Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Leon Neyfakh, technology reporter at the New York Observer, discusses his article exposing the flakiness epidemic sweeping the New York social scene.
TKU could add always late, blames transportation
Common traits of flaky people:
- selfish, cannot commit- waiting for something better, you're just not that important- blames technology, get real, OK?- wants to update their status on FB constantly or check-in on Foursquare as if it's a popularity contest or status symbol- rude and does not empathize that feelings can be hurt- probably does not have very close friends
I put a lot of effort and time to organize events and when people do not want to catch up or care about me, then "what goes around, comes around".
I don't think it's an epidemic of flakiness as much as a pathological fear of missing out on something fun. If people became more able to say "no," to invitations they don't really want to attend or truly have time for, there would be fewer overscheduled people flaking out on commitments. I still think it's rude to say you'll be somewhere and then not show, or to express reluctance to commit, unless you have a very good excuse for doing so. Just say no outright. It's ok and it's better for everyone invloved not to be left hanging.
It is not simply the social networks that feed the breakdown in what we used to call "good manners". It is the entire culture, fed in a huge way by the movies and television shows young people see day in and day out, coupled with lax parents, who fail to teach these basic lessons of appropriate behaviors. I have never felt that "maybe" is an acceptable response to any sort of invitation, yet it is now so common.
i wonder if understaffing due to the recession has encouraged social flakiness. if there are fewer people to cover at work and something unexpected needs to be done you're more likely to be rescheduling meeting friends after work, etc. just a thought.
we've stopped inviting the flakes. there always seems to be something, and they have trouble even getting to "yes" at the invite, let alone showing up.
this includes people with children whose only excuse seems to be their children. if your children are always foiling your plans, then you're in for a life of being controlled by them. good luck to them!
well... as a systems scientist I have no "opinion" exactly, but wouldn't all the symptoms described be possibly explained by everyone in the "suffering community" having just *too many friends*? ;-)
Go Listener Kathy!I would be interested in seeing a segment devoted to sussing out what social networking sites wnyc listeners prefer to be on and use the most. it sounds like most people in this segment prefer FB over all other varieties.
What about just saying "no" when you get the invite. I don't have many flaky friends but if I know someone is flaky I didn't not to make plans with them. What's the point? They'll probably just cancel at the end anyway.
Flakiness is not new, it predates smart phones. I have noticed for the last decade that no one RSVP's anymore, even to the most important events requiring a count for the parties creating the event (weddings, sit-down dinners). People respond if they are going to come, don't bother if they aren't, And occasionally non-responders DO show up (and sometimes even bring an unexpected second).
This is one of the things I hate about being "connected". I feel that I can never rely on anyone to do anything they say they will. If I commit to do something or be someplace, it angers me when others "flake". I feel manipulated. It's as if the other person is devaluing me. If you don't want to make the committment, don't make it. That's fine. But don't fraudulently induce me to commit something and then withdraw.
I'm guilty of it too, but I find that when I do this I regret it.
I am a young father...33 and have a 12 year old... I still love to go out and like to be invited to parties or happy hours...I can't always make it and flake out but it does feel good to be remembered.
my flaking can attribute itself at times to the economics of the times. i fully mean to attend a gathering or such, then, after paying the bills and buying groceries. i find i'm too broke to go out till next payday.
Ever since i had a baby 6 months ago, i feel like "the baby" is a great excuse to either flake out on plans at the last minute, or if i am out at a party or social gathering, i have a great excuse to leave early!! And people understand..
They are not selfish they just operate differently. It comes down to one thing... dynamism. Everything is created on the fly.
I don't think the flakers are too busy...it's that they're not busy enough. They like to tiptoe up to an engagement without actually following through.
The thing to do is develop a regular night out...drinks, cigars, whatever. If you have a standing commitment, it's easier to make new commitments.
People feel they can cancel much easier because of cell phones--before you had to show up or people would be waiting for you. Now, you can call at the last minute and while the person may not end up with anything to do, at least they won't be standing there on the corner.
Not that I think this is right at all.
Flakers are for those who dont plain! If they did plain you would know how much it jacks up ever ones plains.
It depends on the obligation. If someone is cooking dinner for you, or really counting on you being there, it's very rude not to go. If it was a more casual plan, it's OK to flake. But generally, it annoys me, and does seem selfish.
In Howard Rheingold's book "Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution" he wrote about changes in Japanese culture related to teenagers showing up late to scheduled events as a result of technology.
In Japan it used to be that being late or not showing up was one of the ultimate social faux pas; however, with mobile phones this changed and the biggest social mistake was not being in communication. The idea is simply that physical presence is not the only way to be present as long as the attendees were texting or calling and speaking with other attendees or the host they were present.
How about the people who can ONLY make last minute plans?
I think people should be more careful when they make plans. Don't overshare yourself! Once you commit to do something you should follow through. Your word and reputation is one of the most important things you have.
I have no patience for flakiness.
Was at a gym the other day as the instructor peered into his cell phone and lamented that a fourth person, who earlier had sworn to attend class, just texted "Can't make it, dude!"
Making plans and then casually breaking them or flaking out on them at the last minute - that's something New Yorkers complain about Angelenos doing. (I've heard it over and over again from New Yorkers coming back from L.A., and I've had the problem with Angelenos who moved here.)
God forbid that New Yorkers should be doing this, too ...
if u lack quality friends, what does that say about u??
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.