Has #FOMO Made Us #FOM?

In longhand: has fear of missing out made us forget our manners?

I fear that the answer is yes. For quite a lot of people. I have noticed this more and more over the past 12 months and I am losing my patience with it.

Before I begin, I do not profess to be Miss Perpetually Punctual. I operate within a 5-minute grace period and make sure to give a heads-up to the person who is waiting for me. I extend the same 5-minute grace to others.

Poor time-keeping to one side, the real source of my vexation is the growing lack of commitment to plans. This goes one of two ways: not committing at all and letting you know last minute if they are or are not coming to your event / birthday / dinner / soirée / any other occasion that occasioned an invite OR committing to several events for the same date and time and deciding last minute which one deserves their attendance.

What is the impetus behind this lack of commitment? I think that it is one of two reasons: waiting to see if something better comes along (i.e. allowing the fear of missing out trump the need to have manners) or simply thinking that if there are a few people going, their presence won’t be missed and it is ok to drop out.

Case Study: A Casual Christmas Get-Together

I organised a casual Christmas get-together at a bar last weekend for those that I consider good friends. A 6pm start time and a clear “no, this is not going to be a late one or a messy one” indication in the description of the event, out went 16 invites. Understanding that 7 days notice coming up to Christmas season is a bit tight, I indicated that ‘pre-gamers’ were more than welcome to join on their way to already committed to plans.

The initial result: 6 yeses, 2 maybes, 4 no’s and 4 no responses.

The end result: the 2 maybes stood, the 4 no responses stood (even though I sent a reminder endearingly entitled ‘Dear maybes and undecideds’) and the 6 yeses reduced to 3 yeses — but only after I had sent a message to the 6 yeses to confirm the location and time that we were meeting.

What irks me the most about these changes of mind is wondering to myself: “um, when were you going to tell me?” Had I not sent a message to confirm, when would you have told me that you were no longer able to attend? An hour beforehand? Not at all?

And to those who didn’t respond at all? Really.

The above is only one example in a string of examples over the last year of a similar lack of commitment to attending events and to honouring your commitment to attend. And I think it is bad manners.

It appears to be the norm now and is almost accepted because it is expected. To be honest, I expected an outcome similar to the above and monitored the responses or lack thereof almost like a mini study.

Of course, I understand that there are times when something crops up last minute that is unavoidable or that you are simply not in the form — I experience that myself. But, it takes a lot for me to go back on a commitment — not just a simple ‘ah, I can’t be bothered”. The issue here really is the ease with which people renege on commitments or the frequency with which they do not commit at all.

So there you have it — a vent, perhaps, but a conversation worth raising nonetheless.

I realise that I risk the rebuke of the invitee list of that little get-together — but I feel that I need to write this, to highlight this rising trend and open it up for discussion.

P.S. I had a lovely evening with the ladies who did attend, and it was just perfect. I appreciate them all the more for their steadfast commitment to joining me in a wee Christmas drink.