Carolyn was thrilled to see a new message from Mark, the great guy she met last weekend at Whiskey Soda Lounge. He was tall, funny—even had a real job for once! He was the kind of guy she was always telling friends was “her type” but was starting to think didn’t actually exist. She knew not to get her hopes about hearing from him, but here he was, texting her only days later.
Then she read the message. “Cant stop thinkin bout last nite,” it said in all its misspelled glory. At first Carolyn (names have been changed to protect the shy) was confused. Hadn’t she met him on Saturday night? Then she started making excuses for him. “Oh, it must have been a typo.” But, finally, she accepted the truth: he had texted her by mistake.
The Mistake Text is an all too common occurrence in dating. We chat with so many people (both online and off) that it can be hard to remember just exactly who is who sometimes. But it only takes one Mistake Text to ruin a possible romance.
The good news is that this can be easily avoided by just staying organized. First, it is important to save a new number as soon as possible. When someone gives you their contacts, be sure to enter their name—first and last if possible—so you can keep track of who is who. We’ve all confused two random strings of numbers just because they both start with the same area code and your only text history is “Hi!” Even if you’re a little distracted (or a few drinks in) when out at the bar, saving the number to your contacts upon first contact will save you from making some blunders.
But what if you don’t remember which person goes with which name? It might sound insensitive, but it is a common problem when actively meeting new people. You learn so much about a person but don’t always associate the conversation with the name. Sure, the contact is saved as “Sara” but which Sara are we talking about? A Mistake Text is still possible even when a number is stored in your contacts.
To avoid this Amy, 26, divides her contacts into different groups in her address book. She creates a group for “Friends,” a group for “Professional,” and a group for “Boys.” She uses the later to keep track of potential dates so as not to confuse them. “You can figure out who they actually are when you connect them to certain things,” she explains.
Justin, 32, uses the association method in a slightly different manner. Rather than saving his contacts to groups, he includes a short explanation in the contact name itself. “John Ritz,” one contact might say, indicating which bar he met John through. “Evan tease hot frat columbia,” provides him with a rather amusing way to remember not only Evan’s number, but everything else he needs to know about him. “I also put ‘Call’ after a name as a reminder to follow up because I thought they were hot and ‘Erase’ for the opposite,” he adds.
Even with these contact-saving tips, a Mistake Text is still possible. For those especially prone to Mistake Texts, try a different SMS app like Inbox. The app features an “Undo” function that lets you delete a message off a recipient’s phone after you’ve sent it. “If the other person hasn’t seen the message yet, they never will. If they’re currently looking at the message, they will see it disappear off their screen,” says Hani Shabsigh, the Chief Technical Officer of Inbox. You’ll have to replace your native SMS app (like iMessage on iPhone) but you’ll never have to explain to Ashley why you thought your date was Wednesday at Meatball Shop and not Thursday at Rye ever again.
Benjamin Solomon is a freelance writer based in New York City. He was most recently the Editor-in-Chief of Next Magazine. He has contributed to Vanity Fair, Playbill, Details, Out Magazine, Time Out New York, Today.com and has appeared on Biography Channel, East Village Radio and in Wallpaper magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @benjaminsolomon.