The Weekly Rant with Gary Patella

Thoughts and ideas on various grievances that are relevant to everyday life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Did You Get My Number?

Since its invention in 1876, the telephone has become extremely popular. Nowadays, the phones that people use are so well-equipped for other tasks that the actual phone feature is sometimes neglected. Nevertheless, the phone is still used for conversing with someone at a distance by practically everyone. We all have numbers of friends and family with whom we keep contact.

All of this is well-known. The concept of a phone number is universal. We all have the phone numbers of our friends and relatives, and they also have our numbers. This is normal and creates no problem. However, many people don't realize that there is an unwritten rule that goes along with the possession of another's phone number. The rule is simple: share it with extreme caution.

There are many situations in which a number can be safely given to someone else. There are often groups of mutual friends, and common sense can usually dictate when it is acceptable to give out someone's number. A common example would be a lost or broken phone. A person that already had the phone number, but can not retrieve it due to a lost or broken phone, would certainly not be a threat. In many cases of this sort, it is already known that the two people are friends and that they've always had each others' number.

But then there is another situation. This is where a person that is not considered a friend requests a phone number. In some cases, it is well-known that the person making the request is not liked by the other individual. But this doesn't matter. Despite the fact that any reasoning or logic would prevent the number from being divulged, a great many in this world will occasionally receive an unwelcome phone call. For some type of reasoning that is beyond my comprehension, there will always be people willing to share your phone number with anyone that asks.

Perhaps these people are very passive and wish to please everyone. Unfortunately, this desire cannot be fulfilled by such means. For pleasing the requester in this case will most certainly displease the recipient of the phone call. I will admit, it is an uncomfortable position. The request of a phone number seems simple enough and it is probably hard to say no. But there are ways around it. If the simple "I don't feel comfortable giving someone else's number away" doesn't sound appealing, there are always ways of placing the blame on the would-be recipient. One way is to say "_____ specifically told me to never give out (his or her) number to anyone." The other method is to say, "I'll give _____ a call right now and tell (him or her) to call you." This way the person can decide. He or she can either make the call (perhaps with the option of blocking the number) or not.

To reiterate, there are instances in which it is okay to give away someone's number. In fact, it is probably okay most of the time. The situation is usually clear cut enough to see that there are no issues. But once the situation is no longer clear, then caution should be used. When the relationship between the two individuals is vague, it is best to avoid giving away the phone number.

In conclusion, people have to learn to stop catering to these phone number requests. I have received unwanted phone calls far too many times. I'm sure many others could say the same. So if you are one of these people that don't think twice before giving away a number, please stop! I'm sick and tired of receiving calls from people I try to avoid!


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