So many of my friends have probably just seen the title of this and thought, ‘yep, that’s definitely about me’. But the truth is, this isn’t about one particular friend, it’s about almost all of them, and also myself.
Before I go on, please know I love you all to death… But, I can’t fathom why we all decided it was okay to make tentative plans and cancel on each other.
Think about it, if you make a dinner booking for 10 friends, how many do you think are likely to actually show up on the night? I’d say 6 if that, and that’s lucky.
It all comes down to technology. In the old days, we didn’t have mobile phones, or Facebook, or group chat. If we wanted to cancel on someone at the last minute we literally just wouldn’t turn up and then there was the guilt of knowing that the other person would be left there bewildered and waiting, only to be disappointed and stood up.
Even when we did get mobile phones, before texting, the idea of having to call someone and cancel was a lot more daunting than just being able to flick them a text saying ‘sorry, it’s been a big week, I’m too tired’.
The evolution of this technological online world has facilitated the easiness to cancel on someone. A culture has been created where people only make tentative plans, and then re-evaluate when the time arrives based on what other options are available.
Have you ever said you were going to go to a friend’s birthday, then a better party came up and you went to that instead? I have, I admit it. I think we all have. It’s understandable. We are looking for the most thrill-seeking way to spend our Saturday night, but what we are compromising, as a result, is our word.
Our word doesn’t mean much anymore. When a friend says they are going to meet me for a drink on a Friday night, I sit there and wonder whether they’re actually going to follow through. When they don’t, I’m stuck at home by myself on a Friday night with no plans feeling sorry for myself.
I’m not saying I don’t do it too. I do, sometimes. But I’m trying not to, because I want people to respect my word, and I want to respect the fact that committing to something and then pulling out means that the other person may have turned down other social opportunities and be left home alone to sulk.
Yes, there are legitimate times when we do get ill, or have things come up so we do need to cancel. But as a society, I think we need to try harder to follow through on our promises and keep our word. If you can’t fully commit, then don’t. If you can’t be bothered, or you’re a bit tired, push yourself through it and go to bed early the next night. Either manage your time and schedule it properly or deal with the consequences! You know you won’t regret it when you get there, come on guys, we know we can do better.