May I make a suggestion?
If you wish to follow a person (rather than a post) - consider sending a Private Message to the person you are thinking of following. Introduce yourself, and say "Would you mind if I follow you in this forum?" and even add a comment that explains why you want to.
Then wait for a positive response before following the person.
I think that this would reduce the unease that has clearly been felt when they get told they are being followed and have no option.
[Hopefully, in the near future, there will be technical solutions. But for now the above could help.]
PS: For myself, please do not bother. I rarely say anything that I feel private or protective about. So you are welcome.