We’ve all been there. A guy approaches at a coffee shop and asks for your number. He’s nice enough, but you’re just not feeling it. What should you do? Sure, it’s easy to type in a fake number and dash away. But next time this happens, try responding a bit more honestly.
The other day, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a viral Reddit post shared by an old acquaintance. I met this girl several years ago when I was first dating my now-fiancé. At the time, she was in an on-again-off-again relationship with one of his housemates. She had a personality that was a bit overly cheerful for my taste, and we never really hit it off. Yet, somehow, we became and remained Facebook friends.
I think her intention was to help out young women with their dating dilemmas. She captioned the post, “Every young woman needs to hear this! #staysexydontgetmurdered.”
Taking Advice from Reddit
In the post, Reddit user, daree-to-dream, describes how she thinks women feel when they receive an unwanted approach from a man, “We don’t want to give [our phone number] to him, but we also don’t want to get gutted in the back alley.”
At this point, I stopped reading and thought, “Is the author really saying that you only have two choices: Give out your number, or be violently attacked and have your organs extracted as you lay dying in the street?”
I commented on the post to gently remind my Facebook friend that not every man who asks for a woman’s phone number is a serial killer. Within a short time, a concerned male feminist (when you know, you know) replied, “not every man—but enough of them that it’s not worth the risk.”
“Really??” I thought. Last I checked, women in the United States aren’t being “gutted in the streets” on the daily.
Thankfully, daree-to-dream goes on to solve this supposed conundrum: pick a fake name (“Jessica” is suggested), download the Google Voice app, hook it up to your email, pick a phone number, and set up a voicemail greeting using your fake name. Then, give out the fake number to men whom you’re not interested in when they approach you. The post ends with the inspirational rallying cry, “Go forth and don’t get murdered, ladies!”
At this point I thought, “Wow, that’s an elaborate plot.” Isn’t there an easier way?
The Truth about Giving Men Fake Phone Numbers
1. It’s just plain mean.
I’m betting that most men who ask for your number are simply interested in getting to know you better — which is a compliment! If you’re lying about your interest in them, that’s cruel. This is a human being with their own thoughts, feelings, and fears. Imagine your shy little brother has just worked up the nerve to approach a girl. How would you want him to be treated?
2. It sends a confusing message.
If you give a man a phone number — fake or not — they’ll think you’re interested in them, and they’ll continue to give you attention throughout the evening. In this case, you won’t get what you want, which is to be left alone.
If you give a man a phone number — fake or not — they’ll think you’re interested in them.
3. It withholds valuable feedback.
If you’re not interested in a man, or he’s making you uncomfortable, it’s important to tell him. If women don’t tell men when they’re crossing the line, they may never realize there’s anything wrong with their approach. Then, they’ll continue to treat other women the same way. It’s totally fine to tell someone, “The way you’re talking to me makes me uncomfortable,” or “I need you to leave me alone,” and to repeat yourself multiple times if needed.
4. It holds women back from developing communication skills.
When we tell young women that they need to lie in order to draw boundaries with men, we hold them back from developing critical communication skills. Lying doesn’t empower women. Telling the truth with charity empowers women. Uncomfortable situations are often opportunities for us to grow. Face them head-on, and you’ll be proud of yourself later.
Lying doesn’t empower women. Telling the truth with charity empowers women.
If someone asks you for your phone number and you don’t want to share it, just tell them! It can be as easy as saying, “I appreciate the compliment, but I’m not interested,” or “I don’t give out my phone number to people I’ve just met,” or even a simple “no.” The man may be surprised or disappointed but will likely appreciate your honesty because this allows him to move on. And that leads to him leaving you alone. (Win, win!) In most cases, a little bit of honest communication and social grace will go a long way. Go forth and practice honest communication, ladies!