I know very few, if any, students nowadays who do not have a cell phone. Cell phones are at the forefront of our communication nowadays, even within our professional communication settings. I have had this problem with each new phone I get: Someone will text me and their number will no longer be saved in my phone because it is new.
Now, back in the day, this wouldn’t have been a problem. Do you remember your best childhood friend’s phone number? I know I still do, because I didn’t have a phone that stored all my numbers for me.
I first got a cell phone when I was in the ninth grade. I have since then had the same number across numerous phones. I feel it is important to note that I destroy phones simply by using them to death. I have received a new phone about every year and a half since that first phone, each phone slowly becoming overwhelmed by how much I text, tweet and e-mail. At some point, the phone will just stop working, by protest or general lack of ability to keep up, at which time I move on to another unsuspecting phone (sociopath much?). It is important to know that I am a murderer of phones to understand that, when someone texts me from a number I don’t have saved on my new phone, I cannot simply check my old phone to see who is texting me.
When someone texts you with a simple “hey,” “what’s up” or “dearest friend of mine, how have you been?” and you don’t recognize their number, you have found yourself in a sticky situation. I can’t simply reply with “who is this?” That could be perceived as rude, and possibly ruin your romantic chances with that person if they are a prospect of that. So what do you do?
One way I used and have heard of others using to handle this situation is just going along with the conversation until you get enough clues to figure out who it is. There is a high risk of embarrassment with this process. I do not recommend it. Either you figure it out quickly or you get so far into the conversation that it is too late to ask who it is. Imagine you text someone, carry on a whole conversation about how awesome being a Wildcat is, and then, after Text No. 45, they ask who you are. You would be a little disappointed. Similarly to when you can’t remember someone’s name who you work with closely, at some point you have just got to ask someone else who they are so as to save face. I also advise against agreeing to meet this person for lunch or anything of the sorts if you have not figured out who they are. You can see the obvious risk factors in this.
I thought one night I would be clever when this particular situation came to me. I received a text that said, “Hey, how have you been? It’s been a while.” Now, this is tricky because, based on the text, this could be an old friend or a creepy ex-somebody trying to see if you are as lonely as they are. It was late enough in the night for this to go either way. However, I was feeling particularly playful this night, so I responded explaining to the friend/ex that I had a new phone and did not have their contact saved. I then proceeded to suggest we play a game of hints to see if I could guess who they are. They responded with “OK, well, we have kissed.” Now, this didn’t help at all. Especially in the case of deciphering between an old friend and an ex. In fact, this statement only brought more possible people who could be texting me. I regretted my game immediately. After a few more hints, I figured out that it was an old friend. I was so grateful.
Who knew that adding such a great thing as a cell phone would also create such awkward occasions as these? And this is just the beginning of the awkward situations caused by cells phones, excluding, of course, texting the wrong contact in your phone, sending an incriminating picture to your mother by accident, and answering the phone by accident while bad-mouthing your boss. I wouldn’t say that I miss the good ol’ days of landline phones, but I can’t help but think things were a little less awkward without cell phone communication.