What Is a Text Door Neighbor? (aka Number Neighbor)

What you need to know about neighbor numbers

A "text door neighbor" is simply a person who has almost the exact same 10-digit phone number as you, except for the last digit—which must be one digit lower or higher than yours.

For instance, if someone's phone number is 326-555-6732, then the two possible text door neighbors they could have would be 326-555-6731 and 326-555-6733. The last digits of these two numbers are one number off from the last digit of the original phone number.

Another term for text door neighbor is "number neighbor."

While the general idea of a text door neighbor is having the last digit off by one, some followers of the trend say the last digit can be any number at all. The first digit of a phone number (after the area code) might also be used instead of the last one.

An image graphic showing two smartphones with texting screens.

The Origin of the Number Neighbor

According to Know Your Meme, the first sign of the text door neighbor term was when it was added to Urban Dictionary back in 2008. It was defined as, "The people who are a digit either side of your phone number."

It wasn't until 2016 when the term started building some steam online. News outlets like The Daily Mail, The Mirror, and Metro started reporting on the term and the growing trend of playing the text door neighbor game.

The Text Door Neighbor Game

The text door neighbor game involves identifying your text door neighbor(s), then texting the number to introduce yourself and see what kind of response you get.

According to the original Urban Dictionary definition of the term published back in 2008, "Many a friendship has been struck up by saying hi to a text door neighbor." People tend to send a quick hello and if they get a response (usually asking who it is), they explain the concept of the text door neighbor to see if the person on the other end gets it.

It's true that some text door neighbors can be friendly. Unfortunately, the opposite can also be true.

Check out the popular Reddit thread /r/textdoor to see screenshots of real life text door neighbor conversations—many of which are very amusing to read.

People typically participate in the game out of boredom and curiosity, but real friendships born out of random texting are likely extremely rare. It's often more entertaining to read about those rare instances than it is to randomly contact strangers by text message.

If you decide to play the game by texting a number neighbor, keep in mind there's no guarantee you'll get a response back. If you do, and the person on the other end asks you to stop, be sure to respect their privacy by ending the conversation kindly and promptly.

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