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This Is How A Stolen Phone Connected Two People In Different Countries Who Became Friends

This Is How A Stolen Phone Connected Two People In Different Countries Who Became Friends

If you have ever had your iPhone stolen, you try to get over your anger, buy a new one and move on. Read on, because I am going to tell you how the guy who had his phone stolen became famous overnight in China. The power of viral messages on the Internet will amaze you.

It all started when….

Matt Stopera, who works at Buzz Feed, went to his normal after work drink spot to unwind about a year ago in East Village, New York. Unfortunately, his iPhone was stolen. Matt got over it and bought a new iPhone. However, he forgot to do one little administrative task,  which was to have extraordinary consequences.

One day, something strange happened…

Months passed and Matt had almost forgotten the unpleasant incident. But, while looking for photos to put on Instagram a month ago, he suddenly noticed rather unusual and strange photos in his photo stream. There were a lot of photos of a guy standing in front of an orange tree! He had no idea who this guy was. How on earth did those photos get on his iPhone stream? There were also photos of shops, fireworks and buildings he did not recognize.

He decided to tweet a message about this as it was so strange:

“Um, I just looked at my phone’s photo stream and it’s full of pics of some guy and an orange tree I def didn’t take.”

He soon realized that these photos were taken somewhere in the Far East. Could it be that his iPhone, like so many others, had ended up in China?

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As this was the time The Interview film had been released, maybe there was a North Korean gremlin in the works or could it be a sign?

Whatever the explanation, Matt was able to watch his new iPhone’s owner’s life as it unfolded. He was hooked.

Then, it suddenly dawned on him that he had not disabled his iCloud drive on the stolen phone. That was easily fixed, and he thought that was that, because his new orange tree friend would no longer be able to access the iCloud account. It was over and he had learned his lesson.

The story goes viral.

Matt was astonished to learn that the whole episode which had started with one little tweet about a banal incident had suddenly gone viral on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The Chinese netizens were already on the job.

“ur story is very famous in China now, it has been reposted for more than 10,000 times on weibo(Chinese Twitter) in one hour.”

What was even more astonishing was that the Chinese social media crowd using Weibo were determined to find out who the man in front of the orange tree was and they would stop at nothing.

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“wish u can find him:).ur story are sooo famous in China that all of my friends have known u and the orange tree guy,lol.”

The orange tree man was soon tracked down

“The guy is from Guangdong province, China, we Chinese are helping you look for him on the Internet lol.”

People were putting a romantic twist on the story which amused Matt no end. It seemed to be the perfect story to match the time of the year, The Spring Festival.

The orange tree guy is found!

Then messages started to appear on Matt’s Twitter account saying that the guy had been tracked down and he too was becoming famous.

“Hey bro! The orange tree brother was found!”

As proof, a photo of Matt’s stolen iPhone was posted. The number was slightly different but it was definitely his phone. It was the orange tree man’s nephew who had spotted all the orange trees. Then a guy from Weibo, called Justin, offered to help Matt get in touch with his new friend

“Hey Matt this is Justin from Weibo. We might have found orange guy in China. And now we are trying to contact with this guy.”

A happy ending?

The guy’s nephew was trying persuade his uncle to set up a Weibo account while Justin asked Matt to do the same. They would then be able to exchange messages, at last!

Matt’s first message was:

“Hello everyone! Thank you so much for helping me to find my phone and Bro Orange! This has been such a great journey and only possible because of all of you. It’s a dream of mine to visit China and hopefully get to see Bro Orange and see your country.”

There are thousands and thousands of messages on Matt’s thread and the story has really become viral in that 30 million people in China have read about it! Matt himself is on Weibo’s trending topics.

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Apart from the fame, the best news of all, is that Bro Orange has now extended an invitation to Matt to come and visit him in China:

“Matt, you are welcome to come to our country and we welcome you to our guest house big Meizhou and enjoy our family out-of Hakka cuisine.”

Matt is now setting up his trip and is amazed at the generous offers from the Chinese citizens offering their services as guides and translators. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. Watch this space!

Featured photo credit: iPhone again/ Kenny Louie via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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