Sometimes you just don't have time for a sit-down dinner at a restaurant and you have to resort to cancelling on the person you were going to meet with a text message. This very practice, as the New York Times explains, is destroying our ability to politely cancel plans.
Yes, our etiquette is under attack by smart phone. Caroline Tell looks at the increasingly common practice of cancelling at the last minute with an email or a text message and what it says about us. In a story that includes testimony from Bravo's Andy Cohen (!), Tell concludes that people are more likely to cancel at the last minute because being able to do it electronically eliminates any guilt felt by cancelling face-to-face, or even on the phone. If you have to see or hear them when you're cancelling on them, it's more difficult for you. But because we're all constantly texting and emailing and tweeting on our phones anyway, it's easier to fire off a cancelation when a more appealing option comes up:
Adding to the guilt-free canceling is the assumption that we’re glued to our smartphones, which means that people often wait to the last moment to send regrets. “They’ll automatically think I’ve seen it because they sent it,” said Jason Binn, the founder of DuJour magazine, who keeps his 139,000-plus Twitter followers abreast of his celebrity tête-à-tête at Michael’s and elsewhere. “People cancel meetings or change plans by shooting me a text, an e-mail, even a tweet.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.