Saturday, July 5, 2008

Phone number alternatives

There are a number of ways to give out a phone number without actually giving out a phone number:
  • I’m listed. If you want the person to get in touch, make sure you’ve made the listing clear as it appears in the phone book. In many cases, though, directing someone to the phone book means you’ve given out your home address as well. You can be a bit suaver but if your name is hard to spell, you may have blown the deal.
  • Business card. A business card usually has a work phone number, often a fax number, a business address, and an e-mail address. If you don’t have a business card, for very little money, you can have one printed up that gives out whatever information you want to share. (You can usually get around 500 business cards for between $15 and $25 or less.) If you are self-employed or work at home, having a business card can make you feel a little more professional as well.
  • Home address. Giving out a home address is a bit risky. Of course, sooner or later, if the two of you hook up, you’re very likely to exchange home addresses. The question is, sooner or later? My advice is later —when you’re sure this is someone you trust to behave respectfully and appropriately after he or she knows where you live. If you have even the most minor inkling that this person may surprise you by lurking on your doorstep, trust your instinct for heaven’s sake, and don’t give out your address.
  • E-mail. For many folks, giving out an e-mail address is a safer alternative than giving out a phone number. Of course, you have to balance your sense of safety and your need for intimacy. I may be old-fashioned, but I think that actually hearing a voice is a nice way to begin to connect with someone.

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