I was having a conversation with a friend the other night about how our parents generation seem to be busier and spend much more time with their groups of friends than us. Our parents are so good at staying in touch with people; calling people for a chat, keeping up to date with everyone both near and far, and making plans that they actually intend to keep.
This isn’t because they are parents and therefore they are grown ups and must do these things. This is because they were brought up this way. Before the internet and all that comes with it, before everyone had a mobile phone they were physically attached to, if you made plans with someone, on the phone, in an actual conversation, you just couldn’t cancel on them last minute – they wouldn’t have any way of knowing you weren’t coming!
I would say in the past few months only 25% of the plans I’ve made with friends have actually happened. And of that 25% I would say 2/3rds were late.
I have a thing about being late for things – it makes me panic. So I am always anywhere at least 15 minutes early, and I allow for travel problems in that so I’m often closer to 40 mins early for anything! When a friend texts 10 minutes after we were meant to meet saying they are running late and they will be there in 10 (which inevitably turns into 25-30 mins) I try my hardest to grit my teeth and get over it. After all, not everyone has to be stupidly early for things like me. What irritates me, more than them being late (things happen, traffic, tube issues etc) is that if they had no way of contacting me, I guarantee they would have left earlier and wouldn’t be late in the first place – if I can get there stupidly early for fear of being late, they could get there on time.
Worse though than being late, is cancelling on someone last minute. The immediacy of smart phones, twitter, whatsapp etc means that people think it’s ok to cancel on people at short notice, because they know they will be able to get hold of them even 15 minutes before to cancel, and they do.
For our parents generation, this is considered the height of rudeness and they would do anything to avoid the situation.
For our generation, it is rapidly becoming the norm.
Technology is allowing us to be flakey, cancel on people without even speaking a single word to them or hearing their reaction, allowing us to be late, because for some reason it is now ok to leave friends waiting in coffee shops and restaurants looking like they’ve been stood up as people look at her with pity in their eyes as they tell the waiter “I’m waiting for my friend, sorry!”
I’m not writing this whilst waiting for someone, ironically, but a lot of my writing does get done, or at least planned out whilst waiting for annoyingly flakey friends, or, in some cases, after a friend has actually cancelled and I’ve decided not to leave the cafe or restaurant, treated myself to a brownie and opened my laptop.
Imagine, just for a minute, a world where you can’t reach the person you are about to meet to tell them you are running late. Imagine a place where you can’t text and cancel half an hour before – you have to be there. There is no excuse. You would find a way, somehow, to be there. Surely that would make you a better friend?
For me, I am grateful for so much that we have gained from the growth of technology and I wouldn’t last a day in London without my iPhone plugged into googlemaps (I would get SERIOUSLY lost!) but there is a side to technology that isn’t having such a positive effect on our society. Technology is making us flakey.
I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t, in the past, also cancelled on people or been late – Things do sometimes happen that are completely unavoidable, but when it happens more than a few times, and without good reason, it’s not an emergency…it is flakiness!
I try my hardest not to cancel on people, ever – I hate letting people down, and generally, if I’ve planned to meet someone, it’s probably because I actually want to see them!
I guess that is why it bothers me. I’m starting to feel like a person who is always stupidly early, who, because of technology is developing some rapidly flakey friends….
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photo credit: On the Mobile via photopin (license)
Yasmin SchulzeSeptember 10, 2015 at 11:07 pm
I think as all this technology has definitely opened up a world where it's super easy to meet new people, some of which I now would be lost without, However I also think it has definitely made us less sociable. I went months without seeing my friends because it was too easy to keep in touch via Facebook / Texts / Calls so that we were in constant contact and never missed each other that much.
Sometimes I do wish it wasn't that easy to get hold of people so when you do arrange to meet you are forced to go, like you said. But these days we are just so used to all the technology that it's going to be hard to undo that!
Anyway, great post. I think you explained it better than I could have done!
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Charity HowellSeptember 11, 2015 at 8:34 am
I've been thinking about this lately too! I'm going home soon to where I grew up and was trying to think of people to meet up with when I realized I hadn't actually properly talked to any of them in so long because I just keep up with them social media. All those planned skype calls and phone dish sessions just kept getting delayed. I'm really bad at it too so it's definitely something to work on. :/
jenikyaSeptember 11, 2015 at 8:58 pm
People being late or cancelling at last minute is annoying for me too, and I'm always early to things too. I grew up without this technology and we started to get internet in my high school years (1992-1993) and I really first started to use it in 1996, which was my graduation year and first year of university. I was a late adapter to the smart phone as I wanted to save money, so I've only been using them for 4 years now. I'm not glued to it at all, but I do use it to browse the web and look at maps. But some people cannot put them down. People don't see the world around them these days either, and don't get me started on camera phones. I much preferred it when I was one of the only ones with a camera (I've always been into photography since the film days and it was part of what I studied at university), and now EVERYONE and their mother has the ability to take a photo (even if they are rubbish camera phone ones), and they get in the way and just feel they need to take them to show off/Instagram it.
Rosie LadkinOctober 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm
Glad you liked the post! 🙂
I know what you mean, it is both a positive and a negative – I couldn't live without my phone but it does make it easy to not see people.
Thanks for your comment!
Rosie LadkinOctober 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm
It just happens doesn't it – "let's Skype on saturday" then saturday comes and things crop up and it just doesn't happen.
I'm trying to make myself be better at it all.
Glad you liked the post!
Rosie LadkinOctober 5, 2015 at 8:42 pm
I totally know what you mean. It is so aggravating – even having grown up with the internet I can still see the negatives of this technical revolution we are in.
I'm all for putting phones away – phones down at dinner, look at the world around you. I think we all miss so much because we are seeing it through a screen!
Glad you liked the post!
ChichiNovember 22, 2015 at 1:59 am
Liked this post! I love smartphones and technology but I have had the same issues as you. I have had to ditch 'friends' because:
– They would never respond to my texts and messages despite seeing them.
– They would bail out last minute by sending out a text.
– They would turn up 1 or 2 hours late to meetup
– They would never RSVP to invites, and they would either show up or they would never show up – no notification or explanation.
– We would be sitting in a restaurant and they would be more interested in using their phones instead of having a face-to-face conversation with me.
– They would never call me to have a phone conversation of any kind.
I'm like you, I plan my time and I like to arrive early, and I don't flake out on people. When I arrange to meetup with people it's because I want to see them. But it's so frustrating, annoying and disrespectful when people don't make the same effort in return.