We have all been there. Waiting at the bar, restaurant, or coffee shop when we receive that text:
Sorry, I’m not going to make it
This could be from a dating prospect, a friend, hell even an interview. It happens so frequently that now you aren’t even “allowed” to be disappointed when someone flakes. We have become a culture where an RSVP means little more than — I saw the invite. And while somehow we have collectively agreed that this behavior is passable, I would like to venture that this shouldn’t be acceptable. As we all know, time is a limited resource. We should treat each other’s time with value.
Why is this a phenomenon of our generation?
I blame text messages. I blame social media. I blame cell phones.
There was a time when making plans relied solely on a determined location and a time. There was no way of initiating a late cancel or warning of tardiness.
- Let’s meet at Joe’s Coffee shop at 8pm, and we will all head to a bar from there at 9pm.
If you didn’t show up on time, you didn’t participate.
All of those, “Sorry, I’m running late”, excuses didn’t fly back then. You either showed up at the agreed time, or you didn’t, and friendships are hard to maintain when you simply don’t show up.
We have become the generation of convenience. A late excuse simply gets you off the hook. Now, based on a person’s frequent excuses, people can even gain the reputation of never being on time. I have a hard time believing that there was a time when people would wait around for a few hours just in case the other party might show up.
How is this hurting us?
We no longer are trusted to be held accountable. Coworkers and acquaintances outside of our generation expect less of us. Everyone has come to expect tardiness and has come to expect disappointment. But don’t we want to be relied on? Don’t we want that respect?
“Respect is always earned, never given”
How can we be better?
If we aim to be someone that is depended on, we need to be dependable. That means that if there is an agreed time of meeting, we should strive to be early. A phrase I heard from my father at a young age was, “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late”. People of our generation at large are never early. The idea of being early, for millennial’s, comes off as being overly eager or even desperate. But we are wrong. We need to be dependable, and we need to be able to depend on one another.
So let’s use that other app on our phones and set times in our calendars. Let’s give ourselves reminders so that we show up on time. In the end we will all be doing a favor to ourselves, to each other, and to those that will help leverage our careers and social status for years to come. Here’s a challenge: The next date you arrange, be it with a friend, a coworker, or a future employer; be 15 minutes early.
What do you think? Leave a comment below, or hit me up and we can talk about it over a beer or a coffee. Just know that I’ll plan on showing up early.