In my day job, we occasionally have events that we host. I know from experience that no matter how many people sign up and ‘commit’ to attending these events, that maybe half will actually show up. The other half that didn’t show up won’t call or email, they’ll just be a ‘no show’. This is now normal, and people expect it.
We also take our time in returning calls, answering emails or texts. In fact, sometimes people don’t bother answering at all. Again, this seems to be expected if not widely acceptable. There are all sorts of excuses offered: I forgot. I really thought I already emailed you. I was too busy. I was going to get to you when I had time. Et Cetera.
I remember when I was a kid, I’d never think to not show up to something that I’d committed to or never return a phone call to someone who has left me a message specifically asking me to call them back. So, what has changed? Why do we think it’s okay to not care or bother? Are we too busy? Or, have we just become so self-important that others no longer matter, and good manners are a distant, fleeting memory?
These are good questions and ones that lend pause to our everyday lives. I remember when all this technology (aka computers, the internet and cell phones) were supposed to make our lives easier, give us more free time and allow humans more freedom to do other things (like return phone calls or show up to things they’ve committed to). As we know, this didn’t really pan out.
I find myself inundated, daily and even hourly with things like: emails/texts/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram/insert-whatever-social-media app here. It’s endless! Would we be more responsive if we simply unplugged? I don’t know, I still return calls and show up when I say I’m going to and I LIVE online. Well, at least it seems that way.
So, what is it? Why do we behave thusly if we can’t blame our addictions to technology?
I believe we’ve simply tuned out and prioritized differently. We tune out to things that don’t give us instant gratification, a ‘like’ on Facebook or a ‘follow’ on Instagram. We are a society of apathetic children and adults all waiting for the next electronic stimulation instead of looking for that high in normal, daily life.
Maybe it’s not as fun calling your mom back as it is logging in to see what your 2000+ friends have posted about their fabulous lives on a daily/hourly basis. Perhaps it’s not as gratifying as emailing back that friend-in-need as it is reading what your favourite celebrity has just tweeted.
But think about it. Just think. For one minute…ask yourself what’s really REAL and who is going to be there for you when the chips are down? Is it that friend of a friend of a friend (whom you’ve never met) who just posted the latest meal they’ve had or that famous person who got into a feather-slapping argument on Twitter?
No. It’s your mom whom you forgot to call – telling yourself that you just didn’t have enough time and you’ll get to it when you can. Maybe.
It’s your friend-in-need whom you ignored because it was too much work, you didn’t want the drama, etc. That’s who you’ll reach out to.
The question is, will they be available for you?