Texting Strangers

When I was young, I used to think that everyones phone number was sequential like the house numbers. As in, your next door neighbour had almost the same phone number as you but minus or plus one.

As you know, my mobile number is 07919 390145. The numbers that have the same beginning but end in 144 and 146 are, in effect, my “mobile neighbours”

When you move into a new house, it’s normal that you (eventually) introduce yourself to your neighbours. I’d had my mobile number for ages but had never put any effort in and introduced myself to my “mobile neighbours,” so I decided to send them a text.

“Hi. Your phone number is just one digit different to mine, so we are text-door neighbours! Hope you’re well. Don’t worry – I’m not weird! Craig.”

I realised it may be worrying to get a text from a random number, so I hoped to alleviate any fears my recipients may experience by adding the reassuring “I’m not weird” line. I felt it was a point I wanted to make as early on in our relationship as possible, to alleviate worries.

I pressed “send” and sat there, optimistically holding my phone.

An hour later I realised that my text-door neighbours were either out, or ignoring me. I didn’t want to appear pushy to my new neighbours, but I also felt really let down by their lack of communication back. My original message specified “just one digit different to mine.” I figured that it didn’t matter WHICH digit was different, so I decided to change the second-to-last digit by +1 and -1 and text them too.

So texts went out to numbers that ended in 135 and 155.

Another hour passed and nothing.

I had sent texts to four random people, and it occured to me that there may be a few reasons why a response was not forthcoming.

1) They thought I was weird, despite my reassurance.
2) They didn’t get the text. (Maybe their phone was off.)

Later that night, at around half seven, I popped onto Facebook and put a comment on my status asking “What replies would you get if you sent texts to your mobile neighbours, as in your mobile number +1 and -1?”

One “real life” friend (I say “real life” as opposed to “pretend” friend to differentiate between people I actually know and internet-only friends) thought this was a great idea and said he was going to do it. At the time of his reply it was around half eleven at night.

Five minutes later he re-commented that he couldn’t wait and had sent them a “Will you be my friend?” text there and then.

How freaked would you be if you got a text at half to midnight, from an unrecognised number asking to be your friend? Personally, I would be “PROPER” freaked!

Next morning I checked my phone. Nothing. Nothing from all 4 of my mobile neighbours. Disappointed, I checked facebook. Anthony had also been unsuccessful in contacting his neighbours. But whereas I had let it go, Ant had decided to re-text them with “I can’t believe you have ignored your textdoor neighbour. I hope you treat your real neighbours better.”

I guess some people prefer real life.

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