"Don't talk to strangers online."
That's what we were told. Interestingly enough, more people are meeting online and through dating apps now more than ever. People are smart and safe about who they meet, but that doesn't mean we're completely without horror stories we learned after Redditor higaroth asked "What's your 'I finally met my online friend' horror story?"
Back during WoW'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 asshole 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 more of an embarrassment story."
This is more of an embarrassment story. When I was in high school in the 90s I was active on the local dial up BBS scene. I was friends with someone who went by the handle Venus. I knew she was a woman but had no idea what she looked like. I also knew she was dating a guy in real life with the handle Lord Gumby who was also a friend online. Being a socially misadjusted 15 year old I had a crush on her anyway even though I knew they were both like 18.
This was like 1992 so privacy wasn't as big a concern and they knew my address. This was also when people would randomly come by your house to see if you were home. That's unfathomable today.
So one Saturday morning I'm at home on my computer totally disheveled, unshowered, and just gross in ratty sweatpants and no shirt. I hear a knock on the front door and go open it. There's a woman who was incredibly beautiful standing there and she just goes "Hi! I'm Venus!" I stood there for a minute it seemed like jaw dropped trying to say something when Lord Gumby walked up and was like "Hey doofus, ever met a woman before?" Needless to say I wanted to sink into a hole in the ground and die. But I hung out with them and I guess I wasn't too horrible because we hung out a lot after that. But that whole time I was like "f my life choices!" Haven't talked to them in decades. I wonder how they're doing.
A guy in a forum for a specific hobby would talk to me a lot, but never revealed his real identity. Until out of the blue he suddenly asked me to please come to see him in hospital, where he died a few weeks later.
"Guy I knew..."
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 hep him mov 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 cold 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. Hell, 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 somehow 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 left. He came back to school and got more cringy, not less. I lost track of him after that.
"I met a guy..."
I met a guy online, we really got on 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 (note, 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, 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 googling their names 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 google friends names just out of boredom/morbid curiosity, googled his name and found a local news story from his area, one of those "crime and courts" things that he had been done for statutory rape of a minor, online grooming and had his computer and phone seized as evidence.
"This is way..."
This is way back in the mid '90s. Bulletin Board Systems were all the rage. 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 sex, but I was pretty excited to meet this guy and see if he was as funny and charming as he was online.
Day arrives, 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 never actually met the guy..."
I never actually met the guy, but spoke to him on the phone. We'd met on Myspace when I was in college and exchanged email addresses when we realized we lived in the same town. Eventually, I gave him my phone number and made plans for him to call me. When he did, his voice creeped me out. It was how I imagined a serial killer would sound.
By the time I got passed it and was comfortable talking to him on the phone I started noticing other red flags. Whenever I brought the neighborhood up, he changed the subject. At one point, I asked him what his favorite restaurant on the boulevard was and he hedged, so I made up a restaurant that I said was my favorite. He immediately said that was his favorite too and that he especially loved one of their dishes. He went on and on about this wonderful place that didn't exist (and there wasn't a similar one in town, so he couldn't be confused). I called him out on the fact that he'd obviously never been to my neighborhood. Turned out, he didn't even live in the same state as me.
"I've been active..."
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 rostrum. 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 ollying 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 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?
"Said he was 14."
Said he was 14. Turns out he was 38. My parents gave him a stern "talking-to."
Been offered to be flown out by random guys to their countries / location in the past week. Some rich random guy and some other one. It's f*cking weird and creepy.
The only horror part of the story was not having a happily ever after ending.
Met a guy online. Then became friends with his friends. Long distance. Guy and I break up eventually. I lose my other friends as well.
Certainly more to the story than all that, and this was years and years and years ago. But every so often I think of them, even my ex, and miss them and being friends with them.
"I never met her..."
I never met her in real life (thank god) but when I was 16 I joined a tumblr collab blog about bands I listened to. I met this girl named Dan who was like 18 at the time. She seemed nice enough at first but as time went on, she started getting more and more suicidal. And then, it got to the point where I was the only one from the blog who still talked to her, because no one else wanted to deal with her. She became more and more manipulative as time went on. At one point, I got in trouble for talking to boys online, and would get my phone taken away at 10pm. Every morning I would be spammed with texts where she was threatening to kill herself and threatening to start prostituting herself for heroin. One day I got a video from her, and it was her dry humping her moms boyfriends son. She then cried to me because her mom found out she was fucking her boyfriends son and wanted to break up with her boyfriend. I finally cut her off after months of that bullshit.
On a positive note, I met my best online friend on that page and we still talk to this day (4 years later).
"I had a friend..."
I had a friend who was dating this chick some years ago back in college (We will call him Edward). I remember they used to chat every night and had this relationship for almost a year. Back then, he, a couple of friends and myself included used to hang out the weekends to play video games. He used to always say how this girl (let's call her Nancy) was everything he had dreamed, she had sent him lots of pictures and apparently, she was the cousin of one of our friends (let's call him Robert). Since Robert was her cousin, Edward always tried to be on good terms with him, and often had to drive that sucker around town, do him favors like picking his laundry and other similar stuff. Sometimes Robert was just an asshole, and used to say how he was talking very sweet things to his cousin about Edward.
So, there was this one time when I checked a picture of her and realized that she was actually an old classmate of mine back in high school. Some time later I get invited to a party and I meet with her there. I say hi and ask her how is everything going with Edward, but she doesn't get me. I tell her about my friend and she says that she only met him once and thought he was a nice guy but haven't seen him since, much less having a relationship with him. I started investigatig all these messages from this supposed girl and "she" ended up to be Robert all along. I told Edward he had been catfished pretty badly. He never dated online from that point on.
Roomed with an online friend I met, worst mistake of my life. He lived with me for about two years, with my other roommate @Damsel_Ava , and he was a constant manipulative liar, abusive (he later dated my other roommate)
He scammed artists after commissioning them, stole music by artists on YouTube and claimed it as his own- he couldn't sing, we knew- and even stole the identity (pictures and names) of lesser known identities on YouTube and Instagram, because he thought it would make him cooler.
I basically got catfished. Then the catfish lived with me. What a f*cking mistake.
"Was in the city..."
Obligatory not a horror story.
Was in the city she lives in for a school trip, ended up taking a few hours to stop at a popular mall and get lunch. Messaged her on discord and asked if she was free, a half hour of ditching my trip group later she gets there. It was pretty nice, she turns or to be a lot taller than I thought she would be (we would always make fun of her height). Walked and talked about life and such for about 45 minutes before I had to meet back up with the group.
In retrospect, that was a pretty good day.
My sister had a mentally unstable friend and her friend sent her a number of this dude. The dude would text my sister and eventually my sister entered a relationship with him. Long story short they supposedly went to the same school and so they came up with a time to meet up. When my sister went to meet the dude the friend was there instead.
Apparently this 'friend' had multiple phones and had a different 'person' for each phone.
"I finally met..."
I finally met my online friend, we started to get close, we dated, then he kept trying to pressurize me into sex and threatened to kill himself if I broke up with him. so that was fun.
I think my brain pushed away those 1-2 years of knowing him and 8 months of dating him bc I can't seem to remember any shit that happened during that period of time, no matter whether it is related to him or not. I still can't see his name without cringing and starting to sweat. Thankfully it's not a very common name.
Anyway about 2 months after I broke up with him, I found out he was dating a new girl. I almost feel sorry for her.
"Went to college..."
Went to college, took a year and went to another state for college before moving back. After moving back a girl messaged me from my old town. She chatted me every day then decided she wanted to come visit. Stupidly I said if you pay sure, and she did...and I did not get catfished.
Trying to figure out how a 22 year old smoking hot blonde could afford all that turns out she was an escort. Doesn't sound horrific but I was extremely scared on what kind of hard stuff she did. Pretty sure it was a lot of coke, and what ever else....who knows.
Oh well, didn't have to pay and did not get any drug problems....
"He came to stay..."
He came to stay at my place as we were driving to PAX East the next day. He flew there and was really excited to show us the knives he brought with him. Scared the shit out of us. Turns out he just was really excited to show us his knives and it meant his bag got specially checked at the airport. Great guy, but holy hell were we worried the first night.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.