There are a lot of things people like to complain about when it comes to Millennials — we're not hardworking enough, we take things for granted, we spend all our time on our phones, and so on. And even though most of the stereotypes actually aren't true (though the phone thing might be), there is at least one sin of which our generation is definitely guilty: Millennials are flakes. We cancel plans like there's no tomorrow — or rather, like tomorrow is way overbooked.
According to some research by Mic.com, Millennials just aren't very good at keeping plans — and perhaps unsurprisingly, the reason why mainly has to do with technology. As clinical psychologist Andrea Bonier explained to Mic, "Technology makes it so much easier to flake out ... Since many times plans are made through technology, it somehow doesn't feel as wrong to just undo them via technology as well. It doesn't seem as concrete in the first place, as, say, a paper birthday invitation."
In other words, plans are so easy to make nowadays — and so easy to get out of — that canceling doesn't seem like a big deal. In a time before cell phones, if you planned to meet your friend at a coffee shop later today and you never showed, your friend would be stuck waiting there for however long it took for them to decide that you weren't coming. And then they would probably be pissed. But nowadays, you can decide you just don't feel like it, send a text making some excuse and asking to reschedule, and the whole thing's taken care of.
Flaking may be easy, but that doesn't mean it's a good habit to have. So how do you avoid it? How do you resist the temptation of the quick and simple cancellation? Here are some tips to make you less likely to back out of your plans. Because even though it's easy, that doesn't mean it's not rude.
1. Don't Overbook Yourself
Millennials are busy. We not only work longer hours at our (usually underpaid) jobs, but we also have all sorts of other stuff going on in our lives, so it can be easy to agree to one too many events than you can handle. If you know that by the time you get home on Friday night, you just want to lie on the couch and watch ice cream, don't make plans for Friday night. If you know that you're going out on Saturday until 4 AM, don't agree to a 10 AM Sunday brunch. You only have so many hours in the day for sleep, and you definitely need them.
2. Write Things Down
I can't tell you how many times I've found myself accidentally double-booked because I forgot to write something down. If you have two things scheduled for the same time, you're obviously going to have to disappoint someone, so avoid that by actually keeping track of your promises.
3. Set Rules For Yourself
It's normal to want to cancel plans sometimes, but if you notice yourself doing it all the time, make rules for yourself about when you're allowed to do it. Like, you can only cancel a certain number of things each week. Or you're not allowed to cancel on the same person twice in a month. And you really shouldn't ever cancel on the same person twice in a row. Come up with some rules for yourself and stick to them. It'll help you stay to your plans.
4. Only Make Plans You're Actually Invested In
Some plans you might genuinely be looking forward to; some plans, however, you might not be excited about, but you know it's important that you be there. But if you're not all that invested in your need to show up, don't promise you will. You don't have to cancel the plans you never make.
5. If You're Going To Cancel, Always Do It Sooner
Different events have different amounts of advance notice you need for a cancellations: Casual "let's grab coffee" plans you can back out on the day of, for instance; if someone's been planning a party for a month, on the other hand, you definitely can't. But always err on the side of sooner being better. Don't make people rearrange their schedule — or their party — at the last minute because you backed out.
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