Honouring Commitments

I think that I’ve experienced enough of the negative results of technology affecting people that I can base an opinion now on personal experience. In the past few years with the advancement of technology (mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I find that people don’t honour commitments the same way as in the past.

What do I mean by this? Say for instance you agree with a friend to meet at a specific time and place that is pre-established. Said friend flakes on you at the last minute as something else comes up or they are distracted by something else. Or say for instance you do end up going to what was planned, but your friend is constantly checking their phone for messages or Tweeting about their experience or such.

In the second instance despite having shown up, is the friend still honouring their commitment of time to you? I’m not saying that you are writing your name or commitments in blood, but I think that a lot of people have lost the importance of doing something they say they are going to do.

Does it ever occur to them that they are taking advantage of your time, and that your time is valuable as well? In flaking on you, it’s really just a disrespect for your time and your life, and depending on the level of friendship you have, it may make you think twice about accepting and agreeing to do something in the future.

What made me think of this? Well I’ve been chatting with someone for a few weeks and they have been very eager to hang out and meet. As usual I’m hesitant at first because in the past I’ve been flaked on a lot, and so in theory if I get to know someone better first there is less likelihood of it happening (well in theory of course). After all the kerfuffle to organize a mutually agreed upon time, and pressure from them to commit to a time, they end up flaking at the last second.

At this point I’ve heard just about everything except someone died, but it’s all the same: a blatant disregard for the importance of other people’s time. I’m twenty five years old, and I’ve never said I was going to do something then didn’t do it. I’ve never flaked out on someone (regardless of how well I know them) at the last second. I understand the importance of other people’s time, and respect it accordingly. I don’t have an expectation that everyone should be as committed as me, but I truly believe that people don’t respect other people on this basic level.

This isn’t a rant, but perhaps I have done it anyways. Any comments, suggestions, experiences to share?

1 comment

  1. I think I knocked this off in a note I wrote a couple of weeks ago about quality of interaction over quantity…which is to say that I agree and probably even copied you a little bit (subconsciously, since I just stopped by your blog for the first time in a long time tonight 🙂 ).

    But your point here is the one I didn’t make outright: nowadays, there are few people who really value other people’s time. There’s almost a built-in expectation that — since you can virtually always get a hold of someone immediately, using one of a great number of methods of communication — everything happens on *your* time.

    The egoism goes deeper, though. Because even when we DO manage to nail down a time and meeting place, assuming all parties arrive and there’s something to do? Most of the attendants, the self-important beings that they are, will whip out a phone and effectually ignore everyone else at some point to have a conversation/text/email/tweet/shop online. Which is, of course, the modern equivalent of having a whispered conversation with someone else in front of the person whose presence you’re actually, physically, in.

    It’s so rare for someone to devote their time, exclusively, to someone else, that I wonder if society has collectively given up on the idea of being polite.

Leave a Comment