We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.


The Accidentally-On-Purpose Text Message


The story you are about to read is true.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent (or the not so innocent, depending on your opinion).

It was 1am on a random Tuesday night. Our heroine was fast asleep in her bed, dreaming of sugar plum fairies, or some such thing. Suddenly she was awoken by the sound of her phone vibrating with a text message. She pointedly ignored it.  A few moments later, the phone buzzed with another text. Fearing the worst, our heroine arose from her slumber and reached for her phone.

“Hey baby.” Read the text message from the guy that our heroine had gone on a few dates with about six months ago.

“Oops, wrong person!” Was the second message from the same guy.

Uh, yeah, right.

Aah, the accidental text message. Or, rather, the not-so-accidental text message. Because, honestly, in this day and age of smart phones and smarter texters, is there such a thing as the accidental text?

Since I am nothing if not an amateur scientist (stop laughing), I pulled out my own phone to see if I could recreate this occurrence. I have an iPhone and it sorts my text messages into conversations. The ones at the very top are from the people I text and talk to all the time: my boyfriend, my sister, my mom. Logically, if I wasn’t paying attention, I might send my sister a text meant for my mom, or vice versa. However, if I haven’t texted someone in months they are not at the top of my message list and, thus, almost impossible to “accidentally” text.  And, I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the “well, maybe the two girls had similar names,” such as Liz and Lisa.  If he was supposedly texting a girlfriend, then wouldn’t there be an existing conversation between the two? He wouldn’t have to go into his address book to find her. Consequentially, he could not have accidentally texted our heroine. Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution rests!

The fact that I watch too much “Law and Order” aside, the accidental text really is quite the interesting conundrum. It’s one way to remind someone that you still exist. It, perhaps, opens up a new conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. However, it’s kind of a lame move. Why not just call the person if you really want to talk to them? Why fake a text? Apparently, even flirting has gone the passive aggressive route these days.

The digital age leaves a lot open to interpretation. It’s difficult to read tone, or intentions, when you cannot hear a person’s tone or see their face. Likewise, it’s a lot easier to hide behind “Oops, accidentally hit send!” when your message doesn’t achieve the desired result.

What say you, dear reader? Are you Team Accidental Text or Team On Purpose?  Should we forgive the Phantom Texter or place him in the Hall of Passive Aggressive Daters*?

*Not technically a real thing…yet.


Elisabeth Fitzgerald

About the author: Elisabeth Fitzgerald

Elisabeth Fitzgerald is a Chicago born, Los Angeles based writer. In addition to writing fiction and non-fiction, she also works in the entertainment industry. When not holed up with a pen in her hand or a script at her side, she enjoys Tejano music, vintage clothing and tricking herself into exercising with yoga. Her dislikes catalog a number of prominent ZEROS.

Elisabeth has written 63 articles for us.

14 Responses to “The Accidentally-On-Purpose Text Message”

  1. Anna Keizer November 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I think an accidental text is possible, but it would be a truly accidental text like “xibekdgheteo.” I did that just a few weeks ago and sent a random string of letters to a friend. However, to send a coherent “accidental” text – to an ex no less (why is her number still in his phone??) – seems a little farfetched.

  2. May 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    How do we know he has a smart phone?

    I don’t have one and I accidentally text a guy a message meant for another guy once. The guy who got the message was an ex but the other guy was just a friend. They, happened to have the same name and it was so long since I texted the ex I didn’t realise his number was in my phone still..

  3. December 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    No, I don’t think this scenario really happens. I think it is a manipulation of the ease of text that can easily be excused – wrong number. I have texted the wrong people before, and received random wrong texts, always with an immediate follow up to it. I can be accountable for my mess ups. I am burned by this idea because it is how my ex-best friend tested the waters with my hubby if 11 years. Not cool. Not an accident. :(.

    Thanks for the article!

    • August 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      I assure you it can happen. Haven’t you ever sent a text and the second you hit send you realize you didn’t pick a contact out of the list and the message you just sent happens to be headed for the last person you texted. I wanted to explain my situation about a girl I like to my brother and In the process I told that girl pretty much exactly how I felt in a text meant for my bro… I assure you it appears to be faked but it wasn’t. It was 7am I was at work, wake ‘n baked, attention split and I wasn’t fully paying attention …lol still kinda playing itself out now but it may not have been a bad thing…

  4. March 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Lol I just accidentally on-purpose text my crush. Lol I don’t think he bought the accidental excuse either. Great…now I feel lame.

  5. June 26, 2014 at 7:10 am

    I had a what i thought could be an accidental on purpose text from my ex last week. I have not contacted him for nearly a year. I got a blank text and i have had the missed phone calls before too. When i replied you sent a blank text?, he answered with i pressed the wrong button sorry, and then another text with just “sorry”. I sent one saying its ok . Next night someone was buzzing my flat number but i rarely answer if i dont know who it is!. Well if its him i guess this sequence will be repeated soon. Its just like him, he cant seem to talk about anything intimate or get emotional with me. :(

  6. August 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I honestly seriously DID accidentally text the girl I like… I was half asleep and she was the last person I texted and I didn’t check to make sure I was texting my bro and I sent this girl a text explaining that I wasn’t sure how best to tell her I like her, but I did something for her to get her thinking.(text was meant for my brother) I sent It to the girl, and she no doubt THINKS I fabricated this scenario but I swear to god it’s genuine. Not sure how to proceed now lol we are 1100km apart right now :( is there a way I can drop a hint that it was genuine and I didn’t fake accident text?

  7. April 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    This just happened to me. A guy that hasn’t texted me for 5 months suddenly sends a text and says “just got an email saying class is cancelled, didn’t want all of you to show up” and then says “sorry that wasn’t for you, its not a dream you aren’t in college any longer”. I was the only one on that text. Our communication left on a “off” note, however I have tried to reach him 2x since November with no answer and then this happens. I don’t want to respond because I feel he needs to grow up and actually communicate from the messages I sent prior and not this chicken shit way. I believe it was purposely done to test the waters (trust me I love the guy, but I love myself more) so I am not going to bite until he mans up. Thoughts?

  8. May 5, 2015 at 1:25 am

    This just happened to me. But it was truly an accident. I had an old message on my old phone saying i miss you that was never sent. I use the phone for just browsing the internet. Its usually on airplane phone. It has no service, so I thought. So I sent the message and I thought it would fail…. But OMG it went through. I’m so freaking embarrassed. I honestly didn’t want to send that now I just seem like a creep. WHY ME! Ugh!

  9. May 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Ok, so not only did i accidentally text the wrong girl just this past week, the person i meant to text i use a different app to text and didnt realize it until i hit send. The girl i sent it to i had jist started texting that evening and was introduced to me by the girl the text was meant for. Fortunately it wasnt anything bad and i ultimately stopped talking to her the same night because i had just started talking to this other girl from work i really like about a week prior. My dilema is i made the mistake of telling her way too soon that i,like her more then a friend and she has a lot of thing’s going on in her personal life. Which brings me to the “accidental, on ourpose text” I considered texting her and saying something like “yeah we just started talking and she has a lot going on so i really dint know what direction it could go right now, but from the little we talked, she is amazing.” Then try to play it off that i was telling my sister about her, but i dont know if that would help or hurt my cause. She is amazing btw, but i dont want her to feel that im trying to push anything on her.

    • Claudia Maittlen-Harris May 17, 2015 at 11:07 am

      That’s a lot of texting. While a “mistake” text to your sister sounds like a good idea, it’s always pretty obvious when we get a fake text. I’d also say, while you like this girl and want to get to know her better, hearing that “she has a lot going on in her personal life” (even when true) is often what is used when he/she is just not that into you. I don’t want to be harsh, but honest and open communication is always best. Just back off, be cool, give her some time and in a week or so send out a text and see how she responds. Pushing the issue with an accidental text is almost never the answer. But good luck!!!

    • May 18, 2015 at 4:49 am

      I appreciate the advice and the honesty, and I have to agree with what you said. When I made the mistake of revealing my feelings too soon, I also told her that I don’t expect anything to happen overnight that I would want things to happen naturally, so sending a text like that could be seen as trying to push the issue.

    • Claudia Maittlen-Harris May 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Agreed. Go have fun and see where it goes:) Good luck!

  10. June 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    LOL I finished a relationship which was not going anywhere. We haven’t spoken or seen each other for a month and a half. Yesterday I receive a text message from him which used to be our opening line for more explicit texting. When I replied that I am a bit surprised by his text, he writes back “Wrong number. My fault”. LOL Seriously?!

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