When did people start becoming to terrified to commit? In friendships, relationships, employment, and basically every aspect of life it’s getting harder to get people to say “yes.” Yeah, it’s a millennial problem. No, I’m not that much older. At 32, some people consider me a millennial. (I consider myself a part of the Oregon Trail generation, tbh.) It’s not, however, exclusive to millennials. Lack of commitment has become so pervasive culturally that everyone is doing it – it’s no longer just teenagers or college students. There’s a flakiness that permeates every aspect of life. Even dinner. Plans are vague, just in the event than something better comes along. There’s always a Plan B in effect.
The thing is, it’s pretty terrible to be the Plan B, and people get hurt. People don’t want to get hurt and they start expecting the flakiness and operating under the same non-committal premise. “I think Thursday will work!” Until it doesn’t. Then Plan B has to pretend it’s fine because the plans were vague anyway and act like it doesn’t suck to be the less fun option.
It’s probably not malicious in most cases. In fact, when I posted these very thoughts on Facebook, several people messaged me to tell me they’d never thought of it that way. There were social anxiety justifications, a general “sometimes I get tired and don’t feel like doing anything after all” explanations. Everyone is reachable all the time now, so it’s significantly easier to cancel or change plans than it ever has been. That’s probably at the core of it. It feels less rude when you can send someone a text and explain to them that you’re not going to be there. In reality, the only thing that’s really changed with the communication is that instead of just standing someone up, you’re telling them that you’re standing them up. How is that better? The other person still carved time out for you. It’s unbelievably disrespectful to waste people’s time by flaking out at the last second, whether you justify it with a text or not.
I don’t believe it’s a “life happens” problem. It’s an “I want to be sure I’m going with the best option” problem. Maybe we have too many options. We can blame FOMO and all the other buzzword centered social media based theories. But as a general rule, making plans is becoming more and more of a chore. Commitment is important and saying “yes” to things is okay.