Please note, I'm a terribly unhelpful mixture of dense and intuitive when romantic intent is even a remote part of any social equation. I also try to be as helpful as possible and I fear this is easily exploitable and I sometimes maybe overcorrect in the opposite direction because I don't want to get scammed. I'm an optimist and hopeful and I try to assume the best about people which, of course, often ends up biting me in the ass.
This started about 3 weeks ago.
I am not on any dating sites. I am on various social networking site and most of my profiles are public for numerous reasons, and will remain so; this is the triumvirate of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Twitter is, by far, my least used social app.
A couple of weeks ago I got a random message from a woman on Twitter that I almost didn't even respond to at first because it was such an odd occurrence. Just a couple of hellos and such at first, nothing deep or romantic/flirtatious. Anyway, I responded and exchanged some pleasantries with her. Her Twitter profile seems at least somewhat legitimate. She doesn't seem to be very active, but she does have followers and follows others and her account is at least many, many months old.
A couple of red flags:
1) She asked me if we could talk via text instead of Twitter after only a couple of pleasantries. I (perhaps stupidly) gave her my number, but I wanted to play this out.
2) She almost immediately switched over to calling me "dear" and "handsome." In almost every text. This was BEFORE she even asked me for a photo or anything. Admittedly, my Twitter account has at least one photo of me publicly viewable. Like, she escalated the romance talk so very quickly. It went from "hi, tell me about yourself" to "dear" and "handsome" and "I wish I were there with you" in the span of a day of getting my phone number.
3) She peppered every conversation with light flirtation with no reciprocation on my part. I mean it was 2 weeks of calling me handsome when I was responding with "ok" or "cool".
4) At one point, she mentioned maybe talking on the phone so I could hear her voice. But I wasn't up for it that weekend and she never mentioned it again. I brought it up myself and she said something about having OCD and a specific traumatic situation regarding phones so she can't really talk on the phone. I didn't press her on it.
5) Her word choice is a bit...off, but not necessarily that off. This could just be me living in NJ/NY rather than a real red flag. See the next point for a possible example.
6) She sent this text in the midst of some random conversation: "I also pray that may God come my way and help me out in any possible calamity in the future." The word choice there - calamity? Do people use that word? Also, this is a super big red flag to me because she is saying this to me. She's talking about God, but she's planting the seed that she foresees "calamity" for her in the near future. My prophetic reaction at the time was "she's going to ask me for money, and this is her planting the seed for that."
***7) She texts me on Friday asking me how I am doing and I tell her and ask how she is doing. She says she isn't happy. I ask her why. She tells me that her grandmother (who she lives with) and who is sick (which she told me at the offset during the "what's your living situation" phase of our initial conversations) needs medicine and she (the Twitter girl) doesn't have enough money to afford it. It's for her grandmother's "breathing." This is immediately triggering for me. She didn't ask me for the money, but that's clearly what she is hinting at, and she said it's $100 - so she threw out an exact number. I immediately fire off the following two texts in rapid succession: "I'm very sorry to hear that. Doesn't her medicaid or medicare or whatever cover that?" and "I wish I could help but I cannot at this time."
"It doesn't cover this, dear."
"Why can't you help, dear."
"This is very important to me and my grandmother."
I was literally shaking in anger and stress after reading that even though I basically predicted it.
Things that give me pause about her actually being a scammer (in other words, maybe she isn't? This is my optimism creeping in):
1) Her phone number does seem to originate from the area she claims to live in.
2) She did send me photos and google reverse image search did not find any hits.
I'm sad. A part of me is always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt and try to help them out of a bad situation. If I believe her, then yeah her life has been a bit of a wreck and I can empathize and I don't want to be yet another person treating her poorly. But I'm dealing with ANOTHER friendship where I lent/gave someone money and I feel used from that situation, too, and I'm worried that maybe I'm just a fucking idiot that allows himself to get taken advantage of.
Also, to be blunt, I have absolutely no romantic interest in this person. If I had ever had any, that went out the window when she mentioned the $100. I'm willing to bet that a part or various parts of the stories she told me are true.
What I keep coming back to is that as soon as she made that comment about "calamity" (#6 above), I immediately thought "she's going to ask me for money" and here we are.
I haven't responded to her. She keeps texting me asking me how I'm doing and now she's asking me why I'm not responding.
Sorry for the long read. Thoughts?