Flakiness is a modern epidemic. People just don’t seem to be as reliable when it comes to following through on plans as they used to be, I believe this is largely caused by the paradox of modern technology. Modern technology makes it easier to communicate, so people feel more justified to cancel on plans. I feel like this is the main cause in the increase in flakiness in the modern era, but other possible causes include:
People Just Don’t Care Enough
This is an extremely likely possibility. People definitely tend to flake out more when they are uninterested in attending a social venue or care about the approval of the people attending. However, this solution does not explain the increase in flakiness in the modern era. This has always been an extremely common reason for people flaking on people in their dating life. Since the invention of the home phone people have been calling to cancel on dates relatively last minute.
People Are Too Busy
I hate this excuse with a passion. Could you imagine someone who is a truly high achieving person using it? Imagine Winston Churchill in the height of World War II using this excuse for why he didn’t pass on information to a deputy. Are people busier in the modern era than in previous eras? The average work week is definitely not longer than in previous decades. Improvements in technology have produced efficiencies that have made life much simpler. Were people flaking because of their busyness before the invention of the washing machine, dish washer and vacuum cleaner? No, I believe this excuse is completely bogus.
People Don’t Value Their Time
For around 90% of the population I believe this to be true. Everyone’s time on earth is limited, people that are actively conscious of this value their time, do many other people? The other people who value there time are people on a mission. If someone is actively trying to change themselves and the world then they will value their time.
Most people unfortunately do not value their time. They live partially unconscious lives, and are often distracted. They suffer from information overload, to such an extent that they don’t realize how much time they waste everyday. Since these people don’t value their own time they see no issue with not valuing your time. This has less to do with selfishness and more to do with a lack of self-awareness. Is this a good thing? If someone is willingly selfish than they are acting consciously, someone acting semi- or unconsciously is a greater danger than them. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Smartphones and Instant Messaging
Smartphones and instant messaging have revolutionized how people communicate with each other. These new technologies are amazing and have done wonders to bring people closer to each other. Or have they not? Smartphones have made communication so efficient that people don’t mind cancelling on plans, canceling on plans over text is incredible easy. This can easily be contrasted with the old days, when people needed to pick up the land line and call someone’s home phone to cancel on plans. Texting takes out the element of having to hear the disappointment in a person’s voice when you ruin their plans for an evening.
These new technologies have also lead to the advent of two other phenomena:
- Chronic lateness. This issue is squarely in the hands of smartphones ((Hey, sorry I’m running a little late I’ll be there in 20!)
- Confirmation Emails for Meetings. This is truly absurd, in business you shouldn’t need to check on your colleague – plans should be plans unless you hear otherwise.
People who hate flakiness should look at the root cause – which is likely resting in their palm, or nestled in their pocket. One fact that cannot be argued is that smartphones have revolutionized how we communicate. This is why people are switching to dumb phones to simplify their life and regain a bit of their humanity.