Is This Petty? I Have A Man But I Innocently Took Another Man’s Number
Even if you know that your intentions are pure and you’re not romantically interested in a person of the opposite sex, is it wrong to take their number when you’re in a relationship?
I have a friend whose boyfriend took the number of a young woman he met while at the library. They bumped into each other at a cafe and after noticing that he had an accent, they conversed about the fact that they were both from countries in Africa (he is Nigerian, she was from Cameroon). She told him how she was new to New York and was struggling to meet people while trying to balance work, so he told the woman about my friend and offered to introduce them. To make that happen, they exchanged numbers.
When he went home and told his girlfriend about the woman, my friend was anything but excited about the chance to meet her. Instead, she grilled him about why he took her number in the first place. He explained that they just had a simple conversation while grabbing coffee in the library’s cafe and that she told him about her hopes of making friends. She seemed nice so he wanted to help. My friend took it as the woman wanting to be his “friend” and believed the girl gave out her number in the hopes that they would get to know each other better. What he deemed innocent, she found inappropriate.
Is it though?
I have to admit that I’ve found myself feeling kind of weird when men I meet outside of work say, “Take my number” or try to interact with me via message or any other private way as a married woman. I don’t have any plans to do anything with these numbers or to jeopardize my relationship, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. Still, I often wonder what my husband would think if he saw the man in question calling my phone or sending me a message. I then think about how I would feel if I was the one seeing random women’s names popping up on his phone and texting my partner. I immediately feel bad.
For example, one time I attended an event with a friend where amateur and professional photographers all met in the park for a barbecue and “photo walk.” (I referenced this same event in a previous “Is This Petty?” about dating a man who has a child your age.) Anywho, she introduced me to a fellow photog who was also Nigerian, and after flirtatiously joking with me for a few minutes, I found a way to bring up my husband to let him know I was off-limits. He didn’t carry on much further with his advances from there, only responding with, “He’s a lucky man!”
As the photo walk continued, I needed to sit down for a minute. I found a break in between two huge tree trunks and sat in it. The aforementioned guy noticed me sitting in it and asked me to pose. Before I knew it, my girlfriend and a few other amateur photographers came over and started snapping away. It was fun. Things became awkward though when the guy asked me for my information so he could send me the photos. I wanted the images, but knowing that he’d shown interest in me upon our introduction, I didn’t know if it was a good idea. I hesitantly gave him my WhatsApp as opposed to my actual number and hoped that he would keep it friendly (but not too friendly). I immediately felt bad and worried about what my partner would think. I assumed the messages that would come soon enough from this guy would be playful and at a certain point, problematic. I was very much in my head.
A few hours later the notifications came in. It was ol’ boy. What I thought were going to be come-ons and a bad idea waiting to happen were just the pictures he promised, along with the message, “Nice meeting you today.” That was it. He follows me on IG now, but he hasn’t reached out to say anything flirtatious or inappropriate. He was respecting what I’d told him.
I realized that I’d let myself get worked up about something that ended up being innocent when I never had anything to hide or shady intentions in the first place.
I had to come to the conclusion, which I’ll offer to you, dear reader, that the best way to deal with being offered a number it might be best not to take is to be clear about what you’re doing and your situation and make sure the person trying to give the number is clear as well. When the topic of exchanging info is brought up by a flirtatious person of the opposite sex, make it known that you’re in a relationship. Once that’s out there, there’s no need to take their number once you know their initial intention was to get to know you on a romantic level. If they want to reach out to you for something that has nothing to do with romance, an email address should suffice. As for people who want to exchange information for business purposes, there is no harm in that. If they take things to an unbusinesslike level, you know what to do. Cut it!
But in the end, sometimes information exchanges really are innocent. It’s best to wait and see what people are up to as opposed to always assuming everyone is out to get in them drawls.
As for worrying about what your partner thinks, do they really need a play-by-play on and plan of action when it comes to the person who gave you their number? Not everything is necessary for them to know, especially when you know you’re not doing anything wrong and you’re not inviting anyone into your life (or phone) who will encourage you to…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it petty to think you’re doing something wrong by accepting other people’s phone numbers?