Let's Not & Say We Will: Why is Noncommittal The New Black?
I'm a planner. I'm the one who makes the brunch reservations at Boulevard 572 and in the event of a road trip you can bet everything from the Waze directions to the playlist will be handled by me. If I say we're meeting up at Starbucks on South Avenue I'll be there coffee in hand. I'm reliable. I don't do flaky. Confusingly these are not qualities I seem to share with many of my fellow millennials.
In the embarrassingly large amount of time I've spent on social media lately I've noticed that when it comes to social graces my generation might be sorely lacking. People are publicly lauding the canceling of social commitments they agreed to and in some cases even initiated! Memes have sprouted up celebrating lying featuring phrases like "when you know you're not going but you ask 'what time' for decoration" and "when your friend cancel plans and you gotta act like you disappointed when you weren't going anyway". I've watched lots of likes and LOLs be exchanged as people recognize their own devious behavior in these images dumbfounded. I couldn't relate asking myself If it's become such a trend that everyone knows everyone else is lying why don't they all just tell the truth?
The irony that this behavior invites can be seen on Twitter on a Saturday night when people who brag about bailing on their friends on Instagram complain about not getting a text back from bae in a timely fashion. It seems while everyone is down to do it to others nobody likes it done to them. Go figure.
I've never eased off the phone with a tacit "I'll call you back" and if I don't want to go somewhere I just say I don't want to go. I don't engage in the courtesy supermarket swapping of information with high school acquaintances. And when I say "I'll see" I actually mean it so this concept of overt sneakiness seems foreign to me. I often find myself asking are your friends still your friends if you're constantly hiding from them?
Fearing I was just getting old, at 27 each morning is like a looming tinder date with 30, I sought clarity from a younger friend over coffee. "I think it's technology" she said fingering the edge of her cup of hot chamomile tea "before if you said you were going to meet in the mall at 1 o'clock you had to or the other person would just be standing there."
But, I countered, if these people didn't want to make plans with their friends why would they? "I don't know" she said "Sometimes people just be saying stuff."
Want to hear both sides of this modern day etiquette conundrum? Check out Justine Hartman's take on "The Agony and Ecstasy of Plan Canceling" at Elle.com.