A letter that is not wrong from Miss Manners:
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the appropriate action to take when one receives a text message that obviously was meant to go to someone else? I’ve always deleted them as soon as I realize they’re not for me, but I’ve been told recently I should be replying with a “wrong number” message.
I must admit that part of the reason I simply delete them is that I don’t text often enough to warrant an unlimited-text plan, and would prefer not to use my limited messages for three or four rounds of “No, really, you’ve got the wrong number.” If replying is the correct action, is a single reply sufficient?
Dear dearest dear writer, how very true that there can only be one way to handle receiving an errant text message. With different people, different content, and different situations the best way to handle anything is with one correct and culturally independent specific rule. When one receives a text message not meant for you, you must consider that many responses will be inappropriately wrong.
You were deleting them since they were meant for someone else. That, of course, seems right. Except you were told you were wrong. It’s usually the best thing to do to outsource your judgment. Why think for yourself when a teller can correct you. You should totally be replying now that you’ve been given instruction. The world should is a green flag that lets you remember the “one rule to rule them all” rule.
I note that you considered your own finances. This is highly unusual. Most normal people don’t consider their personal financial situation. Spend because of friends and family — and in this case, strangers who text you — want you to. Why choose to be different?
Spending your time and money sending strangers messages informing them that they are wrong seems to be selfless and even heroic. Destroy your life for the sake of other’s mistakes. You must feel awful for all of the plans you ruined by not fixing these strangers. I’m sad for that, yet it’s an opportunity to now do better.
As you said, replying is the correct action.
There’s no room to question that. Someone who you didn’t even care enough about to say who says so.
Is that single reply sufficient? I’m sorry, you’ve written to the wrong columnists. Please stop bothering me or I will block you.
Originally published at I’m Not Wrong.