๐Ÿˆ
ยป Forums ยป Clients ยป Former freelancer bothering me?
Page options
dbad1ac1
Community Member

Former freelancer bothering me?

Hello.
Not too long ago, I worked with this freelancer on a project. He completed it and I was fairly happy with the end result, but later decided not to continue the project for personal reasons. We parted on very good terms.

He messaged me a couple of weeks after completion of said project, at which point I explained to him very nicely that I had decided not to continue the project. I told him I would keep him in mind if anything new came up that matched his skills. He seemed to understand, thanked me, and I thought it all ended there.

Fast forward to yesterday (about 2 weeks after our last exchange) when he messaged me again out of the blue, seemingly just to chat. I have other projects going on Upwork, so I log in often, and the message came when I was online. I know it might have been a coincidence, but it felt stalkish especially since there was nothing left to discuss. I was nice with him but tried not to move the conversation forward and didn't ask him any questions. He continued to ask general questions like how I was doing, how was work etc. It felt very awkward and made me uncomfortable because I didn't know the purpose of all this. I explained to him again that the project he had worked on would not be continuing, which was awkward in itself to have to repeat. He seemed slightly offended and said that he was just asking me in general. The conversation ended shortly afterward. The whole thing was weird. I couldn't tell if he just had too much free time in his hands or if he was trying to fish for a new project (he never asked directly) or if he was even trying to make advances on me. All I know is that the exchange was uncomfortable as there was no purpose in it.

So I've been wondering: is it typical of Upwork freelancers to contact former employers out of the blue? Is this a way to try and fish for more work? And if so, how do people handle it? I am by nature nice to people, but this has me annoyed. To the point where I wouldn't give him more work now even if I did have something that matched his skills. It seriously felt stalkish, so I',d rather not have to talk to this person ever again. Anyone have similar experiences?
26 REPLIES 26
e_skoldebring
Community Member

This sounds to me like a generally akward person who is somewhat desperate for business and wanted to try and build a nice client/freelancer relationship, but with zero clue on how to do it properly. There are a gazillion freelancers on Upwork...just ignore this guy and move on.

 

Also, "stalking" is a very strong word here...its not like he suddenly showed up at your house. There are people who suffer from actual stalkers who makes their lives miserable, this is not that. 

I agree with Erik.

 

Annoying, yes.

 

"Stalking"? I'm not sure about that word.

 

Just block them. Your Upwork Messenger tool has a simple menu option for blocking any user from communicating with them all. So do your other communication tools - Skype, email, phone, etc.

Hi Preston -

 

I'm having a similar issue with a former freelancer asking me for pictures of myself. I do not see the blocking option in the messaging area for this thread.

 

Victoria

Hi Victoria,

 

Have you tried blocking the freelancer who keeps asking you for a picture in Messages? You can click on their name and then select to block them in the drop-down menu.

 

Additionally: Check this help article for more information on how to report any inappropriate content within your messages.

 

Thank you.

~ Bojan
Upwork

Where is this blocking function? I can't find it.

Hi Melanie,

 

You can block the freelancer directly from Messages. When you open the Message room, click on their name or profile picture and choose 'Block' as shown in this screenshot.

 

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Upwork

You can block messaging, but Upwork is so "smart" to keep suggesting them for future jobs.  Upwork seems to care only about possible revenue generated, regardless of the damage and waste an unprofessional freelancer can cause to the client.  Think about it!

egaruth
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Amr, 

 

I am sorry to hear that you feel this way. I will share your feedback with our team for further review. 

 

~ Nikola
Upwork


Erik S wrote:

 

Also, "stalking" is a very strong word here...its not like he suddenly showed up at your house. There are people who suffer from actual stalkers who makes their lives miserable, this is not that. 


Eric, thank you for this. As someone who was stalked to the point of having to shut down a business and move out of state at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars and a two-year battle with PTSD, I really hate the casual overuse of that term by people who think someone texted them too many times or comments on all of their social media posts.

 

Stalking is a real problem that often ends in violence, and diluting the word this way makes it harder for actual victims to be taken seriously when they need help.

kmunjal
Community Member

I think when any client posts new job and if the category is the same as your previous freelancer have,then when he/she will apply on jobs and by chance he/she can able to find out the same job as you posted, then under that job, there is usually a blue color box there which says that the particular client is previous client with whom the freelancer already worked before, so I think by that he/she will able to figure out you have new job available.

mtngigi
Community Member


Kunal M wrote:

I think when any client posts new job and if the category is the same as your previous freelancer have,then when he/she will apply on jobs and by chance he/she can able to find out the same job as you posted, then under that job, there is usually a blue color box there which says that the particular client is previous client with whom the freelancer already worked before, so I think by that he/she will able to figure out you have new job available.


 

Professional freelancers do not bug clients in this way. You can choose the "invisible" option when you're in a message room, so that to anyone other than the person you're communicating with will not know you're online. Block this freelancer, as Preston suggests.

 

You could use the "invite only" option for your jobs, so that the only people who can bid are those you've invited. I would also consider reporting the freelancer if they continue to pester you. It may not be stalking, but it's also something clients should not have to put up with.

 

 

dbad1ac1
Community Member

Thank you all for the responses. I agree, it's most likely an awkward attempt to fish for more work. I won't be blocking him yet, but if he contacts me again, I will be very direct and will possibly block then.

As for the word 'stalking' -- I mostly used it because he has repeatedly messaged me at times when I'm online (I log in a few times a day, but I'm definitely not here all the time). Not just now but during the project as well, and not for any particular reason either. I just didn't think much of it then as he was working on a project of mine. But thinking back, there were some off behaviors even then. I agree, it's a strong word. I didn't use it entirely literally. 'Bothering me' might be a more appropriate expression. I've edited the title to make it more appropriate.

Kunal -- yes, I have other jobs going. But they're private. I've started making them by invitation only where I prescreen the freelancers I want to invite to apply. Every time I've posted public jobs, I have unfortunately been spammed a lot. So I don't know if he's able to see that I have private jobs. Interesting info though -- thanks for pointing it out!
Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Don't apologize for using the word "stalking". You said it felt stalkish - then it was. You said you knew something was "off" in the beginning, because it was. 

 

I might remind everyone, that cyberstalking is real and against the law as well. They do not always show up at your front door. 

 

 

 

 

 

msublette
Community Member

Hi Christina - Did you close the contract?  As a freelancer, I often check in with clients who have not closed contracts on completed projects.  I usually start with a friendly chat (Hi Chirstina, I hope this finds you well.)  Then ask if they are expecting or wanting to initiate anymore work on the open contract.  If they say no, I ask them to close the contract and tell them to feel free to reach out to me if they need my assistant with anything else. I also tell them they can always reach me again through Upwork or email (if we've exchanged emails) and that it's easy to open a new contract later if they decide they'd need my help again.  As as courtesy, I also sometimes reach out to my repeat clients to see if they have something coming for me before I accept something else.  These are peopel who have projects for me every couple of weeks and who I've been working for for quite some time.


I like to assume the best of people, so I'm going to agree with Preston that this is an awkward attempt at checking in.  He should not have been offended. If you've already closed the contract and told him that you don't have anything else right now, he should just leave you alone.  Don't feel like you have to answer him in the future.

lysis10
Community Member

lol this is so sad and pathetic and desperate. I've actually had this happen to me back in the Elance days. They send you messages like "hi how are you doing?" Like desperate panhandlers but think you're dumb enough not to see what they're doing.

 

OP, just block him and he'll get the hint real quick.

tlsanders
Community Member

Freelancers are often given the advice to maintain relationships with past clients for the purposes of possible future work and referrals. It sounds like this particular freelancer is trying to follow that advice and just doesn't know how to do so gracefully.

 

It doesn't seem like it should be a significant issue, since you're free to simply not respond. 

I agree with Tiffany. There are a lot of FLs operating here with strong skillsets and capabilities in their particular discipline, but no experience on the biz-dev side of things. If they haven't freelanced in the b&m world, worked in a consulting firm, or at least had the benefit of a FL mentor, then they may know what they are supposed to do but be clueless about how to go about it.

dbad1ac1
Community Member

Thank you all for taking the time to respond!

Yes, the contract was closed as soon as he completed it and got paid for it.

Sounds like it's not that uncommon then and that it may even be somewhat encouraged by Upwork. Which is something I suspected but didn't know for sure. I actually think it's a good idea to keep in touch with clients, but it has to have a purpose and context. Things like updates on the freelancer's skills or services on offer, important updates on someone's portfolio reflecting new or improved skills, well wishes on major holidays, all are valid reasons for getting in touch. Just not the idle, purposeless chit-chat for no reason and not even being direct that you're available for work at the moment. Also, much less weird if a client is long-term, repeat etc. when you know you may need to balance their needs with any new work offers.

I will follow your advice and just won't respond if it happens again. I've always been very nice to him, so blocking him out of the blue right now might come across a bit 'double-faced'. Of course, if it happens again even after I've stopped responding, then that would probably warrant a block at that point. Thanks again to everyone who responded!


Christina W wrote:
Thank you all for taking the time to respond!

Yes, the contract was closed as soon as he completed it and got paid for it.

Sounds like it's not that uncommon then and that it may even be somewhat encouraged by Upwork. Which is something I suspected but didn't know for sure. I actually think it's a good idea to keep in touch with clients, but it has to have a purpose and context. Things like updates on the freelancer's skills or services on offer, important updates on someone's portfolio reflecting new or improved skills, well wishes on major holidays, all are valid reasons for getting in touch. Just not the idle, purposeless chit-chat for no reason and not even being direct that you're available for work at the moment. Also, much less weird if a client is long-term, repeat etc. when you know you may need to balance their needs with any new work offers.

I will follow your advice and just won't respond if it happens again. I've always been very nice to him, so blocking him out of the blue right now might come across a bit 'double-faced'. Of course, if it happens again even after I've stopped responding, then that would probably warrant a block at that point. Thanks again to everyone who responded!

If anything makes you uncomfortable, I don't see why you don't block him right away. You seem to be a nice person who does not want to hurt other's feelings, but only hurts him/herself in the process. It's about boundaries, and not having to explain yourself to anybody. 


Martina P wrote:


If anything makes you uncomfortable, I don't see why you don't block him right away. You seem to be a nice person who does not want to hurt other's feelings, but only hurts him/herself in the process. It's about boundaries, and not having to explain yourself to anybody. 


Do you really think that as an adult professional, blocking someone is necessary to set boundaries? What if that person worked in the same office with you, or lived in your apartment building? 


Tiffany S wrote:

Martina P wrote:


If anything makes you uncomfortable, I don't see why you don't block him right away. You seem to be a nice person who does not want to hurt other's feelings, but only hurts him/herself in the process. It's about boundaries, and not having to explain yourself to anybody. 


Do you really think that as an adult professional, blocking someone is necessary to set boundaries? What if that person worked in the same office with you, or lived in your apartment building? 


It depends on the person, in this case I definitely suggest to do it. Some others might just shrug it off and never think twice about it. 

The chance I'm living in the same building with somebody I felt stalked by on upwork are slim to non-existent, but thanks for asking...

I'm not telling anybody who or when to block.

 

But the ability to block people in the Upwork messenger tool is really awesome!

 

I could tell you a number of stories - some funny, and some that are just kind of pathetic - about freelancers who I blocked.

 

After posting dozens of jobs and hiring over 80 different Upwork freelancers, my experience has been this:

The overwhelming majority of Upwork freelancers are really great! Genuinely skilled. Honest. Professional people. Upwork provides a great service in making it possible for clients to find them.

 

But a small percentage of Upwork freelancers are real pests, or out-right scammers.

 

Some people definitely should be blocked - and blocked quickly. And doing so makes my life better.

Maybe he has a crush on you? I have read weird stories about that, not here but in LinkedIn. Some people just don't know how to behave professionally.


Martina P wrote:

The chance I'm living in the same building with somebody I felt stalked by on upwork are slim to non-existent, but thanks for asking...


I'm guessing you're intentionally misstating my point, because you can't possibly have believed that's what I meant.

 

What if someone who lived in your building violated your boundaries by asking how you were occasionally? How would you handle that, with no block feature in real life?


Tiffany S wrote:

Martina P wrote:

The chance I'm living in the same building with somebody I felt stalked by on upwork are slim to non-existent, but thanks for asking...


I'm guessing you're intentionally misstating my point, because you can't possibly have believed that's what I meant.

 

What if someone who lived in your building violated your boundaries by asking how you were occasionally? How would you handle that, with no block feature in real life?


That would be on the range of a friendly response, chat, or invitation to coffee, to going to police for a restraining order, depending on my perception of threat-level. 

yitwail
Community Member


Christina W wrote:
Thank you all for taking the time to respond!

Yes, the contract was closed as soon as he completed it and got paid for it.

Sounds like it's not that uncommon then and that it may even be somewhat encouraged by Upwork. Which is something I suspected but didn't know for sure. I actually think it's a good idea to keep in touch with clients, but it has to have a purpose and context.

Christina, maybe I'm the exception, but I've never tried to keep in touch with clients, and certainly not the ones with a closed contract. I'm also not aware that Upwork *encourages* freelancers to do so, but that's not to say there isn't some Upwork tutorial that recommends doing so.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Latest Articles
Learning Paths