I remember reading an article about a mother who had been planning her son’s ninth birthday party and sent out invitations to his friends at school. When the day of the party arrived, no one turned up.
She had received zero responses from the parents, but her son was adamant that five of his friends said they were coming. He was left completely heartbroken, convinced that he wasn’t popular enough at school.
The mother shared this story on her personal blog, pleading for parents to RSVP to children’s birthdays to ensure her family’s experience doesn’t become the norm. But here’s the (really annoying) thing: it already has.
introducing generation lazy
We live in a society today where we are continuously taking other people and their time for granted. We are increasingly becoming selfish and frankly, lazy and rude. While social media has granted us the ease of connecting and communicating with our friends in a click of a button, the privilege is constantly being abused.
Take Facebook events for example:
Dave is invited to Belinda’s 21st party next weekend who he hasn’t seen in almost a year, but he is not too sure who will be there. He clicks “maybe” until he knows if he will be sitting in the corner by himself or actually enjoying the night. Fair enough.
It is a few days out from the party. The host has posted on the event wall asking if everyone could respond for catering purposes. (And perhaps because it is just polite and manners are always welcome, but hey). Dave is sitting there, scrolling through the invite list to see who is attending the party in order to determine whether or not he will make an appearance.
Let’s pause here for a moment. Since when did someone else’s [21st party / Hens Night / Movie Night catch up] all of a sudden become all about you? Before I continue, I want to make it clear that if you are reading this thinking, “this is so me” while silently praying your seat will swallow you whole, then good.
I am not trying to guilt you into thinking that you are a bad person. Trust me – I have done this way too many times. I am sharing this because I have recognised my own lazy, selfish behaviour. I want others to acknowledge the actions they take (or lack thereof) and the potential consequences of that.
The day before the party, the host has created name tags for all thirty-six guests and purchased enough food for about forty. Meanwhile, Dave just got a Facebook notification from Rick saying he has been invited to go hang out at the beach and play some footy with his mates. Heck yes!
Oh, wait. It’s the same night as Belinda’s 21st. Eh. Easy fix. Dave quickly clicks ‘Can’t Go’ on Belinda’s event page and tells Rick that he is keen to see him because he missed seeing the boys at their weekly footy training last Thursday. Classic.
so, was that the right move?
Whether you think Dave made the right decision or not is entirely your choice. But there are a few things here that I think we all need to consider:
1. we have more time to make decisions
Reality is, nowadays there are a lot of people like Dave (myself included). How is Belinda going to feel when she has enough food to feed a group of forty people and only half of them show up?
We are a generation that has become lazy. With every man and his dog on Facebook, we perceive that we have more time to make decisions. No more receiving an invitation in the letterbox and returning the confirmation of attendance before the RSVP date. Now, we have the ability to not only receive invitations to multiple events held at the same time, but also decide which event we would like to go to at our own leisure.
2. we wait until we get a better offer
And if no other alternative shows up at any point immediately before the party, we settle for ‘second best’. We are becoming more and more selfish. And on top of that, we are taking other people for granted.
3. committing to something scares us
The process of responding to invitations is being overlooked. With the ability to click ‘maybe’ as a response to an event, comes the ability to take that for granted. We only ever seem ‘interested’ in attending, while failing to provide a confirmed response.
the (unfortunate) new normal
This growing trend stems further than event invitations. Even simply text messaging, online instant chat messaging or communicating with groups over social media. I can guarantee you that we have all been there.
Think of a time when you sent your friend a text. What about that time you were trying to organise a catch up with friends? Or discuss details for a group holiday somewhere? You sent that message in an attempt to plan or talk about something. But it can only work when you are getting some feedback in return.
I’m talking to myself here too. I think it is fair to say that we have all been on both ends of this: the person initiating a response AND the person either too busy to respond, forgetting to respond or ignoring it altogether.
social media has made us lazy
While the Internet and social media all might be a wonderful advancement in technology, we need to take a step back and realise that we can’t take advantage of these screens we live behind.
The very purpose of social media is to connect people, but is it actually doing a disservice? At the end of the day, we are still just a bunch of social creatures that appreciate respect and kindness from each other. We need to stop tolerating this lack of response and allowing this behaviour to become acceptable.
Rather, we need to encourage healthy and positive communication in order to facilitate spaces for open discussion. The purpose of social media should increase our connectedness with one another, but not diminish our ability to respect others. Kindness never grows old and the fact we don’t have to physically be with a person in order to talk to them anymore, shouldn’t serve as an excuse.
Keep smiling. x
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