Restraining order protocol

A female friend of mine (more of an acquaintance, really) once said that she’d like to take out a restraining order against this fella she was dating. They had a date to attend a wedding together, but a few days beforehand, she chose to back out. Unfortunately, she decided to communicat e this by not returning his phone calls, which caused lots of problems.

Y’see, he kept calling and calling. I’m guessing that’s because they already had a date arranged, and because she didn’t tell him that she wanted to cancel. The gal eventually got sick of his calls, and so she considered taking out a restraining order.

This got me thinking. Can one reasonably obtain a restraining order in such circumstances? There was no threat of violence or misconduct involved, so this doesn’t seem reasonable. Heck, if I were the gal, I would just speak to the guy and explain that I didn’t want to see him anymore!

IANAL, etc.

In this case it sounds like a disgruntled boyfriend who is trying to get the woman to communicate with him, and yes, she could be more direct about it with him.

Generally speaking, however, if a pattern of phone harassment constitutes a perceived threat to someone’s well-being, a restraining order could be justified. In states with stalking laws, this kind of behavior over time could be the basis for an order. Audiotapes of calls, answering machine messages, etc., can substantiate a stalking complaint and subsequent restraining order.

I don’t know enough about the situation, but from what my acquaintance said, that probably is the case. (Needless to say, I’m rather disappointed in her conduct. Grown adults shouldn’t act that way!)

So what consitutes “phone harassment” or a “perceived threat”? Surely repeated calls aren’t enough to justify accusations of harassment or threat – not unless the woman had already ordered this guy to stop calling. (And from what she told me, she didn’t.)

Heck, if all it takes is for the woman to “perceive” some threat, then I think something’s seriously wrong with the system.

I’m pretty sure this guy didn’t leave any incriminating messages other than “We need to talk” or “Why didn’t you show up?” Heck, the gal was lying to this fella, saying things like “I’ll talk to you at noon” and then refusing to answer the phone.