If I Wanted To Talk To You I Would Have Left A Message

Jul 17, 2015


The puzzling phenomenon of people who feel compelled to track down and contact anybody that might have dialled their number by accident.


Yesterday morning there were two voicemails, very angry voicemails, waiting for me. Both from the same irate person demanding that I call them back immediately.

I did. And when the person who had twice demanded a call answered I introduced myself.


"WHO ARE YOU?!" he barked.

"You left me two messages asking that I call" I replied, trying to stay cool.

"Oh, right, I remember now" he snapped. "So who are you with?"

"You called me" I said, struggling harder to stay cool. "Is there something I can do for you?"

"You called me yesterday" he insisted. "Why?"

"I don't know you or remember calling you" I patiently explained. "If I did I must have dialled your number by mistake, and I'm sorry."


"If I had wanted to speak with you I would have" I replied.


Then he hung up. A short while later he would send me an angry text.

Twenty-four hours later I still can't process this. The last thing I want is to spend more time on the phone or dealing with voicemail. I generally don't even answer my phone unless I know the number, or I'm expecting a call.

Instead I wait it out and let calls go to voicemail. Once the phone stops ringing I count to ten, hoping the entire time that whoever it was will not leave a voicemail.

Then I take a look at the light. If it's not blinking it means no voicemail. It's like my prayers have been answered. I'm the happiest guy in the world. No matter how bad a day it might be it just got a little bit better because there is one less thing I have to deal with.

If someone dialled my number by accident and realized it when they heard my recorded greeting I hope they would hang up without leaving a message. I wouldn't want to have to log in to my voicemail only to pick up what is a "hi, I didn't actually want to talk to you message". That would be a complete waste of time for everyone involved.

Then there is this person that called me. They seem to take the opposite view. More than anything they want more voicemail, even a completely irrelevant message like "I'm sorry. I must have dialled your number by mistake".

And, if they don't get that meaningless voicemail, they want to pursue a conversation. They call twice and leave two angry messages, all to force a subsequent conversation.

The strangest part of all is that he was so unpleasant from start to finish – everything from the first voicemail to the last text was unpleasant. Whatever reason he thought I might have had for committing the unforgivable sin of dealing his number it was clear he did not want to talk to me.

So why did he insist, twice, that I call him back? So he could have a conversation he clearly didn't want to have?

He didn't want to talk to me. Unfortunately he didn't recognize something equally obvious – if I had wanted to talk I would have left a message.

Category: Miscellany

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