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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Giving Men Fake Phone Number Is No Lady

DEAR ABBY: I am a licensed psychologist and the director of a small counseling center at a liberal arts college. Part of my duties include answering emergency calls from students who are in crisis.

A local coed apparently has been regularly giving out my cell phone number to young men she meets in bars whom she does not want to reject on the spot. Abby, you wouldn't believe the calls and text messages I receive at all hours of the day and night. I hear a lot in my line of work, yet some of these calls have made me blush!

Not only is this an inconvenience for me, but it would create a difficult situation for someone in a real crisis who can't get through to me because my phone is tied up with these phone calls and text messages.

Ladies, young and old alike: Please be honest. If you are not interested in the man -- say so! You don't have to annihilate him. Just say that you enjoyed meeting him but the "spark" isn't there, and wish him luck in his dating future. Please do not give him someone else's number. That's a coward's way out, and it is extremely unbecoming. And, at the very least, you are creating an inconvenience for someone else. I know. -- PHONE CALL FIELDER IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR PHONE CALL FIELDER: One would think that a person who is old enough to be looking for a good time in an establishment that serves liquor would also be mature enough to charmingly discourage unwanted attention. However, because the situation you have described happens frequently, I am printing your letter.

I agree that giving someone a wrong phone number is cowardly. I have heard from many men who have told me that if a woman isn't interested, she should be direct about it. Believe it or not, the honesty will be appreciated.