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The Case of the Fake Accidental Text

It’s a communication strategy that never works, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying

Desperation is the world’s worst cologne. In digital form, it often comes in the way of a fake accidental text — not to be confused with a genuine fuck-up where you truly accidentally text the wrong person. The “accidentally on purpose” text is a clear, sad, obvious ploy used by the schemingly inept for two purposes only: to make you jealous or to get you to respond, ideally both. But when you do, they “pretend” it was for someone else, sit back, and congratulate themselves on being a secret agent.

Just kidding! They look like a sad moron. No one in the history of the universe has ever read a fake text and thought, “Hmm, I am suddenly so interested and jealous now, I should really drop everything and immediately get back together with this person I dumped/ignored/ghosted.”

Still, while all fake texting is pathetic, not all fake texts are alike. Some are outright nuts, while others are just cornball attempts at getting your attention. Allow us to separate the pathetic fake-text wheat from the truly off-the-rails chaff:

The Fake Cryptic Romantic Text

The preferred fake text style of the truly disturbed is to send a vaguely romantic sentiment. This one is almost exclusively used by sad, pining exes to try to make you jealous. They may as well do donuts in front of your house with a mannequin in the front seat who’s wearing a sign that says NEW BOYFRIEND.

Recently, a man going through a contentious divorce told me he received a fake accidental text from his pending ex that cryptically cited romantic song lyrics from Modern English’s “I Melt With You.” “I”ll stop the world and melt with you,” the chilling early morning message read. “I’ve seen the future and it’s getting better…” He responded that this was pretty sad, and to please stop texting. “Lol whoa sorry wrong chat window haha!” she responded immediately. “So not cool!”

In a list of “10 Things You Should Never Text Your Ex,” eHarmony advises that it’s “never a good idea” to accidentally on purpose reach out to an ex pretending you’re on cool amazing dates with someone new, such as, “I had an amazing time on our date last night, can’t wait to see you again.”

They warn that not only is it transparent, the other person might actually find out you aren’t seeing anyone new, and then what? Except here, the proof you haven’t moved on is in the fact that you are still texting cheesy song lyrics to your ex.

The Fake Text Using a Name Eerily Similar to Yours

Another fake text attempt uses a name so close to your own in the message itself that it creates what only a fake texter would think is an aura of plausible deniability. A woman named Jill told me a dude she dumped by ghosting sent her a text after some time using this method.

“Jeff,” the text read, “This is the end. Don’t try to find me, it’s too late.”

“No one texts and uses names this way,” she lol’d. The fact that he’d picked the name Jeff, which started with ‘J,’ gave him a believable out that he’d really meant to send it to Jeff and not Jill. She didn’t respond.

Still, on a pickup forum, a man recommended trying this approach with women to make them jealous because it “sparks” pre-selection, which states that any woman will be more drawn to a man if she believes he’s already attached to another woman. As user “smallfry” writes on The Attraction Forums:

You get a woman’s number. You text her a few times, then a few days later you text her something like “Hey [another woman’s name], I really enjoyed last night with you.” Then immediately after you would say “Hey [target], I meant to send that to someone else, sorry.”

The implication here is that you spent last night with a woman other than your target, and you meant to text the woman you spent the night with but you “accidentally” texted your target instead.

To make it seem more plausible, the woman’s name who you intended to text could be similar to hers, and therefore the two names would presumably be close together in your phone’s address book, making it more likely to accidentally text the target. For example, if your target’s name is “Anna,” you could address your text with “Hey Angela.” The first two letters are the same…

This would show that you slept with another woman the previous night, which in theory would set off massive jealousy signals and preselection in the target’s mind. But at the same time she might not like that because she wants to feel that she’s special to you in some way.

A woman responds correctly that this is not a successful strategy, as she’s been the recipient of such a method by a “desperate ex who wanted to get back in contact”: “The name thing is a giveaway. People don’t text each other by name usually, so if the girl isn’t totally retarded she will see through it.”

The Fake Thank You Text

Another fake type of text involves thanking someone for a gift never sent, or an evening that never happened, so they will wonder just what exciting gal or guy you actually had this crazy good time with, go insane with jealousy, and run directly into your arms. Writing to the Girls Ask Guys forum, a man says he’s gotten many texts like this from women, such as “I just got it, thanks, it was very sweet ;-).”

This reminds me of the scene in When Harry Met Sally when Carrie Fisher’s character Marie sends herself flowers with a card that says, “Please say yes. Love Jonathan,” and leaves them on the table in her apartment, in the hopes that the married guy she’s having an affair with will see them, get jealous, and leave his wife. Only the married guy never shows up that night.

There is always the chance that the person you send such texts will actually believe that you’ve moved on, be relieved, and mentally cross you off their list anyway.

The Fake Meetup Text

Similarly, other fake texters have concocted the idea that if you make it sound like you have impending plans or a change of plans with your desired recipient, it creates enough confusion to make them want to at least address any logistical mix up, just in case. Examples include the, “Oh I’ll be right there don’t worry,” or “I can’t wait for the movies tonight!”

The Fake Icebreaker

Other fake texts are somewhat more innocuous in that they only serve as an “icebreaker” to get the convo going. One such fake texter wrote that he’d used this approach:

I am freshly out of a relationship and want to jump back into the game. I see this beautiful, single lady on my Facebook whom I met ONE time about seven years ago at a party where we met. I think I spoke to her because she is the sister of this guy I knew. Anyway, my technique is to send a link to an article or Wikipedia entry about something random and apologize, saying I sent it to the wrong person. This is where I pull out, “Hey, aren’t you so-and-so’s sister?” Small talk achieved. Does this seem utterly dumb? Because I haven’t been in the dating game in five years.

All responders agreed it was, in fact, hella dumb, but that it might work because at least it’s not completely psycho. “Anything to initiate a conversation that doesn’t make it appear as though you were drooling over her profile would be more favorable than her thinking you’ve been stalking her for weeks and know her dogs and best friends by name,” one person responded.

All this leaves fake texters with a tough choice: Would you be okay with seeming goofy if you pull this crazy thing off, but risk seeming totally nuts if you don’t? Even if you do get a response, it’s not likely to be the one you wanted, and you’ll never be able to try this shit again with the same person.

Even the best outcome here, then, is still one text short of an actual digital correspondence with the person you can’t get over. Let’s face it: If you are in the situation where you feel that you have to fake text someone, the relationship is not going to work out. Better to try another strategy, like actually moving on.

Then again, if you were the sort of person who could figure out a better way to make someone talk to you in the first place, you wouldn’t be fake texting, would you?