Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's me.

How many phone numbers do you have saved on your cell phone? A lot, right? Do you save the phone numbers of everyone you've ever talked to on the phone? Forever? Every now and then I go through my phone and delete a bunch of numbers I figure I won't be needing anymore. This has gotten me in trouble on several occasions.

Here's one example. I went on a date early last summer with a guy and it wasn't really a success (understatement) and by around September I noticed his name in my numbers list and decided that since I hadn't heard from him since, and I because had no intention of calling him, it shouldn't be a problem to delete his number. Fastforward to October when I had the following awkward textversation with him (I didn't know it was him since I had deleted him):

His text: "Hey, how are you?"
Me, figuring I could maybe find out who it was through context: "Fine. What's new with you?"
Him: "Not much, how've you been?"
Me, starting to kind of panic...."Good! You?" went on like this a couple more texts until I finally had to say, "This is embarrassing, but I don't have your number in my phone. Can you remind me who this is?
Him: "Oh! It's me, _______. We went on a date this summer.... we went to ______.....we ate at _________...I met you through _______..." Giving more information than was necessary, clearly thinking that because I didn't have his number saved I also had no memory of him anymore.)
"Oh of course I remember you! How are you?"


Then a few days ago I had a textversation in which I had no idea who the person was and which ended with them saying, "love ya" in the last text. Huh? Who loves me? I'm assuming it's a girl because guys don't usually say "love ya." It's too late to find out now. At that point it would have been awkward to ask.

I've been on the other side of this too. I used to have this really close friend, we'll call him Brent. Brent helped me get through a difficult time in my life and was one of my closest friends for awhile. He decided one spring to head out west for school in the fall. Over the summer before he left we started drifting apart in anticipation of his leaving but I still considered him one of my good friends and we got together as time permitted. About a month after he left, I realized I hadn't heard from him in awhile so I texted him and said, "Hey! What's up?!" He responded with "Who's this?"

I was IRATE. I immediately called him and without saying who I was, said, "I can't BELIEVE you deleted my number from your phone!!" He recognized my voice and started laughing while at the same time saying, "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!" He explained that he was dating this girl and was afraid she'd be jealous if he had a bunch of girls phone numbers in his phone. I told him that was insane and that we were just friends so she shouldn't care. He agreed and returned my phone number to his phone, motivated I'm sure by fear of what would happen if he didn't.

This deleted number thing reminds me of the old days before caller ID when people would call and instead of saying, "Hi, it's (insert name here)," they'd say, "Hey, it's me." Leaving you to quickly sort through your friends and figure out who it was from just those three syllables.

But this is a bit worse because with that, if you guessed wrong you could just say, "oh, sorry, you sounded different, must be a bad connection." But when it comes to cell phones, people expect you to know who it is because you have their number saved. No one memorizes anyone's numbers anymore - if it's not saved in your phone, you have no way of calling them. So when you delete someone from your phone, you're basically saying, "I'm done with you. I expect we'll never talk again and I'm fine with that."

Which brings me back to my original question: how long should I save a person's phone number? Have you gotten into trouble with this before?


Anonymous said...

for some reason i always find the crazies...and for that reason i save every phone number for anything and everything. I have pizza joint's phone numbers, my favorite cabby in New York,(why i have no idea because i NEVER plan on going there again, and probably would not if i do) etc etc and the list goes on. The last thing you want to do is delete someone's phone number you DONT want to talk to, and then have them call and you ACTUALLY answer and have no clue who it is.
But there is still that huge desire to delete them from your life, so here is the best solution i have come up with.
I change their name in my phonebook to crazy #1 or crazy #2 etc. That way i see who is calling and i say, i dont know who it is, but they are obviously crazy! It gives the gratification that you have deleted them from life, but they will never be able to get back at you, because they are CRAZY!!!
No you are not allowed to ask why i attract all the crazies, i have no clue either.
-love ya

Vaughn said...

just tell them you lost their do i upload a picture?

Ashley said...

I agree with the above mentioned: I tend to save the numbers of almost everyone, especially the people I don't want to talk to so I don't pick up the forgotten number and have an unpleasant surprise.
I remember when I was younger and we didn't have caller ID on our house phone. I HATED answering the phone and having to decipher the "it's me" messages. One time this guy called me in high school looking for a date, but he had called the wrong Ashley in the student phone book. Awkward...

Melanie said...

I have in fact had that exact same awkward textversation with a guy I had gone on a couple of dates with. He had said something extra annoying, and I deleted him after not talking to him for a couple months. His text started with something like "I'm sorry I wasn't more clear about not wanting to date you but you don't have to act like I have the swine flu." Yeah, at that point, I didn't care who it was, and my response went something like "I talk to who I want to talk to. I don't even know who this is. Oh yeah, I remember you told me my cat should have died."

But, the only time someone had clearly deleted my number was when I texted you, and it really wasn't a big deal. Besides if you needed to you you could look up my incorrectly posted number in the directory ;)

Elizabeth Downie said...

Oh my gosh, I forgot I didn't have your number that time you texted me Melanie. But I don't think I deleted it, I think I never saved it. Which is just laziness on my part and is nothing personal. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've done that way too many times. I hate having junk around, and too many numbers are junk to me!

I think it's funny when I'll get a mass text that says "Happy Halloween" or something and have no idea who it came from.

Sometimes I wish I would have kept more numbers, but then I hate having so many numbers.

I just tell people I got a new phone and had some issues :)

Anonymous said...

I sort of thought your entry today was "out there". My husband keeps his top five in his directory and that is it. I have a good amount, but def not the whole ward list - or similar lists. So I thought your thoughts on this were a bit too much until I remembered the other night - my son wanted to call his friend but didn't have the number in his phone. Her step-dad's # was in our home phone (but we were out) and it wasn't in the three phones we had with us. So I called google411. Long story short - after three attempts to have them look up his number - each and every time I requested - my request was misunderstood and they thought I wanted the number of ..... drum roll..... how weird is this... my husband's ex-wife's third ex-husband. The only commonality between the two names is the first name (a common name like your dad's) and the last name had no similarities. After the thirdpeat I hung up and remember thinking I should always keep the friend's step dad's # in my phone.

Did any of you have party lines back in the 70s? My two neighbors did - that was weird!


Tyson said...


I stumbled across your blog during my morning facebook session and I sent you you the following text today "I cant believe you deleted my number from your phone!!" not thinking that it's been so long since we've talked that you'd have a different number. Awkard. Hope you're doing good!

Christi said...

This has happened to me more times than I care to admit. I always like the, "I just got a new phone and havent' had a change to put all my numbers in yet." excuse. Of course you can really only use that once with the same person.

Sarah said...

I actually have the opposite problem...I rarely delete numbers from my phone, and then will come across a name that does not ring any bells whatsoever. Then, I try to send a really basic text to determine who it is, or call and hope they have my number in their phone. Still, this has caused me - on more than one occasion - to accidentally get back in touch with someone that I had tried to phase out!! :)

Christi said...

Elisabeth, you thought Elizabeth's thoughts on deleting numbers out of a phone were 'out there'? I could not disagree more. If I had to pick one of Elizabeth's posts as being 'out there' it would have to be the one where she kept insisting that Magnum P.I. can pull off a mustache.

Katherine said...

Like most others, I too have had these problems and more. I miss the consistency, clarity, and reliability of smoke signals.

Anonymous said...

Ok Christi, with a little (very little) more thought on this and one fast check - I'll draw two lines in the sand.... or maybe just pose a question for Elizabeth to use in a future blog entry.....

How big is your circle of friends - really!? What constitutes a well maintained circle of friends?
Perhaps a ratio could be found in a small sample here on Elizabeth's blog....

How many phone numbers are in your cell directory? (qualify that with a max - if there is one on your phone)
Let's compare this to ...
How many friends do you have on facebook?
So, let's take Elizabeth for example. She currently has 637 friends on facebook. Does she have all of those 637 numbers programmed in her phone? I hope not!
I think Elizabeth or someone in this blog circle wrote an entry about cleansing their facebook friends - otherwise known as "unfriending". How is this similar or different from deleting your cousin's teacher off of your phone list?

Is your network too big? Are we really dedicated to our network fully? To what extent can we be with 637 bffs? (I'm do not mean any disrespect to you Elizabeth).
I know that when I moved away from so many good friends, my plate became full with a new life and often really hard responsibilities and trials. I still loved and missed so many of my friends, but in order to survive in my new existance I had to focus on the day to day work and after a very long time I'm finally trying to reconnect - but I can't to the degree that I'd like and I have never found the same sort of network that I had back home! I miss all of my friends, but I can only manage the ones that I live with under the roof of my house.

Good topic Elizabeth!

Anonymous said...

One last thought...
Why isn't Magnum PI listed in Elizabeth's facebook friends or groups? Is he in her phone directory? I will be recommending they become fb friends shortly!


Anonymous said...

I keep people's numbers if they've been important in my life in any form. (Visiting Teacher, Pediatrician, ex-friend) If the ex-friend calls I want to have their name in there so that I don't answer. I went to Barbizon when I was 14 and learned that you're alwasy to say, "this is so-and-so" when they answer even if they have caller ID. It's polite.

Also, if I don't recognize someone's number when they text me I'll text back immediately w/ a white lie that goes, "I just lost my phone and had to get a new phone and don't have anyone's numbers anymore? Is this Katie?" or works everytime.

Anonymous said...

I agree this is out somewhere; I love the use of the word textversation...hahaha; love ya!

Anonymous said...

Golllleeee gomer pyle! How many of us just read Fern's statement? She said, "I keep people's numbers if they've been important in my life in any form. "

So, I'd like to know how many of us AREN'T in her phone! I'm guessing I'm not. Does that mean I wasn't important in her life in any form? :( She was important in my life.

Man, I haven't heard the term barbazon in decades. What was it really? Is it still around?


Vernice said...

Please don't disable the commenting due to a lack of respect for this feature......

Elizabeth Downie said...

hahaha, "Vernice" you are cracking me up. ;)

Joyce and Bill said...

I am working on a global number list for my phone. I'm connecting a 1000 gigabyte drive to my phone to contain the list. My phone list is like Hotel California. Why should we ever remove anyone?

Liz said...

This has happened to me several times. People I really care about and I think they really care about me but they delete my number. I feel so so hurt by this.