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Landing a Phone Number (Classic)

If you ever find yourself in the situation that you’ve met someone and you want to link up with them again, you’ve got to get a hold of their cell phone number, if at all possible.  Yes, you could wait until you bumped into them randomly, or you could revisit the place you last saw them.  But both of these techniques are fraught with problems.  If you wait at the spot, it will take forever and the store-owner may simply call the police.  If you wait for a random meeting, you may may never see them again.  In the process, you may lose brain mass.

However, if you regularly see them, say at school or work, then the process is infinitely easier.

Landing a number (ie, getting a number of someone you want to reach) takes a bit of exploring.  Luckily, it can be accomplished while on the move these days.  The one tip I have, though, is to be prepared.  With mobility comes the increased probability of running into that person when you least expect it.  But don’t rely on this entirely.

In the meantime, consider the classic approach, augmented with a little panache.


You want to contact a person, either by voice or text, but do not have their mobile number.


If you see them regularly, just ask for it.[1] If you don’t see them regularly, ask one of their acquaintances.


As unlikely as it sounds, if you are pleasant and not too persistent – and don’t resemble a stalker or worse — most people will give you their phone number.

1.   The next time you run into this person, casually strike up conversation.  Your request should not be the first thing out of your mouth.  The key in the opening is to refer back to a previous encounter or conversation.   For example,

  • “Hey, weren’t we standing in line the last time we ran into each other.”  Of course, this works only if you are in the unlikely spot in line again.
  • “You know I saw a movie you mentioned to me.  I forgot most of the plot, but I do remember I liked the ending.”

2.   Before, the person can digest your opening line, segue quickly into light conversation.  Reveal a little about yourself, but not too much.   Who really wants to hear about that rash that won’t seem to go away.  Remember:  the goal here is not to scare the person off.

  • “You know, I’ve been thinking more and more about changing careers.  I don’t know where I come up with this, but I can’t seem find the right career.”
  • “The funny thing is I never found myself interested in foreign films.  I’ve always been more of a rock’em-sock’em movie fan.  But the more I hear the dialogue, the more it makes me want to change my ways, see more intellectual fare.  Like Bruce Lee.”

3.   Pop the request.  Do this in a very off-hand way.

  • “Hey, listen to me.  I’m rifting now.  I don’t want to interrupt what you were doing.  You must have other things that you need to attend to.  Maybe we can talk more when we run into each other again.  Or, if you like, maybe I could call you?”
  • “Listen, if I run into a movie that I see in the paper, maybe we could see it together.  I could give you a call.”

4.   Be ready at this point for a casual refusal.  This is only natural, especially if you do not know this person well.  You may hear some hesitation or reasons for the refusal.

5.   Follow up with an explanation if you do not succeed at first.

  • “I didn’t mean to sound so forward.  I just enjoyed our conversation.”
  • “It was just a thought.  I could send you a quick text.”

Exchange numbers if it comes around.

In many cases, the number you may first receive may be a home number or work number.  The cell number is usually the alternative number.  So, you can always follow up and mention that you like to text, so that you do not interrupt their activity.

The downside of this approach is that you simply may be turned down.  The risk factor here is high.

[1] Seems like common sense when you think about it.


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