the writing life

When Everyone Knows You

I woke up to yet another email this morning where a stranger was warning me about another stranger claiming to know me. Apparently, this other person was telling everyone who would listen that they knew my publicist, that I had stolen my experiences from other people, that she knew me really well and knew I was a fraud. I politely thanked the stranger for the heads up and went on my merry way. I’m starting to feel like if I had a five dollar bill for every person who claimed to know me “really well” in order to discredit me, I’d have a nice little retirement account going.

Back before Facebook was a thing, a lot of people didn’t know I was a woman. So on rare occasion, I would hear random people saying that they knew Mr. S. Connolly, and he was a moron who didn’t know anything about magickal practice. Then FB came along and suddenly quite a few more folks, most who had maybe sent me a PM saying hi or asking a casual PM question, started telling everyone they were my best friend and knew me really well. They also knew my coven brothers and sisters, my publicist, my PA, etc…

It’s always interesting to walk in on a conversation about yourself that includes a person who claims to know you really well when you don’t know them at all. Especially when that conversation is particularly unflattering. I walked in on a virtual conversation about myself about a year ago where a young woman in her twenties who lived in Colorado Springs (70 miles south of where I live) was telling everyone that she had met me in person, and we’d had a conversation at length about Daemonolatry. In this imaginary conversation, she found me stupid, illogical, etc… You know, same song and dance. So I politely said hello and asked the young twenty-something where we’d met. Especially since I’m rather anti-social and VERY particular in who I give my personal time to. I also don’t go to parties or events where I talk Daemonolatry openly (unless they’re closed coven/order events where I really do know the people personally), nor do the types of events I go to tend to attract 20-something gothic vampire girls (except maybe the Denver Pop Culture Con, but even then I’m working and as folks I really have met can tell you – there’s not a lot of one-on-one face time available at those events). This young lady was pretty distinctive and striking – and I know for a fact I would have recognized her if we’d met before. So when I showed up and called her out on it, she immediately disappeared from the conversation and never responded. Though I have no doubt she’s probably still out there telling everyone she knows me just because we live in the same state with over 70 miles between us. Perhaps I pissed her off with something I wrote, or refused to read for her, or disagreed with her on something. Who knows. People can be very strange and hold grudges for extremely petty reasons.

Today’s incident was no different. The person claiming to know me, my publicist, etc… really well, was someone who was pushing herself on me in my PM inbox a great deal in 2017. I fended the attempted forced friendship because I wasn’t interested in hanging out with a twenty-something whose life was a mess. I’m at a very different place emotionally and spiritually. In those PMs she kept insisting we meet for coffee. I finally gave in and even planned coffee at a local diner with her once, but she backed out, making me wonder if she was ever in Colorado to begin with. Again, we’d never met. I’m in my mid-forties, married, live in the suburbs, have a mortgage, a career, and my own life and friends. I don’t generally hang out with folks outside my own age group (occult, writing, or other). I don’t have time to party, or be extra social. So I’m wondering where these people are meeting me except in my inbox, where the interaction is usually something like: “I have a question, can you help?” And my response is, “Sure. Here is some advice.” Then there’s usually a thank you and that’s that. Or, if there is any personal talk, it’s all small talk. Like, “I’m fine, how are you? I am working on deadlines right now…”

The number of people I actually DO know is a lot smaller than my FB friends list. A LOT. Out of the 5000 people on FB, I probably know about 300 of those people in the real world, and of that, probably only 50 of them know me well enough to have a valid opinion of me. Funny how it’s never anyone in those 50 people (let alone the 300 I actually know IRL) who are the ones running around telling everyone that they know me really well. LOL  I wasn’t kidding when I said I was an introvert.

So either there’s someone out there in occult land pretending to be me in the real world (doubtful), or there are some people out there who I’ve upset in some way. Either I hurt their feelings with something I said, or I didn’t give them something they wanted. In return, they pretend to know me because they think it gives them more credibility when they’re talking or when they try to discredit me.

I find this phenomenon fascinating and wonder how many times I’ve listened in on conversations where someone was pretending to know a public figure they didn’t know just to discredit that person. It has made me more aware of not allowing that kind of talk to sway my opinion of anyone in the public light. Because if it happens to me I have no doubt it happens to other public figures, too.

As always, if you ever need to check out someone’s story — I will happily share with you if the person you’re dealing with is someone I know IRL, if they’re someone who I’ve only had a limited PM or email contact with online, or if I just don’t know them at all. There’s a huge difference between an actual friend, a casual online acquaintance, and a complete stranger who friends you on FB. Sadly the whole Facebook “friend” designation suggests the people who connect with you on social media are actually closer than they are. While private individuals can pick and choose who they want to connect with, public figures tend to let complete strangers onto their public social media pages, giving fans (or haters) a false sense of closeness. Perhaps that alone is the reason for the phenomenon?

What do you think about this topic? Share in the comments!

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at


  • Soror E.

    Ha, as a fellow introvert I’ve had the pleasure of making a good amount of “friends” on FB that turned out to be truly people that I consider treasured friends, so I do appreciate the platform as a valid vehicle for cultivating friendship. I believe the phenomenon you described of strangers feigning familiarity with famous authors can happen whether online or offline and is not limited to Facebook.

  • Steph

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some wonderful people on FB who have become dear friends IRL over the years. But even then, it’s a small number comparatively. 🙂 You can make some great friends. I just think it’s a double-edged sword for public figures.

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