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Mixed Messages

Last month, we heard about the trouble with “sexting.” Now, funny tales of what happens when the milder ones end up in the wrong inbox.

by Susan Reinhardt . photo by Rimas Zailskas

Last month we talked about sexting, sending racy texts that end up being viewed by folks they aren’t intended for. Nothing more embarrassing, right? Well, milder mis-texting can create its own drama.

My friend Porter was awakened a few weeks ago by the ring tone his phone delivers when a text arrives. “I sleepily grabbed the phone, pushed the message inbox button and read: ‘Tonite was awesome Baby. I love you.’ “Sounds great, right?” he says. “Unfortunately, I remembered that I had spent the evening watching the Red Sox, eating Cheetos, drinking Blue Moon beer and falling asleep on the couch. All by myself.”

When he checked his phone again and saw that it was from his 17-year-old son, he realized the text was obviously meant for his son’s beautiful girlfriend. When he asked his son about it the next day, he got only a look that said: “Eat your heart out, Dad.”

One of our readers, April Shamel, said her fancy phone put her in a tight spot at the office. When she opens a text while composing another text, the Android operating system on her “smartphone” automatically cuts and pastes the old text into a new one for the new receiver. “I learned this when typing a heartfelt piece of advice to a friend trying to leave his abusive girlfriend,” she says. “Before I finished and sent it, I opened a text from my supervisor who was inquiring whether I wanted to keep a problem client. I answered, ‘No,’ in addition to my paragraph discussing the ways out of an abusive relationship. My supervisor responded: ‘Deep.’ Fortunately, we are personal enough with each other that I could easily explain and we both laughed it off.”

Liz Miller’s blunder takes the prize for making a person’s cheeks flame with shame.

She writes: “My college roommate and I were about to leave school to take a weekend back in Asheville (where we’re both from), and she was driving. She had gone out the night before, and I guess had not showered and was stinkin’ pretty bad. I was writing a text about having to drive four hours with that smell—to my boyfriend at the time—but instead, accidentally sent it to her. She read it right before we got in the car. One of the most super awkward car rides ever!”

I called Verizon’s media spokesperson, Karen Schultz, and she advised texters to take their time. And double check the number. “You have to be really careful,” she says. “Once the information is sent, it can’t be taken back.”

Josh Gelinas at AT&T shared similar advice for texters. “Sending information via text is a convenient and quick way to communicate, especially when you just want to provide someone a quick update or ask a simple question,” he said. “It’s best, though, to take your time when sending texts to ensure you’re sending it to the right person. It’s also a good idea to re-read what you’ve typed to make sure it is accurate.”

My friend Shelly Bussa recalled a recent ding on her phone from someone she knew about as well as George Clooney. “It was from a number that I didn’t know,” she says. “So I called them back to tell them they’d misfired on their message. The man nearly died and kept asking to make sure I was deleting it. I was so irritated by it I just said, ‘It’s mine now to do with as I please,’ and hung up.”

For my part, I think we need phones with much bigger keypads. Or fingers as slender as swizzle sticks.

Send your love and relationship questions to Susan Reinhardt at susan@susanreinhardt.com. Remember: your identity is safe with us. We won’t use your name, and we’ll only publish the details you say are okay to run.

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 10:51PM by Registered CommenterVerve-acious | CommentsPost a Comment

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