The Art of Answering a Wrong Number


It’s all too common that I get a wrong number calling my phone these days. The problem is, my phone number (area code excluded) is the same as the area code of a big college town + the first four digits of a common phone number. If that’s confusing, then here’s how it looks on paper (with fake examples of course.)

My number: (212) 895-4801

College Number: (895) 480-1xxx

It’s seems as though the age of the cell phone has left people oblivious to the fact that they still need to dial a 1 before the area code when calling from a landline. This happens a lot.

I used to get aggravated with wrong numbers. Particularly when they would call back two or three times in a row. After all, it’s not uncommon to have a threshold for stupidity, is it? Even worse, I’ve seen people with such short fuses that on the first call they will just say “Wrong Number!” and hang up, not even giving the other person the opportunity to find their mistake. Of course only moments later they are greeted with the same person calling them again, and act as if they’ve been wronged some how!

Well a while ago, in a fit of self amusement, I decided to handle things a bit differently. After all, what is life for if not for having fun?

I was commonly getting phone calls from women and upon answering, they would ask “Is this Tammy?” (Or any woman’s name for that matter.) Now, I’m not going to go into the special kind of circumstances required for a person to think that a man answering the phone (and with quite a manly voice, if I do say so myself) might be a woman. No, that’s beyond my comprehension. However, after a few of these candid phone calls I finally decided it was time to take a stand!

So I responded. “Yes, this is Tammy.”

I was greeted with a pause on the other end, then finally, laughter. We both laughed about it for a moment, said a few words and then parted ways.

However, the impact this had was great. It left a positive imprint on my day, even lifted my mood a bit. I’ll bet it did the same for her, and I’m sure even “Tammy” got a funny story out of it.

Ever since then, I’ve decided that a wrong number is not an interruption, but an opportunity to have a little enjoyment during the day. A chance to amuse myself, and maybe even the caller in the process.

My favorite remains saying “yes this is (woman’s name)”, because the responses I get to that one are all over the map. Sometimes it’s truly mind blowing.

Other common responses I’ve used to good effect have been:

  • “No but I’ll tell you what, I’m bored so let’s chat anyway.” This often confuses the caller.
  • “No it’s not but do you have a moment to talk about our savior Jesus Christ?” They never do.
  • Sometimes when it’s a man looking for another man I’ll say “Tony’s in the shower, I’ll have him call you when we get out.” Okay, this one is kind of cruel, but the reactions are priceless.

It’s like I said, what is life for if not for having fun? Next time you get a wrong number, don’t get aggravated, have some fun with it instead! You’ll be happy you did.

How else have you been responding to misdialed calls? Leave your responses in the comments below, I want to know!


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