Millennials need to stop being flaky. There is no excuse for this generational habit.
Listen, I’m not one of those writers who constantly trashes the younger generation. I even wrote an article defending millennials for being opinionated – and to the anonymous journalist whose diatribe inspired that piece, let it be known that I stand by every word I wrote.
Yet there is one thing millennials tend to do that drives me up the damn wall. We are flaky as hell!
Courtesy of Aziz Ansari:
“Has anyone here tried to make plans with anyone in the past couple years? It’s the most frustrating experience! ’cause what happens anytime you try to ask someone to do something nowadays? It’s like, ‘Hey, you want to do this fun thing?’ ‘Maybe…’ No one wants to commit to shit!”
Ansari attributes the problem to technology, and he certainly has a point. In our age of ever-present social media and text messaging, it’s easy to arrange get-togethers with friends, family, and other loved ones, and consequently we take these opportunities for granted. “It is used to be a big deal when you finally got to see your friends in person,” Ansari explains, “Nowadays it’s not as much because you’re always connected with your friends.”
While I agree with Ansari’s analysis, there is another dimension to this that deserves further commentary. In addition to using digital connectivity as a substitute for real face-to-face interaction, we are also a generation with a warped view of our own “rights.”
To explain what I mean by this, I’m going to summarize a common argument I heard from various friends as I spitballed the idea for this editorial off of them. While I’m not quoting any one person in particular, it struck me as remarkable that all of these individuals – many of whom didn’t even know each other – used virtually the same reasoning:
“It isn’t fair to expect me to arrive somewhere at a certain time or to commit in advance about making arrangements. If I want to be flexible about these things, that is my right!”
This, my fellow millennials, is why people think of us as “entitled.” Obviously you have the legal right to run late or squirm around like a worm on a hook when a friend tries to pin you down about meeting up; no one is saying you should be hauled off to jail for those offenses. At the same time, placing this issue in the context of “rights” makes you seem like a petulant child. After all, you also have the right to slam a door in a stranger’s face, chew with your mouth open at a restaurant, or talk loudly on a cell phone in public. That said, few would disagree that all of these things are incredibly rude, and therein lies the major point here: Just because you have the right to be rude doesn’t mean that it IS right to be rude.
And make no mistake about it, flaking out is very, very rude.
The other argument I encountered among the men and women off of whom I bounced ideas for this piece was that flakiness is justifiable because people are often “really busy.” While I don’t deny that many millennials have overwhelming burdens in work and school, the reality is that people who are truly busy tend to be more reliable, not less so. This may seem counterintuitive, but think about it: Just as a juggler will have better reflexes precisely because they have to keep so many items in the air without dropping them, so too will an individual who is both busy and successful become adept at cramming a bunch of commitments into a tight chronological space without running late. Individuals who cite overstuffed schedules as a reason for being unreliable are either (a) not very efficient people in general, which will sooner or later reflect itself in them experiencing an array of trials and tribulations in their professional and/or academic lives, or (b) simply using their so-called “busyness” as an excuse for not wanting to be considerate of the people around them.
Normally I try to end my essays here with some kind of proposal for the future, but I find that task to be very difficult this time around. As I said before, there is no law that can be passed to curb flakiness, and even if one was being considered, I would oppose it for the same constitutional reasons that I would oppose a hypothetical bill banning line-cutting or the obnoxious use of slang. You have every right to be a rude jackass, and if the descriptions provided in this piece apply to you, the only solution is to recognize what you’re doing is wrong and make an effort to stop. Should you choose not to, however, you are a jackass – and it’s high time that the rude jackasses who tend to flake be called out as such.