(Updated on August 10, 2017)

Have you noticed that everyone is canceling plans on each other?

We’re all cancelling our plans…even ghosting our own best friends…now more than ever for reasons people don’t like to talk about. Modern society hasn’t yet updated its collective bandwidth to contain the truth about this plan-flaking trend.

Have you caught the cancellation or disappearance bug? Think about the ratio of your scheduled social plans to executed social plans. I’m guessing that if you’re a city dweller between the ages of 18-45, you’re canceling much more than you’re following through…even more so than a year or two ago.

Blame it on a disturbing cultural trend: It’s now socially acceptable to cancel plans on friends without giving advanced notice.

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What are mass plan cancellations creating? Perpetual last-minute planning and watered-down friendships.

Someone once told me that the greatest social benefit of having a baby is that your friends will always understand if you cancel plans on short notice, especially if if they have children of their own. But this plan flaking trend goes beyond the cancellation code among parents. And it seems like it’s only getting worse…

Whether you’re the canceler or the canceler, you might notice that your friendships are changing.

As our personal technology continues to evolve a wild pace, so are our social habits. So before your friendships become more diluted than they already are, take action by considering the reasons why you and your social circle are developing sharper edges between you

The 4 Biggest Reasons Why We’re Canceling Plans with Friends More Than Ever 

1) We’re growing addicted to calling “plan audibles.”

A plan audible is a last-minute change of plans. You cancel with no notice and switch to a more convenient or exciting option based on how you feel in that moment. The rise of plan audibles is the result of society’s raging addiction to OPTIONS. We’re constantly getting updated on Facebook and via text of new opportunities.

2) Texting has made us forget that friendships dilute over time without in-person maintenance. 

Do you make the mistake of assuming that texting a friend demonstrates that you really care about them? People are putting less effort into maintaining their friendships and its slowly hurting them. Unless your friend is on the EXACT same page in terms of maintaining a messaging-only friendship, know that your friend will be growing closer to the people who promote in-person communication. You might think that your history of friendship PLUS frequent texting is enough to sustain the vitality of your mutual bonds. I’m here to tell you that this is a mistake! Once again, people will favor/think highly of/feel connected to friends who make the effort to see them in person more than friends who prefer texting. It’s obvious, but the dreaded millennial phobia of calling on the phone does wonders for glueing friendships together between infrequent social gatherings.

3) Who can compete with your DVR?

It’s too easy to be completely, utterly, profoundly stimulated by a giant screen that teleports your mind away from all of your worries. There’s just simply too much good stuff on TV to keep up with. Binge-watching shows like “Orange Is the New Black” requires one thumb to accomplish. Meeting a friend requires you to get off the couch, shower, get dressed, and travel out of your way. If you have a proclivity toward choosing immediate gratification over investing in the long-term happiness that comes from strong friendship bonds, then chances are, you’ll go with the path of least resistance when given the chance. Your shows and video games will always be there. It’s a matter of priorities.

4) What beats zoning out when your schedule finally allows for it? 

This is an extension of Reason #3. People are so overextended these days that any opportunity to zone out from responsibilities and zone into their digital world is welcomed with open hands. When Americans aren’t working long hours, they’re feeling pressured to fill in every moment with some form of activity, such as shopping online or watching random Youtube videos. There’s very little time and energy left over for strengthening friendships.

Random Closing Thoughts

When you go weeks or months without seeing a good friend, you run the risk of forgetting how good it feels to be together.

If you lose touch with the potential payoff that seeing someone in person offers, then you might not be as motivated to get together.

A limited number of friendships are designed to survive (and thrive) for long periods of time on texting alone.The most important message here is that virtual connection is not an effective long-term substitute for face-to-face connection.