Think about the last time someone canceled plans on you last minute. You probably don’t have to think back too far to remember an instance. Once my friend was supposed to meet a date for dinner. He waited and waited. She never showed and never bothered to address it with him. Are you kidding me? It doesn’t just happen with dates either; I’ve had friends bail on me a half hour before we were supposed to meet with barely an apology.
If you wanted to cancel plans on someone at the last minute in 1985, you know what you would have done? Well first of all you probably wouldn’t have. Because unless you caught them before they left their house, you would have no way to reach them when they were en route, so you knew they would show up to the designated meeting spot and would be sitting there waiting for you. But if you really had to bail, you would have had to pick up the phone, get the person on their landline, and listen to the disappointment in their voice as you deliver some lame ass excuse about why you can’t make it. Today? Just fire off a text and be done with it. You almost feel like you’re talking to a screen, so you forget that there’s a person on the other end of the line who’s impacted by what you’re typing. Add in a few cute little emojis and the whole thing is totally harmless.
But this sketchball, technology-infused mentality is bringing the quality of our relationships down significantly. Rather than force ourselves to put pants on and go meet our friends or our dates, we can just sad face emoji our way to a night alone on the couch without having to feel guilty about it.
I recently was supposed to go drink margaritas and eat nachos with a guy aka my idea of a perfect date. We made plans about four days in advance, so I wanted to confirm on the day of because it had been a little while and this time of year is crazy. A few hours after sending a confirmation message I still had heard nothing. Finally I messaged him again and told him that I wasn’t sure if something had come up but that we should reschedule. As much as I didn’t want him to be sitting there waiting for me, I also didn’t want to be doing the same for him, especially when he hadn’t replied. It’s sad, but I know how easy it is to flake out these days and I figured that’s what was happening. When he finally did reply he said, “Oh sorry, I tried to send you a message at work but it didn’t go through. So sorry. Let’s definitely reschedule.”
And yet this kind of thing isn’t at all abnormal in today’s world. Plans, even when they appear to be firm, are always sort of up in the air. You know that if you REALLY don’t feel like getting out of bed, you could text your friend or cancel on your date and it wouldn’t be a whole big thing.
I once was appalled when a date picked up the phone to call me to confirm our meeting, but now I realize that he was actually being a mature adult and not a creepy weirdo as I had previously suspected. Communicating and confirming are respectful, flaking out via text an hour before is lame.
As much as I love technology and the Internet and my phone, my Christmas wish is that we could all be just a teensy bit better about communicating with people. Can you really not make the event or are you just being lazy and need to give yourself a pep talk to get there? Check in with people and confirm things so they’re not left wondering whether you still have plans. Make it a point to show up when you say you will. It just makes life a lot nicer, you know?