It is important to examine ethical matters where people may consider lines to be blurred between what is acceptable behavior and considered wrong. Not knowing the difference between the two can result in confusion, and even crimes being committed. Stalking is a serious crime, which according to The National Center for Victims of Crime, can lead to aggression and murder. Pursuing someone you like a lot in order to get to know them better is another matter, or at least, should be.
Factors stalking involve
Pursuing someone who does not want to be pursued
Following patterns of behavior involving pursuing someone repeatedly
Upsetting someone by sending them unwanted gifts often/messages/etc
Frightening and upsetting someone via pursuing them
Threatening behavior/verbal threats
Factors pursuing someone you like a lot may involve
Making an effort to be near them/hanging out where they are
Attempts to make contact
Asking them on a date
Finding out more about them
There are some similarities between the behavior of stalkers and people who pursue someone they like a lot. However, the main difference is that the behavior of stalkers is unwanted, and the victim feels harassed and upset. Stalkers can sometimes also be aggressive.
The National Center for the Victims of Crime says that the experience of the victim is important when it comes to establishing whether a crime is being committed. If they feel threatened or upset this is a problem. Unfortunately, it is possible that someone who is pursuing a person because they like them could inadvertently cross the line if they do not restrain themselves from acting obsessively, and do not take the time to discover whether their attention is unwanted.
It is necessary to be observant if you are pursuing someone you like with the intention of getting to know them better. If they say they do not want your attention you must take them seriously, and if they show signs of being offended, frightened or upset you must back off and leave them alone, as even if your intentions were harmless, they are perceived as harmful.
According to statistics, 90% of stalkers are men, and most choose to stalk women they already know, such as former partners. Very few are mentally ill or suffer from delusions. Therefore, even if you are pursuing someone you have dated before and consider yourself sane, this does not mean your behavior will not be considered stalking if the person involved prefers you to leave them alone, and you persist.
This doesn’t mean you cannot make an effort to get to know someone you like, or show an interest in them. What it means is that you consider their feelings and heed their response to your actions.