't best friends, but we talked daily. 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. Didn't give specifics other than that. Most people knew I was an art student at the time (I posted it about regularly on my blog).
A few days later I come home from class and see a message on AIM. '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, and after finding out where I lived, he makes an unannounced trip across the country, tracked down the building where I lived in, and was camped out at the cafe across the street... asking him to meet him. All of this without any head's up.
I immediately felt uncomfortable, and didn't really know what to do. It's one thing to meet up, another thing entirely to make a trip cross country and camp out in front of a person's residence.
I didn't answer the AIM message right away and needed some time to calm down and think, get more rational. More messages started coming through, each reading slightly more hostile than the last. Okay, this guy traveled all this way... it'd be a prick 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 started to get more agitated, more impatient. He started asking for my class schedule so he could meet me outside class, asking where I'd be going, where I usually ate, what time my dinner schedule was. 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, and I'd just miss him.
That's when he said 'That's fine. I can wait.'
And he did. Three days later, he's still there, still messaging me that he's '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 I started feeling legitimately scared.
I made a decision. Rather than meet him, I'd log out out AIM, create a new handle, pretend I never existed at that point. I completely abandoned my LiveJournal and started posting under a new name, and went so far as to change my entire online persona.
I never heard from him again."
"I was dating online, met this guy who was super cool. We ended up texting every single day and I took the train out to Los Angeles to meet him. When I got there, he was being kind of snobby and he told me that he hadn't gotten much sleep because he was partying until 5 am. We walked to his house and when I walked into his room, I was kind of shocked. It was a 8x6.5 room. All he had was a mat on the floor and a small little jewelry box full of mementos on top of his suitcase of clothes. We took a nap together. Later, we went to get ramen and he asked me to pay. I didn't mind. We went back to his place and we listened to music while we waited to go to a party.
Fast forward to that night. We met up with some of his friends and they were so mean to him. They kept roasting him and picking on him and he was visibly getting upset. I stopped him for a bit so his friends could walk ahead of us. I reminded him that it was all fun and games and to ignore them. We ended up at the party and lots of people knew him. I sat out in the patio with a few cool people that I had just met while I waited for my friend to come back from saying hello to everyone inside, but he never did. I was outside in the patio with these strangers for about 3 hours. People kept coming up to me and asking if I was alright. I don't know if I looked sad or if I just looked like a loner.
I went to find him and it was so packed. Didn't see him so I walked back. I saw his roommate and asked him to please tell my friend that I was going to go get a motel. He went to tell him, came back and said my friend was being a prick and he would walk me back to the house instead so I didn't have to spend money on a place to stay. We got to the house and I thanked him for walking all the way back home. I really appreciated it as my friend was probably still back inside the party doing illicit things. I went to bed in my friend's room and he woke me up in the middle of the night kissing me, trying to get his freak on. I simply said no, I'm not interested. His exact words were, 'Are you serious? What was the point of you coming here? You're such a waste of time!' My feelings were really hurt. I went back to sleep, woke up and left. Never wrote him after that. He had texted me a month later asking to borrow $50. I simply ignored the message and moved on."
"A guy I knew in college met a girl online and spent every day talking about her. She lived about 6 hours away, so he planned to take a semester off and pursue this relationship.
He got a job in her town and asked if I'd help him move out there since my car would hold more than he could take on a bus.
I had a long weekend off and figured, why not? A road trip could be fun. I'd drive him out as a goodbye present, and the way back I planned to visit Yellowstone.
Well... We arrive and it turns out he doesn't have an apartment lined up and... He found a job posting in his girlfriend's town, he hadn't actually gotten the job. Or even applied yet. I make a bunch of phone calls and find him a room to rent that will let him move in that day with just first, last, and deposit, even without a job.
I'm tired and disgusted with his lack of planning, but figure it's worth staying the night and trying to end things on good terms with my buddy. Then he breaks down and confesses that he hasn't actually met this girl. The nights he spent 'video chatting' with her were really just him watching her vlog and jacking it. They've never talked. Never texted. Never even emailed. Heck, he's never even left so much as a comment or 'like' on one of her videos. She genuinely didn't (still doesn't) know he existed.
His plan was to hang out at this game shop she talks a lot about until she showed up and some how create a relationship from that. He thought that they'd meet and she'd fall in love with him and move back to our college town to marry him... all before the next semester began.
That didn't happen. Instead, I made my 'buddy' buy a bus ticket for his ride back to school and I left. He came back to school and got more cringey, not less. I lost track of him after that."
"Back in about 1998, I met someone playing an online word game. We were both 16-year-old girls and we just hit it off and became very close. Finally in 2004, she was passing through where I lived so I invited her to stay for a few days. She shows up totally coked up. Then she invites some guy over and they were snorting coke off her car key in my living room. I didn't know she used coke and I was so uncomfortable the entire time. It was like having a stranger there, yet we knew everything about each other. We remained in touch and I still really like her but it was just such an awkward visit. We haven't seen each other since, though."
"I met a guy online, we really hit it off and he came over a few times so we could hang out. I did find him attractive and tried to hint that I was into him (I can't flirt to save my life) but nothing ever happened. After a few 'dates,' he suddenly vanished offline. No social media, he wasn't answering texts or emails, nothing. I thought he'd ghosted me. After 6 months, he reappears and I asked him where he'd been and he said, 'I don't want to talk about it.'
A few weeks after, there was a fad where people were searching for their names online and posting humorous stories they had found about similar people with their name (mine was about a ship that had my initials) and I started to look up friend's names just out of boredom/morbid curiosity, searched his name and found a local news story from his area, one of those 'crime and courts' things that he had been on for statutory assault of a minor, online grooming and had his computer and phone seized as evidence."
"He and I were part of the same forum many, many years ago. He was dealing with his issues and I was dealing with mine. I think we both went there to escape, where people wouldn’t judge. Also, because we were bored.
I’m not quite sure when we got properly talking, I think it’s when he told a terrible joke about kipper ties. We used to share everything with each other, over MSN. I’d give him advice about his love life and he’d listen to all my mess ups.
It took quite a few mess ups before we eventually met up. I think I already knew we were in love but seeing him in person really cemented it. We decided to give it a go, even though we lived 300 miles away from each other.
We had a lot of ups and downs. I was distant, he lived with his ex girlfriend for a bit even though she didn’t have a job and couldn’t afford her half of the rent. The same ex girlfriend who I’d given him advice on, who he had nicknamed 'Trouble' and liked to claim she was pregnant every so often.
We got over that, along with many other things, and finally moved in with each other. I thought our issues were going to be solved when there was no distance between us. Ends up, we were just very different people who wanted very different things and the distance wasn't going to change that. We broke up after three and a half years together.
None of that’s the horror story. Not the way he treated me, not the fact he probably cheated on me, not that I wasn’t a priority and used to cry myself to sleep.
About a year and a half after breaking up, he gets back in touch and we talk like it was in the beginning, when we were friends. After a few weeks, he asked if I want to get back together. I said no. I told him that he’d broken my heart again.
The next day, I got a phone call from his work because I was still his emergency contact asking me if I knew where he was because he hasn’t turned up. The police got in touch, too. The last phone call that day was from his mom, to let me know that he’d offed himself."
"After college ended, I started playing an online game. I was in a group with a dude who I thought was the coolest. He had sold items in game for real world money and had built a super computer. He had a smoking hot girlfriend and had pictures of them rock climbing and doing some other super cool stuff together. He was also like a head chef where he worked and since I was a chef as well, well...I had a little bit of a bro crush on him.
He told me after I graduated that he could hook me up with a manager job and all I had to do was move up there. I sold everything I owned that day at a pawn shop, bought a U-Haul, and started driving.
1 hour before I got there (it was like a week long drive), he called me and told me the job was no longer available and I shouldn't come. When he found out how close I was, he said to just come anyways. When I got there, I was completely blown away. They lived in a disgusting section 8 apartment with 4 other people... in a 1 bedroom apartment. They had like 3 cats, which I'm allergic to, and a kid as well.
Day one it was all drinking and partying. I did not partake, I was not enthused. Day two, I went into the city looking for a crummy job to survive. I got one. It was terrible. Day three, my 'buddy' tells me we're all moving out and into a nice apartment. Week 3, we actually move into a new apartment. The first night in that apartment, he starts beating his smoking hot girl in front of their kid.
The second time he beat her, I called the cops. He AND his girl immediately said I was the bad guy and that they were just 'loving each other...' they had the cops remove me from the apartment.
So there I was, 1,700 miles away from home, homeless at 2 am, standing in the rain with all my belongings.
LARS, YOU ARE A SACK OF POOP AND I HOPE YOU DIE!"
"When I was younger, I met an online friend in a public place for the first time. He was about my age and hadn’t lied about that, so I guess I let my guard down. Anyway, after we walked for awhile, I noticed he had led me down a dark alley with no other people. He then looked at me and said how he really wanted to assault me right then and there.
Right after he’d said that, my instincts kicked in, and I ran as fast as I’ve ever run in my life, until I came to the train station. Here I jumped on the first train I saw and got the heck away from him."
"I used to play WoW with my now ex. Our guild leader actually wound up moving to our state with his wife. My ex and I broke up before we got the chance to hang out with the guy, and right after the break up, he messaged my ex essentially asking if it was cool if he and his wife got me inebriated and took advantage of me. Ex showed me screenshots when I was getting my stuff from his place and I cancelled my plans to meet the guy and his wife.
My ex had been physically abusive and broke up with me to date the girl he'd cheated on me with. I'd tried leaving before but he'd fake suicide attempts and I was so scared he'd go through with it so I stayed. Even though he was in a new relationship, he tried to keep tabs on me and control me, but I saw it as my chance to escape. I happened to move right after we split and he didn't know my new address. I blocked him on everything. Somehow he kept getting information on me though. Turns out the guild leader was feeding him everything, I hadn't deleted the guy online cause I figured he was only a problem in person. When I confronted him over a messenger app, bringing up the abuse, the guy said, 'He said he choked you because you guys were arguing and he was afraid he wouldn't get the chance to speak. He still loves you.'
Side note, the choking was cause I was defending myself against accusations of cheating, which I hadn't done."
"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’s only been one incident I couldn’t cope with.
He picked me up at the airport, which was very nice of him, 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 nostrum. 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.
When I finally looked back at him, he was wiping his fingers across his dashboard.
To this day, I’m not really sure what to think, but this guy spent the entirety of the few hours we were together scooping out boogers and wiping them off on parts of his car or the table or wherever it was that we’d stopped at. I realized 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 dude, but I wound up noping out of our visit early because I couldn’t handle it. I don’t consider myself a clean freak, but as wiping started to stack up, 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?"