In Online Dating Your Phone Number Means Very Little

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A phone number used to be valuable, but not anymore. With all things leading to our devices…the phone number is just another way to connect with someone.

Recently I overheard someone say, “I didn’t feel comfortable giving him my phone number. I suggested we email for a week and I would think about giving the digits.” Why do that? Sounds like a complete waste of time. Your phone number means little these days. It’s just another way you’re instantly accessible. If someone emails you, sends a Facebook message, or a text to your phone, most likely you’ll receive immediately. Stop thinking your cell phone number is a big deal, it’s notText messages are nothing more than miniature emails.

Thirty years ago a phone number meant everything, because it was the only way to communicate with someone. Before GPS and social networking coordinating schedules was limited to the home phone. At that time the phone number was a big deal, but now everything is filtered into our devices. Is it all a convenience or detriment to society? Time will tell.

Here is when the phone number mattered: 1987. A man would get a woman’s number, wait three days to call (trying to play it cool), and leave a message on the answering machine. The woman would probably call him back in a couple days to setup a date. Outside of a phone chat there was no communication. Today online daters get a cell phone number and text right away“Hey it’s me…what’s up?” Doesn’t seem that special to me.

Next, people get into intense textationships, covering all types of personal subjects, often times lasting one evening. We used to have one night stands involving sex, now people are having one night textmancesHey, at least there is no hangover with this option. Do you think your number matters when tomorrow it could be forgotten? Chances are the person you are talking to is juggling other people…it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Texting has become the norm in communication. People hide behind phones attempting to know each other, much of the time cowardly saying things which used to give shame. Let’s make it clear; just because you text doesn’t mean I have to write back. A text is like an email. I’ll write back when I can. If I don’t respond, sorry; I guess it wasn’t important. Some people I write back immediately, many two days later, and others not at all.

You might bark, “But I don’t want to get harassed.” Well you’re already being harassed via email, Facebook, Tinder, etc. The phone is just another outlet. If you are getting harassed, the harasser already has access to you in some platform. Anyone annoying you is probably on your Twitter, G+, Facebook, etc., and you’ll get those messages just as quickly as you’ll get a text message. All outlets lead to the same destination: your phone.

I’m not saying to give your number out to anyone; use your best judgment. If you meet a guy living on a sailboat drinking beer from a cowboy boot, don’t give that guy your number, but also don’t give him your email address or Facebook. Chances are if we want to find someone, Google makes it easy, but it’s up to you in how you respond (or not).

We are becoming so connected that it’s not special anymore, and this is part of the problem…people have become disposable and replaceable. A phone number used to be significant, the beginning of something. We used to memorize the phone numbers of the people we cared about. Now people rarely put in work to make a simple phone call. If you don’t text me, I don’t text you back. Next! That’s how we are. What is the difference between a stamp collection and the numbers you collect in your phone? Stamps have pretty pictures.

The phone number you receive means little, but the effort you make means everything.